Rallying For Public Safety

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

Chanting of "Keep 312, keep 312, keep 312" could be heard up and down the streets of downtown Lansing.

Public Act 312 puts an arbitrator in between employers and the union when the two are deadlocked and can't reach a compromise.

"If they repeal it, employers could do whatever they want, we wouldn't be able to sit down and bargain collectively," said Dan Dawe, vice president of the 6th district of the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union.

Hundreds of police and firefighters combined from across the state marched all over the grounds of the state capitol on Wednesday.

"If there's no arbitration we feel we're at the mercy of whatever municipality [to do what they want with us], with no recourse," said Ward Spidle, engineer with the Lansing Fire Department.

But in a scheduled House committee hearing, Representative Joseph Haveman argues that eliminating Public Act 312 is in the best financial interest of the state.

"Public Act 312 is one more bill to pay when communities are struggling to make ends meet," said Rep. Haveman (R-Holland).

"The state is broke and the way we've been doing things no longer works," said Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra.

Haveman says the alternatives to not repealing the act is layoffs or tax increases. But those outside with signs warn that that a bigger consequence could be the public's safety and lawmakers need to listen.

"They do so much for us, it's the least we can do as legislators to protect them and their rights," said Rep. George Darany (D-Dearborn)

"Save 312 -- it keeps the public safe and keeps us safe," said Dawe.

And many say when they risk their lives, they should not be left wondering if someone will fight for theirs.

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  • by Ricardo Location: Lansing on Feb 24, 2011 at 03:00 AM
    Just a quick comment about public safety. Having police and fire protection should be a number one priority for all communities. (And no, I am not a member of either of these work groups) Is is expensive? Absolutely! But when you realize they need 24/7 staffing to provide services isn't it worth it? Many cities, townships, counties etc. have chopped these essential services because they feel it is more important to have a bloated staff of clerks shuffling papers and looking important for the county uppity-ups. But when you think about it, what are THEY going to do for you when your house catches on fire, or you have a medical emergency, traffic accident, or worse yet, someone endangering you with threats or physical violence? Is a clerk going to help you? I would rather cough up a little extra for this piece of mind, and cut back on non productive administrative duties. Thank You. Ricardo
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