Excerpt from COMMON DREAMS (see link) —
Michigan’s Republican-dominated legislature on Thursday passed conservative, anti-worker, anti-women measures–controversial right-to-work legislation and a conscience clause that allows health care providers to deny services–sparking outrage and protests from Democrats and union members and leading police to use “chemical munitions” on protesters.
The Michigan State Capitol. Protesters packed the Capitol building, news agencies report, as right-wing Gov. Rick Snyder and Republicans announced the right-to-work legislation. Some of the protesters who were inside the building attempted to get to the chamber floor and were met with a chemical assault. The Detroit Free Press reports:
“When several of the individuals rushed the troopers, they used chemical munitions to disperse the crowd,” [Michigan State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk] said. “It would be a lot worse if someone gets hurt and I failed to act.”
The House passed the first of three right-to-work bills in a 58-52 vote.
Right-to-work laws mean dues cannot be required from non-union employees. Touted as “workplace freedom” by supporters, unions see them as an assault on their bargaining power and an attempt at further weakening the power of organized labor.
The Lansing State Journal reports that the right-to-work legislation was passed “after House Democrats walked off the chamber floor to protest the Capitol not being opened to the public.”
Americans for Prosperity, which the Detroit Free Press describes as “the conservative non-profit organization that funded Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to strip that state’s public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights,” and was founded by the notorious Koch brothers, supported the legislation.