Union leaders realized they couldn’t overcome the challenge legislatively, so they turned to threats. “We’re going to pass something that will undo 100 years of labor relations, and there will be blood,” warned Democratic state Rep. Douglas Geiss when it was obvious the vote would go against his side. “There will be repercussions!”
Geiss was harkening back to a 1937 incident in which Ford security employees beat up United Auto Workers organizers. But there’s no reason automakers would use violence this time. Pro-union supporters did, though.
Protesters tore down a tent filled with activists from the group Americans for Prosperity. A protester punched Fox News contributor Steven Crowder as he covered the protests, leaving him bloodied. State troopers in riot gear swept the area clear.
Meanwhile, many teachers abandoned their classrooms, forcing some schools to close while the teachers traveled to protest at the capital. But many Democratic state senators weren’t even there; they skipped out before the final vote that approved the right-to-work bill.
This is what democracy looks like?
Workers should be able to join a union. And they should be able to opt out if they don’t want to join the union.
Conservatives have been down before and come roaring back. After Barry Goldwater’s resounding defeat in 1964, for example, who would have envisioned a President Reagan? Those on the right just kept working to persuade the American people about the strength of their ideas. That’s what they’re doing now.
After the violent protests last year in Wisconsin and now Michigan, it’s past time for leaders of the union movement to vow to do the same thing. Or is it democracy only when things go your way?