Labor — March 2, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Michigan Republicans seek to make illegal union picketing more illegal


Michigan anti-union Republicans: Solving non-existent problems since 2011

Photo credit: Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog

During the 2011-2012 legislative session, House Republican Tom McMillin introduced House Bill 5024 which would impose $1,000/day fines on individuals engaging in illegal picketing in our state and $10,000/day fines for unions that sponsor or promote illegal picketing events. In other words, the picketing involved is already illegal and subject to fines, etc. McMillin just wanted to make them MORE illegal.

HB 5024 was reported out of committee but died in the full House before the second reading.

Ever hopeful that he can screw unions and union members in yet another way, McMillin reintroduced the bill as HB 4643 in April of last year. This time, it has made it past the second reading and, on February 18th, it was reported for the third and final reading before it will be voted on by the full House. After that it goes to the Senate.

There is a great overview of the bill conducted by the House Fiscal Agency HERE (pdf).

McMillin laughably says the legislation is necessary because Michigan is still struggling to recover from the Bush recession:

“With our economy just beginning to rebound, we must ensure that Michigan job providers are able to deliver their goods and services and keep our economy moving forward,” said State Rep. Tom McMillin, (R-Rochester Hills), who chairs the committee that passed the bills. “The legislation will help provide a stable economy while giving job providers some recourse to stop this type of disruptive act.”

The bill, of course, does nothing of the sort. It’s simply one more way to intimidate union members to keep them from using legal methods of fighting for their interests. Again, none of the picketing that is affected by this legislation is legal now. The bill seeks to frighten union members from engaging in ANY picketing for fear of facing harsh financial penalties. It’s simply a broader version of legislation proposed by House Rep. Bill Rogers back in 2011 that was aimed specifically at teachers.

It’s almost as if Republicans think we don’t have actual problems to solve.

  • Kittyboots

    I am confused by all these laws. Is picketing not peaceably assembling as granted in the constitution? Or do states laws trump federal? What if I want to walk up and down a street with a sign but not disrupt people from entering or exiting businesses or government? What about a vigil in a public park? In other words, how else do we present a show of force? Does it all come down to online petitions? And by the way I am sure that those against net neutrality are looking at this side of protest.

    • The summary of the bill that I linked to in my post does a pretty good job of describing the types of picketing that are considered illegal. I’d start there.

  • judyms9

    This bill is clearly more deck stacking against the unions and even against casual demonstrators who might walk about, say, a Walmart’s general vicinity with a sign saying “Walmart is subsidized by you whether you shop here or not.” It could be interpreted as picketing, Walmart wouldn’t have to demonstrate harm and could get and injunction, and the sign carrier would be fined if he persists and he would also be guilty of a felony because violation of a court order is a felony, last I knew.
    It’s also clear in this bill that Snyder doesn’t want any more crowds outside his gated estate.
    Intimidation and obsfucation from the rightwing, which they always find more fun than problem-solving.

  • greg

    give him a tank and he will run over a protester. sound familiar? send him to china they don’t like protesters either.

    • gene hayhoe

      The ‘Red Republican/Red Chinese coalition’ – it’s all about the ‘shared values.’