April 2011

Activists Keep up the Pressure on
Michigan Lawmakers
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While Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder publicly maintains that he wants to work with unions to avoid mass protests like those in nearby Wisconsin, pro-worker advocates are concerned that he hasn't taken enough steps to distance himself from more anti-worker lawmakers in the state legislature.

Activists have held rallies and attended statehouse meetings to keep pressure on the governor. Snyder said in the press that he's "not interested" in actively pursuing policies that would hurt working families, but he may allow certain bills to become law. On March 1, he signed legislation banning collective bargaining for nearly 20,000 home-based child care providers.

GOP state Sens. John Proos and John Moolenaar, along with state Rep. Joe Haveman and others have introduced legislation to make Michigan a right-to-work state, outlaw PLAs on government projects and end collective bargaining.

That, combined with Snyder's state budget proposal—which includes tax breaks for businesses, deep cuts in public education and tax hikes for seniors and working families—is why Detroit Local 58 President Dave Austin says working families in the Great Lakes State should be mobilizing.

Austin has joined worker advocates at House hearings on banning PLAs, imposing right-to-work legislation and other issues. "We brought hundreds of union members to the statehouse. I've been called a 'union thug' and other names, but when most people see us wearing our [union] shirts and demonstrating in a civil way, they see us as standing up for the middle class. They get it."

The governor met in March with the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council to highlight his economic agenda, which includes building a new bridge over the Detroit River—a project that could employ thousands of construction workers. Snyder also endorses a plan to build new coal-fired power plants and expand mining in the Upper Peninsula to spur job growth.


Read more: THE WAR ON WORKERS: Favorites Draw Record Votes

Read more: Wisconsin Ground Zero for Attacks on Workers

Read more: Ohio Workers Stand Up to Anti-Worker Legislation

Read more: New Hampshire: 'The Toughest Fight Yet'

Read more: Florida Workers: Standing Together

Read more: Indiana Right-to-Work Effort Derailed by Labor Pushback

Read more: Meanwhile, Back in Washington, D.C.:
GOP Plan Calls for Gutting Rights, Slashing Jobs

Read more: Maine Workers Tell Gov.:
'We Need Good Jobs, Not Partisan Attacks'

Resources for
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Economic Policy Institute 
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