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Despite Protests, Michigan Passes Anti-Union Legislation

PHOTO: Michigan nurses were among thousands protesting the right-to-work vote at the State Capitol. Courtesy of Michigan Nurses Association.

PHOTO: Michigan nurses were among thousands protesting the right-to-work vote at the State Capitol. Courtesy of Michigan Nurses Association.


December 12, 2012

LANSING, Mich. - Despite thousands of protesters who rallied against it, the Michigan Legislature has given its final approval to two laws that limit the rights of unions in the state.

Many nurses demonstrated by placing tape across their mouths. One of them is Julia Morrissey, a University of Michigan Hospital nurse.

"Gov. Snyder, in signing this right-to-work bill causing us to no longer be able to have full advantage of unions, will silence my voice as an advocate for my patients and make it very difficult for me to provide safe patient care."

Dawn Kettinger, spokeswoman for the Michigan Nurses Association, also rallied against the legislation.

"On behalf of every worker, union and non-union, we're outraged - because this should not be happening in America, where people cannot raise their voices in democracy. Legislation can be shoved through."

Kettinger says they'll remember this vote.

"We're going to be at the Capitol. We are going to be in our communities. And looking forward to 2014, we'll be holding these legislators accountable and replacing them."

Michigan becomes the 24th state to enact right-to-work legislation, although this version exempts police and firefighters. Supporters say the change will attract businesses to the state, although opponents say businesses that want cheap labor will go out of the country rather than coming to Michigan. They also predict the law will reduce wages and benefits for all workers.

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - MI