Right-to-Work Controversy Continues in Michigan - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Right-to-Work Controversy Continues in Michigan

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The controversy continues in Lansing, as Right-to-Work legislation sits on the brink of becoming law.

Passage is all but assured by the GOP dominant House and Senate, after part of the legislation was fast tracked through the chambers.

Final action is postponed until Tuesday -- that's when an explosion of protestors are expected to descend on the Capitol Building.

The legislation would prohibit unions in the private sector from collecting fees from non-union members... and also affect public sector employees, except for police and firefighters.

Yesterday, it was a chaotic scene inside a building that's supposed to help us keep order.

Today, the irony isn't as vocal or visible, as lawmakers and the protestors wait until next week for more decisions on the bills.

What is hard to miss -- is the continued police presence.

Officers already arrested 8 people during yesterday's protest.

"It's all about safety. People have the right to protest, whatever side they're on. However, we wanna make sure they do it safely. And we wanna make sure they're civil about it," said Michigan State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk.

But just because there are far fewer protestors along Capitol Street today, it doesn't mean this heated issue is cooling down.

"Unions raise the bar for all workers in the state. Once you start dismantling the unions by forcing them to represent folks that don't pay into the organization... it weakens them financially. They no longer have the resources that they need to fight and protect for everyone in the state," said Scott Brown, a union member who's against Right-to-Work laws.

Lawmakers representing Northern Michigan cast their vote in support of Right-to-Work laws.

They're defending Governor Snyder in what he says is a decision for "a more effective Michigan."

"Collective bargaining is still in place. Joining a union is still in place. It just says, if I choose not to, I shouldn't have to... There will be more funding for our schools, there will be more industry in our state, and there will be more jobs for our people," said Senator Darwin Booher, a Republican who serves the 35th District.

Yesterday might end up looking tame as far as protests go.

Union members say there could be five times as many protesters at the state capitol on Tuesday when the legislators continue their work on the bills.

9&10's Evan Dean and Photojournalist Tony Zyber visited the Capitol Building today, and have the story.