Monday, July 15, 2013

Young union members protest No Rights at Work in Michigan

Young union members took to the streets of Detroit late last week to demand that Michigan lawmakers roll back the no-rights-at-work law imposed in March. The participants were in the Motor City as part of an AFSCME conference that highlighted new voices within the labor movement.

The protest comes at a time when there is growing support for unions nationwide, especially among young adults. A recent poll showed more than 60 percent of people under 30 approve of unions.

Protesters also rallied against Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, who wants concessions from pensions and unions. CBS Detroit reported they also took aim at Gov. Rick Snyder, who calls himself "one tough nerd":
Wearing suspenders and taped glasses about 500 protesters chanted “Revenge of the Nerds” as they packed the street – then the entrance of the building – effectively disrupting business for about 10 minutes before Wayne County deputies and Detroit police were called in to secure the building. 
Reverend David Bulluck was among those protesting Friday afternoon. 
“We are not throwing the towel in,” said Rev. Bulluck. “This is the summer of our discontent and we will not let democracy be destroyed … we will not let the city of Detroit be fixed by putting the blame on the backs of citizens and retirees.”
Workers from 40 different states were on hand to show support for their Michigan brothers and sisters.

As Christopher Matthews wrote in Time magazine, the growing support for unions shouldn't be surprising given big businesses' poor treatment of working Americans:
...there are a few trends -- namely income-growth stagnation and the fact that corporate owners are taking a larger share of the national income than they have in generations -- that would lead one to expect increasing support for unions.
More than 280,000 college graduates work in minimum wage jobs that qualified them for government help The writing is on the wall for today's young workers. And they are beginning to see what many of us have known for some time -- without unions, the middle class will disappear.

Welcome into the fold!