Thousands meet at MI Capitol to rally against Right to Work legislation
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
EAST LANSING, MI (WNEM) -
The so-called "Right to Work" legislation drew thousands to Lansing Wednesday afternoon.
The proposals haven't even hit the states' House or Senate floor yet, but word that lawmakers may consider it drew a big rally inside the Capitol rotunda.
"It's not fair for the workers, it's not fair for the working class," said Eric Kozel.
Kozel is a union member at Flint Tool and Dye. He said union rights are in his blood.
"My grandfather was a sit-down striker, and to be honest with you, he fought hard for me to have these rights and I plan to fight hard so my grandchildren can have them too," said Kozel.
Kozel joined 2,000 union members who chanted their objections during the State House and Senate sessions, worrying right to work could be a union-busting technique.
"There's nothing like being in the union. Nothing like it. It's the greatest thing in the world," said Mike Slinger, a union member who works in Lansing.
The controversial right to work topic sparked on Tuesday when Gov. Rick Snyder said he is willing to put the idea on the table. Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger is a Republican pushing for the legislation. Bolger's press secretary, Ari Adler, said this helps keep Michigan a viable option for businesses.
"How do we keep Michigan competitive so we can have more jobs and opportunities for people to stay here and raise their families," Adler said.
Wendy Day is a member of the Michigan Education Association. She is a union member but went to the rally in support of right to work legislation.
"I'm sick of my dues going to political causes I don't agree with. I think we need freedom to work in Michigan and I think we need it now," said Day.
But Rep. Stacy Erwin-Oakes, a Democrat from Saginaw, said not so fast.
"I think it is very negligent on our part if we were to move this package of bills," said Erwin-Oakes.
Twenty-three states currently have right to work laws in place. Michigan would be number 24.
Legislation for right-to-work could be introduced in the Michigan. Demonstrations against the legislation are expected to continue on Thursday.
Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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