1 Michigan Police Pepper-Spray 'Right to Work' Protesters
2 'RIGHT TO WORK': The Wrong Answer for Michigan’s Economy
[To see video report on the Michigan protests, go to
http://bit.ly/VpX6Pa -- moderator]
Michigan Police Pepper-Spray, Arrest Protesters
Opposing 'Right to Work' Law
December 06, 2012 12:00 PM
Michigan State Police say they were forced to use
pepper spray and arrest at least four protesters who
were opposing right to work legislation at the Michigan
Capitol on Thursday.
Michigan State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk told the
Detroit Free Press that a number of protesters tried to
rush the state Senate floor.
"When several of the individuals rushed the troopers,
they used chemical munitions to disperse the crowd,"
Adamczyk said. "It would be a lot worse if someone gets
hurt and I failed to act."
WILX reported that the Capitol building had been locked
and at least four protesters were arrested during the
incident. WILX reporter Brian Johnson estimated that
there were around 500 protesters in the building.
Video posted by Michigan Senate Democrats showed
Republican state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker angrily
gaveling the Senate session into recess as the crowd
"Additionally, Republicans have called in countless
State Police officers again today to guard their
offices and question the public as they enter the
Capitol to protest the Republican agenda," the
Democrats wrote. "Frankly, if you have to bring in a
massive police presence in order to conduct business at
the State Capitol, it might be time for Republicans to
rethink what they’re doing."
After initially calling the union-busting right to work
legislation "too decisive," Republican Gov. Rick Snyder
on Thursday said that he would sign the bill if it came
to his desk. The measure is expect to pass because
Republicans control both the state Senate and state
"The goal isn’t to divide Michigan," he said at a press
conference. "It is to bring Michigan together."
Snyder said that he now supported the legislation
because it was about the "freedom to choose" and
"fairness and equity in the workplace."
Democratic lawmakers and unions, however, claimed that
the bill would lower wages and reduce benefits for
"Gov. 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," U.S. Representative Gary Peters said in a
statement on Thursday. "By trying to jam this through a
lame duck session, Gov. 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.
'RIGHT TO WORK': The Wrong Answer for Michigan’s Economy
Economic Policy Institute briefing pager
As Michigan seeks to recover from the Great Recession
while addressing the additional problems generated by
contraction in the auto industry, some advocates are
promoting the idea that the state’s economy can be
turned around through adoption of a “right-to-work”
Large sums of money have been devoted to backing so-
called “right-to-work” bills in numerous state
legislatures. Lobbyists for these misleadingly named
laws claim that they significantly improve both job
growth and the wages people earn. The evidence shows
that these claims are completely without scientific
The most rigorous scientific analysis shows the exact
opposite is true:
* Right-to-work laws have no impact in boosting
economic growth: research shows that there is no
relationship between right-to-work laws and state
unemployment rates, state per capita income, or
state job growth.
* Right-to-work laws have no significant impact on
attracting employers to a particular state; surveys
of employers show that “right to work” is a minor or
non- existent factor in location decisions, and that
higher- wage, hi-tech firms in particular generally
prefer free-bargaining states.
* Right-to-work laws lower wages—for both union and
nonunion workers alike—by an average of $1,500 per
year, after accounting for the cost of living in
* Right-to-work laws also decrease the likelihood that
employees get either health insurance or pensions
through their jobs—again, for both union and
* By cutting wages, right-to-work laws threaten to
undermine job growth by reducing the discretionary
income people have to spend in the local retail,
real estate, construction, and service industries.
Every $1 million in wage cuts translates into an
additional six jobs lost in the economy. With 85
percent of Michigan’s economy concentrated in health
care, retail, education, and other non-manufacturing
industries, widespread wage and benefit cuts could
translate into significant negative spillover
effects for the state’s economy.
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