UPDATE: Gov. Rick Snyder has signed the Right to Work legislation into law.
In a scene reminiscent of the labor protests in Wisconsin last year, more than 10,000 protesters occupied the area around the Michigan Capitol in Lansing on Tuesday. At issue is the Republican-led “Right to Work” bill.
That legislation would seriously weaken union power in a union-heavy state. President Obama, speaking at a plant in Michigan on Monday, called the bill the “right to work for less money.” Already 23 states have Right to Work in place, but Michigan would have, by far, the largest union membership of any of those states. Democrats and union leaders have urged Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to veto the measure, which he has pledged to sign.
Bloomberg News has wild video of protesters clashing with police:
For more, check out Evan McMorris-Santoro’s piece at TPM.
There was also a skirmish between conservatives and union “thugs.” The Americans For Prosperity tent has bowled over and punches were exchanged by protesters and counter-protesters, like comedian Steven Crowder.
Looks bad, and violence is never acceptable. But the context is not exactly clear at this time. Twitter users are reporting the protesters were reacting to taunting and the throwing of pennies.
Per MSNBC:MI union protesters dismantled AFP (Koch Bros) tent after folks threw pennies at protesters saying that’s what they are worth.
— celticdiva (Linda) (@celticdiva) December 11, 2012
AFP supporters toss pennies at union protestors saying “Your work isn’t worth these.” (MSNBC)
— Desert Beacon (@DesertBeacon) December 11, 2012
More video here — looks bad: