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LANSING, Mich. -- More than 17,000 Michigan residents from all walks of life rallied today outside the State Capitol building as anti-worker legislators heeded Gov. Rick Snyder’s call to divide Michigan by ramming through a so-called “right-to-work” bill which promises to kill jobs, lower wages, crush workers’ rights and unravel the middle class.
Snyder, who seemingly misled the public by announcing he would sign the bill Wednesday, waited until the thousands who had gathered outside the capital returned home before calling a last-minute press conference and bill signing on Tuesday night.
Earlier this year, Snyder called the legislation “divisive” and “not part of his agenda.” Now, after his party lost seats in the Michigan House of Representatives, Snyder rushed the bill through in just six days, with no public hearing. The bill reverse decades of balanced labor law in Michigan, which has yielded stable industrial relations, good middle-class jobs, and broadly shared prosperity. Studies have shown that workers in so-called “right to work” states earn an average of $1,500 less annually.
Continued citizen protests are expected throughout the state in coming days and months. Workers are weighing political, legal and legislative options as well, including putting the measure on the ballot in 2014 (the same year that Snyder is up for re-election), a move similar to what Ohio voters did in 2011 when they overturned an anti-worker law championed by their governor.
“It’s heartbreaking that Rick Snyder has chosen to tear Michigan apart and betray the American Dream rather than working with us to create good jobs and secure a brighter future for our state. We urge Governor Snyder to cut the puppet strings of Dick Devos and the Koch brothers and end his attacks on Michigan’s working middle class,” said Rev.Charles Williams III of the National Action Network Michigan Chapter. "Because good jobs and so much else is at stake, we will not rest until workers’ rights to a fair and decent wage are restored. Everything is on the table during the next two years.”
We Are Michigan is a coalition of union and non-union workers, and faith, community and civic leaders who are concerned about Michigan’s middle class.