From the State House:
1. Democratic Representative Brandon Dillon of Grand Rapids spoke up in opposition of the legislation that Republicans are trying to rename “Freedom to Work.” He called the legislation ”Freedom to Freeload” and expounded by saying ”with this bill, allowing people to benefit from the hard work that others do, without personally having to sacrifice one penny, is the very epitome of freeloading.” He then criticized House Republicans who did not allow the usual committee meetings, amendments, or citizen input prior to voting. He told them they “don’t have the guts to talk about this in front of people in this state. That’s shameful. That’s not Democracy. This is where Democracy goes to die today.” The Youtube video of the fiery speech had over 18,000 hits within 48 hours.
2. Sterling Heights Republican Representative Tory Roca when, explaining his no vote, said “people weren’t allowed to see what the language was going to be … until it was given to us literally minutes before we started voting. I couldn’t bring myself to justify making a change like this.”
3. Republican Representative Mike Shirkey from Clarklake said in his speech on the House floor “Yes, Freedom to Work is Pro Union.” Shirkey’s statement was probably the most outrageous thing said by either side. Such a statement either means Shirkey is borderline insane, or he is a very bad at lying.
From the State Senate:
4. Republican Senator Mike Nofs of Battle Creek said “There already is a choice for workers. They have a choice when they walk in (to apply for a job).” He said the voters should decide if right-to-work should move forward in Michigan.
5. Senator Burt Johnson spoke for almost an hour leading people to wonder if he was attempting a filibuster. In the closing minutes of his speech he said “The legacy we leave behind if we pass right to work will be one of kowtowing to billionaires instead of working on behalf of our constituents. Mr. President, I need you to hear this. It will be one of selling out for an idealogical attack on hard working men and women instead of protecting their interest as they try to make a decent living and make it in America.”
From the Executive Branch:
6. Governor Snyder has said countless times that right-to-work is “not on my agenda.” During his candidacy he said right-to-work “is a divisive, polarizing issue that will drive people apart when we need everyone at the table working to reinvent Michigan.” Now the Governor says he will sign right-to-work legislation. Snyder now says “The goal isn’t to divide Michigan. It is to bring Michigan together.” To summarize, right-to-work is a divisive, polarizing issue that will bring people together.
From Special Interest:
7. Chamber of Commerce President Rich Studley was on the program Flashpoint October 14th to discuss Proposal 2 (the ballot initiative that would have guaranteed collective bargaining rights in the Michigan Constitution). At the 11:50 mark he said “The Governor doesn’t support right-to-work, at the Michigan Chamber we don’t support right-to-work” attempting to convince voters that Michiganders don’t need constitutional protection of collective bargaining. Then on December 3rd he said “now is the time for bold and decisive leadership to pass comprehensive Freedom to Work legislation that applies to both the public and private sectors. “ Apparently, a lot has changed in seven weeks.
8. The ultra-conservative Koch brothers group called Americans for Prosperity was in Lansing pushing for the amendment on the day it was introduced and passed. Their Michigan director Scott Hagerstrom said “Michigan passage of right-to-work legislation will be the shot heard around the world.” Clearly, the reference to a “shot” also implies the desire by the far right to kill unions in Michigan and anywhere that there is a labor movement. Without the organizational and financial power of unions, there would be no check for the likes of big business and wealthy CEOs like the Kochs.
From Union Leaders:
9. Steve Cook, the President of the Michigan Education Association told Fox News “The individuals who voted for this, the Governor who voted for this and is going to sign it, will not have a moments peace for the next two years.”
10. Bob King, United Auto Workers President said “Right-to-work is wrong for Michigan. Every right-to-work state has lower wages, lower benefits, less security for workers and more income inequality.” He went on to say ”today is a victory for Dick DeVos and the radical right wing. Long term, there will be a victory for working families in Michigan.”