Stateside: Michigan Radio staff chime in on RTW drama

Dec 13, 2012

Michigan Radio Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta inside the Capitol

"Right now I'm on the ground floor of where the House voted to send the two bills that will be sent to Rick Snyder. The debate has been fierce inside the House, out on the Capitol lawn. The next step: the people who oppose the bill are hoping Snyder will veto it. As soon as it is officially presented, he can sign it. We don't expect it today, but that doesn't mean we won't see it today. This was very tense. People were angry at how this was done. There were no public hearings. There was a lot of time spent talking about it and there were amendments proposed. They were quickly voted down. Protestors never made their way inside the chambers. You could hear them chanting while the debates were going on. If I've ever seen something this dramatic, I can't remember when."

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody outside the Romney Building

"The union members have moved to the Romney Building. It's a very large crowd; two union members were arrested for resisting arrest and they're now facing a felony. At this point the protestors are still blocking the entrance to the building. Early on, there was a lot of optimism in the crowd. With the realization that the legislature was going to vote in favor, the mood soured a bit. Then things calmed down but since the protests shifted across the streets tensions are picking back up again. There's a lot of activity going on in Downtown Lansing."

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham helped define ALEC

"Basically it's supposed to be a group of legislators from different state capitols. Their money comes from EXON. These groups will get together and say, 'This is what we want you to pass.' They work to make sure this gets pushed through. They wine and dine these legislators. Those who are resistant have to take them seriously because they will go after them. You see these groups working together and using a lot of money from the Koch Brothers to get what they want. They work together to put the pressure on these legislators. These people still are elected representatives. They pass these laws on the half of corporate America, hopefully we get thought of in the process."

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton on whether right-to-work could create Michigan jobs

"We're relying on what the Indiana Economic Development said. The problem is they only passed this law in March and the guidelines didn't go in effect until August. It does attract companies that are primarily interested in low-labor costs. That's not a good thing; it's a job but those people aren't making much money. They often don't have health insurance. It's not necessarily just a gain."