Michigan Poised to Become Right to Work State; Protesters Shout 'Heil Hitler' in Response

Kate Hicks

12/7/2012 5:13:00 PM - Kate Hicks

Michigan is one step closer to becoming a Right to Work state. Last night, both the state House and Senate passed bills that would forbid the public sector unions from taking 2% out of workers’ paychecks for dues payments, regardless of whether or not they’re members. The bills can’t be passed into law until Tuesday, owing to procedural requirements, but they’re almost sure to prevail, at which point Gov. Rick Snyder has vowed to sign them.

The House and Senate each passed bills on the same day they were introduced that give private and public sector workers the right to avoid paying union dues in an organized workplace. Only police officers and firefighters would be exempt.

The package can't reach final completion until at least Tuesday because of procedural rules that require a five-day layover for two of the bills before they can be voted on in the other chamber.

The bills arose rather suddenly, as lawmakers were eager to get this passed in the lame duck session, and as Ed Morrissey notes at HotAir, so as to avoid the anarchy that overtook the Wisconsin statehouse two years ago. And although the scene in Lansing was nothing like the chaos in Madison, union activists attempted to storm the Senate during floor debates, resulting in temporary closure of the capitol building.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley repeatedly gaveled for order during the Senate debate as Democrats attacked the legislation to applause from protesters in the galley. At one point, a man shouted, "Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler! That's what you people are." He was quickly escorted out. Another later yelled, "We will remember in November."

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.

Protesters waved placards and chanted slogans such as "Union buster" and "Right-to-work has got to go." Adamczyk said the troopers used pepper spray after the people refused to obey orders to stop.

The Capitol, which was temporarily closed because of safety concerns, reopened Thursday afternoon, sending hundreds of protesters streaming back inside with chants of, "Whose house? Our house!" Adamczyk said a judge ordered the building reopened.

Breitbart also has a few fun, profanity-laced videos of protesters attacking pro-Right to Work activists here.

Of course, it’s worth remembering that these people are protesting their colleagues’ right to determine whether or not some of their paycheck goes toward union dues. All the while, however, they claim to protest the way this curtails “workers’ rights.” Hmm.

It’s also worth remembering what, exactly this bill does – indeed, it doesn’t affect collective bargaining, and in fact, Gov. Snyder made it clear he’s in favor of preserving that right:

The fight’s not quite over yet, and indeed, the AFL-CIO tweeted that supporters should spend their weekends furiously phone banking in a last-ditch attempt to change some legislators’ minds. That doesn’t seem likely to happen, however – instead, the nation’s former bastion of union power seems poised to make some change.