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Anti-Union Contagion Hits Michigan

March 9, 2011

MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Union members took to the capital in Lansing Tuesday to fight back against perceived anti-union legislation in Michigan.

About 1,000 people came together to protest the legislation, and their chanting was so loud it could be heard by the lawmakers considering those bills.

The bills in question would give broad new powers to emergency financial managers that would be appointed by the state to run struggling cities and schools.

Supporters of the bills say they will lead to earlier intervention in financially troubled communities and schools, avoiding bigger problems.

However, union supporters say they could allow financial managers to terminate union contracts.

“It’s again a way to say to labor, ‘you don’t count,’” said MEA President Iris Salters. “It’s a way to say to employees, ‘get back,’ I believe it’s just like being in the slave days.”

Some local government officials are also concerned about the bills taking away power from locally elected leaders. They say giving the state-appointed financial managers so much power would in fact take away voters’ rights by removing the authority of elected school board members, mayors and council members.

The state house passed the bills two weeks previously, the state senate is now considering them. A third reading of the bills was held Tuesday. They could be voted on as early as this week.

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