Michigan's Right-to-Work Bill Passes, and These 12,000 People Aren't Happy
The state's House of Representatives now has the anti-union measure ready for Governor Rick Snyder to sign, and we're inside the protests at the state capitol with photos, riot gear, and live updates.
Update 6:08 p.m.: Snyder has signed the bill in private.
Update 2:01 p.m. MSNBC is reporting that Snyder will not sign the bill until tomorrow.
Update 12:45 p.m. A sit-in at the Capitol has formed in the wake of the passing votes (via @JulianCummings):
Update 12:21 p.m. "Unhappy and depressed" our man in the Capitol is telling us about the mood there—protesters have just found out the House of Representatives have passed the bill.
Update 12:14 p.m. Michigan's House of Representatives has passed the "right-to-work" bill by a vote of 58-51.
Update 12:01 p.m. According to Reuters, the unofficial count of protesters seems to be over 12,000 people. And we don't know if there's been a shift-change in the Capitol building, but the policemen in riot gear are now in the building:
State police in riot gear. Not sure if just changing shifts or what. @lsjnews #righttowork twitter.com/misjak/status/…— Laura Misjak (@misjak) December 11, 2012
Update 11:19 a.m.: We're talking to someone inside the Capitol building, and it appears cops are slowly letting people into the building. Service is apparently dodgy in there, hence the lack of Twitter pictures.
"We have been yelling and asking for Snyder. He, of course, won't show his face. Now [the crowd is] screaming, we are the 99%" our correspondent told us.
Here's another shot from inside the building:
Update 10:42 a.m.: The Lansing State Journal's Laura Misjak is doing some excellent work and giving great details of what's happening at Michigan's Capitol building. Here's a view from the building's 4th floor:
A view from 4th floor. Chant "UNION we are." #righttowork @lsjnews twitter.com/misjak/status/…— Laura Misjak (@misjak) December 11, 2012
Original: Governor Rick Snyder will be signing legislation today to make Michigan the country's 24th right to work state — and these are the protestors who still don't want that to happen.
The Time: There appears to be no exactly timeframe for when Snyder will be signing the law, actually. But we're expecting something early:
Republican spokesman says #righttowork should come up fairly early on today's agenda after initial business and a farewell speech.— Kristen M. Daum (@kristendaum) December 11, 2012
The Cops: Last week police in Michigan's Capitol building sprayed mace to control the crowd in Lansing. Today they're apparently donning riot helmets in anticipation:
Some Michigan State Police are now carrying riot helmets, still no signs of trouble. #righttowork #migov— Paul Egan (@paulegan4) December 11, 2012
And this is what it looks like as you walk into the Capitol building (Maury Koffman via Facebook):
The #righttowork march begins. @lsjnews twitter.com/misjak/status/…— Laura Misjak (@misjak) December 11, 2012
Crowds of protesters fill the street. @lsjnews #righttowork twitter.com/misjak/status/…— Laura Misjak (@misjak) December 11, 2012
One of the more inventive signs:
5,000 anticipated at Lansing Center for 9:15 am march to Capitol. #righttowork @lsjnews twitter.com/misjak/status/…— Laura Misjak (@misjak) December 11, 2012
One more shot via @KristenDaum:
Here are protesters and cops being civil (via WDIV Detroit):
And here's video of members of the United Auto Workers union rallying this morning
Again, protesting is all the pro-union people can do at this point — Snyder's law and Michigan's heavily Republican legislature have ensured that Michigan will indeed become a right-to-work state and chip away at the effectiveness of unions there. We'll keep this updated as the day and the protest goes on.