Sunday, December 9, 2012

Michigan's civil war begins

These Teamsters brothers attended a
 civil disobedience
training in Dearborn yesterday. 
(UPDATES with new grafs 6-10 with news about small business opposition to RTW4Less.)

Today furious workers will rally and protest throughout Michigan in the opening salvo of the state's civil war. It is a fight between billionaires who want to turn the Midwest into Canada's Mexico and working people trying to save Michigan's middle class.

We didn't want this war, but Gov. Rick Snyder went ahead and provoked it. Knowing what would happen, he railroaded through the Legislature a pro-poverty, anti-union right-to-work-for-less bill.

The legislation -- expected to become law Tuesday -- gives employers the right to cut wages by thousands of dollars a year.

Our Teamster brothers in Michigan won't let that happen. Members are coming out today to several of the many rallies and protests to save workplace democracys. The first rally is at 2:30 this afternoon today at the Chamber of Commerce in Sterling Heights at 12900 Hall Road.  The second rally is at 4 p.m. at the Oakland Mall at 412 W 14 Mile Rd at one of the main entrances.

Activists will hold mock auctions to parody Snyder selling out the middle class in Flint and Detroit. There'll be a flash mob in Bay City/Saginaw. Faith leaders will speak out in Detroit. Actions are planned in Battle Creek, Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor.

Small business owners will hold a telephone news conference this afternoon. Many businesspeople will be victims of right-to-work-for-less. Lower wages mean less spending in their shops and on their services. The crumbling communities resulting from the legislation will take independent businesses with them. Scott Davis, operator of Davis Agencies in Farmington Hills, said:
As a business person I am totally opposed to right to work and other public policies which weaken a vibrant working middle class.  I recently moved to Michigan and opened a small business. Part of the appeal of Michigan is it’s strong middle class.  Right to work will weaken workers collective power, and inevitably drive down the wages in Michigan.
Chris Jordan, who operates an American Income Life office in Portage, agrees:
A fairly paid workforce equals a healthy customer base. Right to work states consistently underperform in measurable economic drivers such as wages, benefits, and education. Michigan needs to continue to strengthen our local economies, not find new ways to drive the middle class into a ditch.
More actions are planned for tomorrow. Events today and tomorrow are a prelude to the massive Day of Action planned for Tuesday in Lansing at the Capitol. Some of our brothers joined hundreds in a civil disobedience training yesterday at UAW Local 600's hall in Dearborn.

This is just the beginning. The next two years will be like nothing you've ever seen.