President, protesters focus on Michigan right-to-work legislation
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at Detroit Diesel Corp. on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, in Redford, Michigan. The company, owned by Daimler, announced an investment to expand production and jobs at the facility.
After right-to-work legislation was passed through both chambers of the Michigan Legislature last week, state police are preparing for thousands of protesters to swarm the Capitol on Tuesday.
The bill will give employees of unionized workplaces the ability to opt out of joining unions. Union members, including members of MSU’s Graduate Employees Union, have expressed concern that non-union members will receive the same benefits of collective bargaining without paying dues.
Ari Adler, a spokesman for Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, said the state House has discussed right-to-work legislation for more than two years and anticipates more “robust debate” on the subject tomorrow.
“I find it laughable that House Democrats are suggesting the process is the problem and not the policy,” he said.
Although he had previously remained silent on the issue, Gov. Rick Snyder endorsed the bill last week and expressed interest in passing the legislation as quickly as possible.
Democrats, including protesters and President Barack Obama, are pushing back. Obama flew to Michigan on Monday to expresses disapproval of right-to-work legislation.
“These so-called ‘right to work’ laws, they don’t have to do with economics; they have everything to do with politics,” he said at a Redford Township factory. “What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”
Obama said Michigan is an example of how unions benefit the country, citing effective workers as the cause of the automobile industry’s revival.
Hundreds of Michigan State police patrolled the Capitol on Monday, despite the low number of protesters, according to Michigan Senate Democrats.
The House and Senate sessions will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, but it is unknown when right-to-work legislation will be discussed.
Capital Area Transportation Authority, or CATA, also will be affected by the demonstrations tomorrow and will implement detours tomorrow, according to a release. CATA will not be offering Capitol Loop trips on routes 1, 2, 3, 8 and 13, and suggests riders visit cata.org for a list of route changes. Streets near the Capitol will be closed starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday, potentially causing additional parking difficulties.