Michigan, unions — February 22, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Tea partiers outnumbered by union protesters at Michigan Capitol 50-to-1


This is starting to become a trend.

Today in Lansing between 1,000 and 1,500 people, mainly union members, rallied at the Capitol Building. They were protesting a number of things including new Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s budget as well as a number of anti-union bills currently in before the Republican-run State Congress.

Two different tea party groups planned a “counter-protest” as well.

They had between “a handful” and 20 people.

One of the folks promoting the event today was Lance Enderle, the candidate many of you probably recall from his run in MI-08 against Republican Mike Rogers after the Democratic candidate dropped out.

“This effects everybody in this state,” Enderle said of GOP legislation targeting unions.

He was specifically upset about House Bill 4214. Calling the legislation “passive aggressive,” Enderle says the bill which would give broad powers to emergency financial managers could easily be used to eliminate union contracts negotiated and approved in good faith.

“Imagine if you make and agreement and sign a contract with me. Now, two weeks later I come back to you and say, ‘We don’t have to adhere to that agreement,’” Enderle said. “That says contracts don’t matter. That’s bad for business.”

That particular bill is particularly worrisome. Here’s Raul Garcia from the Flint Firefighters Union:

“It’s a union-buster. It’s a union-buster,” said Flint Firefighters Union President Raul Garcia.

Garcia says he’s worried about this bill. The city and firefighters union are at a standstill in contract negotiations while the mayor says the city of Flint is weeks away from running out to cash.

If that happens, it could trigger an emergency manager coming in. And if the bill passes, that emergency manager could have more power — including voiding union contracts.

Other points of contention include a plan in Snyder’s budget to tax pensions, bills to restrict the collective bargaining rights of state workers, a bill to eliminating the law that requires workers on state, county and municipal construction projects be paid the prevailing wage for the area and a bill to make Michigan a right-to-work state.

Here’s a shot of the union members filling the hearing room while testimony on repealing the prevailing wage was heard (thanks to Larry for the photo):

Fortunately, the Governor himself has no appetite to take on the unions as Scott Walker has in Wisconsin:

“We’re going to go negotiate with our unions in a collective-bargaining fashion to achieve goals,” the Republican governor said in an interview. “It’s not picking fights. It’s about getting people to come together and say here are the facts, here are the common-ground solutions.”

This is my favorite bit with regard to the tea partiers:

At one point, about two dozen tea party supporters, many hoisting “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, began marching toward the mostly pro-union group of a few dozen people gathered in front of the east Capitol steps. But they stopped about 50 feet away and eventually turned back, later regrouping near Capitol Avenue in front of the monument to Michigan’s Civil War governor, Austin Blair.

“Recall Snyder” and “Don’t Tax Grandma” were the messages on some of the anti-budget signs demonstrators carried. “Get Back to Work” and “I’m Not Getting Paid to Be Here” were among the messages on signs carried by tea party supporters.

In Wisconsin, it was 35-to-1. In Michigan, it was 50-to-1 (or maybe even 75-to-1).

I like that ;)

I’m just sayin’…
Cross-posted at Blogging for Michigan and Daily Kos.

I’m just sayin’…