Michigan Police Pepper Spray Pro-Union Protesters
Protesters tried to rush the Michigan Senate chamber after Governor Rick Snyder and Republican legislators said they are working for quick approval of right-to-work legislation that would limit union powers.
Eight people were arrested for resisting and obstructing when they tried to push past two troopers guarding the Senate door, state police Inspector Gene Adamczyk said. The Capitol was closed because of safety concerns, and Adamczyk said Thursday afternoon he wasn’t sure when it would reopen.
So-called right-to-work measures generally prohibit requiring unions from collecting fees from nonunion employees, which opponents say drains unions of money and weakens their ability to bargain for good wages and benefits. Supporters insist it would boost the economy and job creation.
Should it become law in Michigan, it would give the right-to-work movement its strongest foothold yet in the Rust Belt region, where organized labor already has suffered several body blows.
Chanting, whistling activists flooded the building and grounds as Snyder and his allies sought quick votes on measures that would prohibit unions from collecting fees from workers who decline union representation. Opponents say right-to-work laws drain unions of money and weaken their ability to bargain for good wages and benefits. Supporters insist the policy is good for the economy and job creation.