Category: Politics / December 11, 2012 7:14 PM EST
The Michigan State Legislature on Tuesday passed laws curbing the influence of labor unions in both the public and private sectors. The bills, signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder Tuesday evening, bans mandatory union membership. The laws make Michigan the 24th so-called “right-to-work” state.
One of the strongholds of unionized labor, Michigan has the fifth highest percentage of unionized workers.
Reuters reported that over 12,000 union supporters congregated at the Capitol in Lansing, Michigan to protest. According to the news organization Michigan officials said the Capitol building was closed when it reached a capacity of 2,200, leaving around 10,000 to protest outside.
The Detroit Free Press reported that 10 mounted police officers and 40 state troopers were on hand to keep protesters in line and that tear gas and pepper spray were used to disperse crowds.
Opponents of the laws do have another chance to knock them down by having them placed on the ballot in 2014 as a referendum. According to the Associated Press, “Opponents of the law will have 90 days after the legislature adjourns to gather 8 percent of the total votes cast in the last gubernatorial race, which were more than 3 million. If they succeed, the law will be placed on the ballot and subject to a statewide vote.”