Published December 11, 2012
The Michigan Legislature on Tuesday gave final approval to contentious "right-to-work" legislation, in the face of raucous protests in the capital and stern warnings from Democratic lawmakers.
"There will be blood, there will be repercussions," State Democratic Rep. Douglas Geiss, speaking on the House floor on Tuesday, warned ahead of the votes.
The final votes on the House side Tuesday deliver a blow to the labor movement in the heart of the U.S. auto industry. The measures ban unions from demanding dues from workers.
One bill dealt with public sector workers, the other with government employees. Both measures cleared the Senate last week, and were signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday afternoon.
Coinciding with the votes were massive and noisy protests both inside and outside the Capitol from pro-union demonstrators. Thousands descended upon downtown Lansing to rally against the legislation that prohibits requiring nonunion employees to financially support unions at their workplace.
Earlier in the day, two state school districts closed after hundreds of teachers called out, presumably to join the protests.
FoxNews.com confirmed that the Warren school district had to close Tuesday after so many teachers called out absent; WDIV in Detroit reported that the Taylor school district had to do the same. A statement from the Warren system said that by 8 a.m. local time, 750 staff members had called out.
"Our decision to close school was based solely on student safety given the number of staff who called in absent today," the school district said in a statement.
Snyder, in an interview with Fox News, said it was "unfortunate" that teachers called out.
"Too often the educational system's all about the adults," he said. "To see schools shutting down because of an issue like this is not appropriate in my view."
Snyder, a Republican who is expected to sign the "right-to-work" legislation, defended his position.
"This is about giving workers the freedom to choose whether their resources go to a union or not -- and I actually don't view this as anti-union," he said. "Indiana's had a strong experience.... They've seen thousands of jobs come to Indiana. Those jobs could also come to Michigan.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/11/te...