LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Union members are demonstrating loudly at the Capitol in Lansing where state legislators may be preparing to consider so-called "right-to-work" legislation.
Hundreds of labor supporters have packed the rotunda area Wednesday, blowing whistles and chanting slogans such as "Union busters" and "We are Michigan." State police and Capitol security officers are on hand. The protest hasn't disrupted House and Senate work sessions in their respective chambers.
Rumors have swirled that majority Republicans might try to push through legislation in the session's closing days that would bar unions from collecting dues from non-members. Opponents say it's an effort to drain unions of money and weaken their effectiveness. Supporters say right-to-work policy boosts the economy and jobs.
A spokeswoman for Senate Republicans says there will be no right-to-work vote Wednesday however Ari Adler, a Spokesman for the Republican House speaker says there have been discussions behind-the-scenes and if the legislation is introduced , passage could be quick
"I really think the unions were a little bit hypocritical for them to feign shock after they tried to put two amendments to the constitution—Proposition 2 and Proposition 4," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson about the protesting in Lansing. "I mean obviously, if you are going to pull that stuff you have to expect there to be some push back and some pressure from the other side."
But Bob King, the president of the UAW who was in Lansing at the Capitol says, "Right to Work means lower wages and it is not good for Michigan workers,". King says he believes if legislation is introduced, the Governor should veto it. "That would help bring Michigan back," says King.
The protesters plan to be back at the Capitol on Thursday and they say they expect a huge day-long demonstration.