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Protesters line the Michigan capitol rotunda as Republicans push an anti-union bill.
The fight over an anti-union bill being pushed by Michigan Republicans has gotten heated in a hurry. The bill, which would force union members to pay for representation for their non-union coworkers, was decidedly not on the Republican agenda during the election, then emerged quickly as a priority for the lame duck session. Thursday, protesters at the state capitol were pepper sprayed and several were arrested. As is always the case when protesters are pepper sprayed, the reason given—accurately or not—was that they had it coming, having gotten unruly.

Police also closed the capitol, leaving many protesters shut out. Initially police claimed the capitol was closed because it was too crowded, but ultimately had to walk that back and admit that only some areas were too crowded. The building itself could definitely fit more people, if police weren't so eager to keep protesters out.

Gov. Rick Snyder, who until this lame duck session had repeatedly said that such a law was not on his agenda, held a press conference Thursday. Marcy Wheeler notes that:

Snyder and House Speaker Jase Bolger and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville dodged repeated questions about whether Dick DeVos’ funding had some influence on this decision (they answered by pointing to all the conversations they had with UAW President Bob King, avoiding the funding question entirely). Given all that dodging, I think it safe to assume that Dick DeVos just bought the right to force down wages $1,500 for every worker in this state (as right to work legislation has been shown to do in other states).
Democratic legislators are seeking to put the brakes on passage of the law, but it looks like Republicans have the votes and are determined to do this—another Republican state legislature and governor keeping their plans to attack workers quiet during an election, then diving right in as soon as they can. The fact that this is happening during the lame duck session is just a bonus for them.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 11:11 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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