Unions Upset Over Budget Proposal

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
Some union leaders say they are tired of having their members targeted and want more practical budget solutions.

Democratic Wisconsin Assembly members cheer on the fourth day of large scale protests at the State Capitol in Madison, Wis., Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. The Wisconsin State Patrol was dispatched Friday to find a Democratic state senator who fled the Capitol to delay the near-certain passage of a bill to end a half-century of collective bargaining rights for public workers, a measure that's attracted thousands of protesters for four days. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Some union leaders say it might be just a matter of time before Michigan looks like Wisconsin.

"What we're seeing in the legislature is the same assault on workers that's being done in Wisconsin," said AFL-CIO Michigan President Mark Gaffney.

Gaffney along with David Hecker, president of the Michigan American Federation of Teachers believe that Governor Rick Snyder's budget proposal is lopsided.

"Taxes are cut on business, increased for low income, increased for the middle class -- increase for seniors and everything Michigan depends on are cut," said Hecker.

They say the budget reflects a Republican agenda which lacks a progressiveness needed to push Michigan's economy forward.

"The labor movement is about problem solving about finding solutions to what we all recognize to be very real problems," said Hecker.

But some lawmakers say the Governor's intention was a shared sacrifice and a realistic, non-partisan view of the troubling financial situation.

"I don't think it's a union or Republican agenda," said Rep. Paul Opsommer (R) DeWitt. "It's an honest, bare-bones, money budget issue and has to be put forward. The governor was very honest with people."

But union leaders believe Wisconsin Governor Walker's anti-union budget bill rings too close to home.

"Where we draw the line is the same place they do in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana --- it's the assault on the Collective Bargaining Rights."


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