Large numbers of Michigan State Police officers have surrounded the Capitol this morning in anticipation of a day of protests in response to so-called right-to-work legislation currently being processed through the state Legislature.
No doubt, the anticipatory police presence is related to the huge backlash to similar anti-worker legislation signed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker that led to union activists occupying the Capitol building in February and March of 2011.
If passed, Michigan will be the twenty-fourth state with laws to prohibit requiring union dues as a condition of employment.
Ironworkers from the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin will travel to Lansing this week, and over the weekend, hundreds of working people gathered into UAW Local 600 in Dearborn to learn about peaceful civil disobedience, a tactic they plan to use in the fight against the anti-worker legislation. (photo via Teamster Nation)
The union hall reportedly couldn’t hold all the nurses, autoworkers, Teamsters, teachers, members of SEIU, AFSCME, UFCW, ISO and other unions who attended the meeting.
“Humanize the situation. Be clear with your intentions. Introduce yourself,” national labor activist Lisa Fithian, of Austin, Texas, said through a megaphone. “They’re going to do everything they can to criminalize us.”
“We are not the violent ones,” Fithian told the crowd. “What is it that the police are going to do? What is it that the governor is going to order?… We have to remember: The police are not our enemy in this fight. They’re doing a job. It’s our job to convince them that they should put their guns down and join the people.”
Additionally, the NFL Players Association put out a statement opposing the bill:
“We stood up against this in the past, and we stand against it in its current form in Michigan,” George Atallah, the association’s assistant executive director for external affairs, told ThinkProgress in a phone interview. “Our leadership and players are always proud to stand with workers in Michigan and everywhere else. We don’t think voters chose this, and we don’t think workers deserve this.”