Right to work law takes effect as protestors mount opposition - FOX 32 News Chicago

Right to work and EM laws takes effect as protestors mount opposition

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DETROIT (myFOXDetroit.com) -

A tearful woman protested loud as two historic laws took effect Thursday.

"You can't just take stuff from people and expect people to roll over," she said. "Lansing comes in from outside and they bring someone else from Maryland, and they tell somebody else to sit down and shut up!. You can't do that."

Right-to-work and emergency manager legislation are both now in full effect, and large numbers of Michigan voters are vowing to fight.

Union leaders warned of endless protests, and today they made good on their promise.

While Michigan Governor Rick Snyder spoke at the Pancakes and Politics forum at the Detroit Athletic Club, a large crowd gathered outside, claiming their rights had been trampled on.

"Right-to-work depresses wages and benefits," said David Hecker, President of the American Federation of Teachers. "It gives people less money to spend in our business and community, and we will change this down the road."

Right-to-work makes it illegal to force workers to contribute money to a union as a condition of employment. It was passed by the Lansing lawmakers in December, inciting a massive protest at the Capitol.

Bishop Berdale Jefferson came all the way from Flint to support a lawsuit fighting the emergency manager law.

"We've seen the emergency manager, and it doesn't work," Jefferson said.

Civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network have joined a coalition of unions, clergy groups and Michigan residents in the filing of a federal lawsuit to halt the state's new emergency manager law.

Sharpton was in Detroit Thursday, joining Rev. Charles Williams of the Michigan Action Network, to announce they're seeking an injunction from a U.S. District Court judge in Detroit.

"We believe emergency management is anti-democratic and a challenge to our voting rights," Williams said. "We're filing this lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act, section 2, with the expectation we will get justice."

But Gov. Snyder tells Fox 2 he isn't worried about the lawsuits.

"I'm enthusiastic about the new act," Gov. Snyder said. "I think it allows us to further the partnership we have with the mayor and city council. We will see how far we can go with it."

Gov. Snyder went on to say, "That's what the courts are for, and our track record is good at winning our lawsuits."

Although the law took effect today, Detroit's new Emergency Financial Manager, Kevyn Orr, started work Monday.

Snyder and Orr agreed it was a good first week for the EFM.

The first order of business for Orr was establishing a partnership with Mayor Dave Bing and Detroit's City Council.

But there was a more pressing issue on the minds of citizens.

"Public safety," Orr said. "Everywhere I go people say 'please work on public safety.' We're going to look over some things (in the coming weeks)."

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