Unions prepare for protest at Michigan Capitol

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 8, 2012 at 7:03 pm •  Published: December 8, 2012
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — More than 200 activists attended training Saturday in preparation for a protest at the Michigan Capitol, where lawmakers are putting the final touches on legislation that would allow workers to stop paying union dues.

Between chants, cheers and applause, organizers warned those at the training to be prepared for insults and obstruction Tuesday in Lansing. The volunteers lined up on opposite sides of a long hall at UAW Local 600 in suburban Detroit and took turn turns portraying protesters and union critics.

"Humanize the situation. Be clear with your intentions. Introduce yourself," national labor activist Lisa Fithian, of Austin, Texas, said through a megaphone. "They're going to do everything they can to criminalize us."

Republicans who control the Michigan Legislature passed legislation Thursday that would allow workers to opt out of paying union dues at businesses where employees are represented by a union. The final version is expected to win approval soon and be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, also a Republican. Protests and possible civil disobedience are planned because the law would pose a major financial blow to organized labor.

"We are not the violent ones," Fithian told the crowd. "What is it that the police are going to do? What is it that the governor is going to order? ... We have to remember: The police are not our enemy in this fight. They're doing a job. It's our job to convince them that they should put their guns down and join the people."

The meeting, which was attended by UAW President Bob King, lasted more than two hours, but reporters were allowed to watch just a portion.

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