It was a chaotic day in Lansing as several bills that are part of controversial right-to-work legislation advanced in the House and Senate, demonstrators temporarily were locked out of the Capitol and Democratic lawmakers walked out in protest Thursday.
Gov. Rick Snyder, who previously had said making Michigan a right-to-work state was not on his agenda, stunned observers Thursday morning when he announced he would sign off on just such legislation if it came to his desk.
Right-to-work states prohibit unions from requiring workers to pay dues as a term of employment.
The day's events touched off impassioned reactions, including the following.
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“This is about workplace fairness and equality. This is about the relationship between workers and their union. Workers should have a right to choose who they associate with.” – Gov. Rick Snyder via Bloomberg News
"The expectation is that it could very possibly greatly weaken our Berkley Education Association and the voice of teachers in education. We are very disappointed in Governor Snyder's decision after he said this was not on his agenda. We feel it is a very divisive decision on his part and that so-called 'Right to Work' (for less) does not create jobs. It is another attack on the middle class and will take more money out of the hands of working people. Money that would have most likely gone into the local economy." – Mary Lou Gleason, president of the Berkley Education Association
"This is not about Republican vs. Democrat, this is not management vs. labor, this does not change collective bargaining, this is not anti-union. It is pro-worker. This is about Michigan's hard workers. Michigan has the greatest workforce in the country." – House Speaker Jase Bolger via the Huffington Post
“Governor Snyder campaigned on a promise of unity, but instead he’s ushering in an era of divisiveness across Michigan by launching an attack against working families. By trying to jam this through a lame duck session, Governor Snyder is trying to prevent voters from seeing how he is dividing Michigan instead of working to ensure the future of our state during this fragile recovery" – U.S. Congressman Gary Peters, who represents the Ninth District, including Berkley