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Dearborn UAW Returns to Lansing to Protest Right-to-Work Legislation

Local 600 joined thousands of other union members from across the state and beyond in protesting the bills.

Michigan union members from across the state were in Lansing on Tuesday for the second time in a week to protest legislation that would make Michigan a right-to-work state.

More: Recap our live coverage from Tuesday in Lansing.

An estimated 10,000 union protesters from every corner of the state, as well as from Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin, gathered near the state Capitol. Teamsters, the American Federation of Teachers, the Michigan Education Foundation, UAW and a number of smaller unions—including pipeworkers, boilermakers and plumbers—came out.

Members of firefighter unions from Dearborn, Birmingham and other cities also came out to stand in solidarity, though fire and police unions are not affected by the legislation.

Nick Kottalis, a Dearborn resident and President of the Dearborn Truck Plant chapter of Local 600, said he'd likely only be out there Tuesday, and hoped to see Gov. Rick Snyder decline to sign the bill.

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"We feel that right-to-work is going to slow slash long-term worker unions, lower wages, and the end result will be hurting middle class families," said Kottalis, who has been at the Dearborn Truck Plant for five years, and previously worked in the Wixom plant. "This is asking to divide the state of Michigan."

Kottalis added that he spoke with a few Republican members of Local 600 who said that they felt betrayed by Gov. Snyder. When running for office, Snyder had said that he did not intend to push right-to-work. His announcement earlier this month that he would support and sign the legislation came as a shock to many.

"Our supporters at the plant asked the governor if he would make Michigan right-to-work, and he said he would not," Kottalis said. "Now that he has changed his mind, they've changed their mind about him."

The Michigan House voted 58-51 to approve right-to-work legislation for public employees, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Keith Best December 12, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Did the news cover these "union thugs" in action? See it here: http://youtu.be/u_F3oev06i0
Christopher olind December 12, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Don't believe that video it has been edited to show what the tea baggers want you to see
Nickel December 13, 2012 at 04:31 AM
I really question whether these UAW workers know what they are protesting. I would be surprised if they lose one member because it is their union that pays for the employee health care. Who wants to be FORCED to pay a club to work? I know I would join the union if the shop had a union only because of the protections it provides, this law only states you cannot force one to join the union as a condition of employment. I recognize that if you don't join the union, you get the same representation under this law, but, really, how long will that person survive as an independent in a union shop?

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