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Obama Weighs in on Right-to-Work Labor Dispute

For the labor community, all eyes are on Michigan this week. We Are Michigan provides a list of actions for Monday, while the big “Day of Action” at the Michigan state capitol is planned for Tuesday with thousands committing to attend already via the online event page.

To that end, hundreds of people gathered at the United Auto Workers Local 600 hall this weekend to prepare for the days ahead:

The union hall couldn’t hold all the nurses, autoworkers, Teamsters, teachers, members of SEIU, AFSCME, UFCW, ISO, and other unions. Their families, retirees and pastors came too. The overflow crowd listened carefully to the civil disobedience trainer about what their rights are and what they should do when arrested. They were told to de-escalate confrontation, to keep cool heads in the front of the action and put hotheads in the back.

The civil disobedience training, which is open to the news media, is one of a number of actions planned over the next few days. The actions will lead up to a large rally in Lansing on Tuesday to protest the right-to-work-for-less bill expected to become law that day. There will be flash mobs, rallies, fake auctions of the middle class and news conferences. They’ll be held in Flint, Saginaw, Lansing, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo — well, all over the state.

On the national scale, positive feelings were felt when news broke that President Obama plans to publicly admonish Michigan during his “fiscall cliff” speech in Detroit. It will be the mother of all air-quote speeches as both “Right-to-Work” and “fiscal cliff” are understood to be blatant misnomers-slash-outright-lies.

On Monday, Obama is scheduled to give a speech on the fiscal cliff at the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant, as part of his public campaign to build support for raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans as he negotiates with congressional Republicans.

The Obama administration told labor leaders that the president will also be weighing in on the right-to-work fight in his speech, according to union officials who spoke with The Huffington Post.

The White House did not return a request for comment, but on Thursday, it put out a statement expressing Obama’s opposition to what Snyder is doing in Michigan.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled bad news: the ever-observant Eclectablog notes that the “Right-to-Work” drama provided sufficient cover for the Michigan GOP to put in some anti-abortion work:

While the spotlight and media attention was focused on the outrageous anti-worker legislation that Republicans jammed through the legislature last Thursday, they also made sure to throw in some equally outrageous attacks in their War on Women. Bills were passed as part of their overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan that include prohibitions on access to abortion for Michigan women. Additionally, they passed a bill that will force ALL women covered by health insurance in Michigan to purchase separate riders covering abortion services.

Surely, this type of across-the-board disgrace will energize groups that might not otherwise engage on “Right-to-Work.” Capitol occupations and endless legal back-and-forth to follow.

Go to MI State Page
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