Hundreds of Union Members Practice Their Chants Ahead of Mich. Capitol Protest: ‘We Are Not the Violent Ones…’
(TheBlaze/AP) — More than 200 activists attended a training session Saturday to prepare for an upcoming 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 and longtime community agitator Lisa Fithian 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 Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. 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.”
Fithian was also involved in training Occupy Wall Street protesters, and her tactics have been featured on TheBlaze before. Back in May, she told a gathering that they were “building a new world” and instructed them on how to mob cops in order to avoid arrest. In an expletive-filled speech, she said it didn’t “fu**ing matter” if she gets arrested. One of her most well-known protégés is anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan.
The meeting, which was attended by UAW President Bob King, lasted more than two hours, but reporters were only allowed to watch a portion.
Mark Coco, 27, a graduate student at Wayne State University, said he would protest in Lansing, having recently worked on a failed campaign to put collective bargaining rights in the state Constitution.
“This is the first time I’ve ever been involved in this. I’m trusting that it pay dividends,” Coco said in an interview. In his opinion, the legislation “is a way to divide workers, divide colleagues.”
Katie Oppenheim, the head of a union local that represents 4,500 nurses at University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, said workers whose pay and benefits are negotiated by a union should pay dues.
She believes her members appreciate the fruits of collective bargaining and will keep paying. But she acknowledged “the reality that people like things for free.” Outside observers might point out that it may not be that they want the benefits for free, but that they don’t want to be forced to pay for something they don’t agree with.
The legislation has already been challenged in court by a union activist who claims the state Open Meetings Act was violated when Michigan State Police barred the doors to the Capitol on Thursday. Ari Adler, a spokesman for Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, told the Detroit Free Press the lawsuit was “baseless and frivolous” and “more about receiving attention than getting justice.”
A hearing on the lawsuit has been scheduled for Thursday, but union activist and Highland Park school board member Robert Davis told the newspaper he would request an earlier date.
Here is video from their last protest, which was so disruptive it shut down the Capitol building:
- ‘What We Are Doing Is Building That New World Now’: Left-Wing Radical Lisa Fithian Gives ‘How-To’ Course on Disruptive Activism
- ‘Right-to-Work Has Got to Go!’: Union Activists Shut Down Michigan Capitol Building, Eight Arrested
- Calif. Teachers Union Releases Cartoon Featuring ‘the Rich’ Urinating on the Poor
Benghazi, IRS, AP...What's next? Only TheBlaze TV offers the truth from Glenn Beck, Andrew Wilkow, and Real News from TheBlaze. Get instant access and a free trial here.
- Shock Video Surfaces: Meat Cleaver-Wielding Man Shouts ‘You People Will Never Be Safe!’ Moments After Gruesome London Attack 508 Comments
- Confusion Erupts in IRS Hearing After Lois Lerner Tries to Plead the 5th — Watch It All Unfold 470 Comments
- Pope Francis’ Sermon Sparks Debate: ‘Even the Atheists’ Have Been Redeemed ‘With the Blood of Christ’ 424 Comments
- The Tense Exchange Between Rep. Trey Gowdy and the Former IRS Head You’ve Been Waiting for…and It Doesn’t Disappoint 391 Comments
- John McCain Lectures Tea Party Senator on How ‘Business’ Gets Done in Congress: ‘That’s What We’ve Been Doing for a Couple Hundred Years’ 384 Comments
- ‘I Swear I Will Kill You…F**k You’: Conservative Comedian Gets Death Threats Following Anti-Muhammad Video 114 Comments
- ‘We…Aren’t Going to Take S**t From Homophobes’: Mysterious Pro-Firearm Ads Use Gays, Seemingly Topless Lesbians to Rail Against Gun Control 211 Comments
- Beck Issues Challenge to People of Faith in Wake of Okla. Tornado: ‘What Have You Done?’ Read More
- ‘Islamic Jihad, Islamic Jihad!: Michelle Malkin Rips Progressives, Clashes With Lib Radio Host Over Islamic Terrorism and the London Machete Attack 142 Comments
- Venezuelan President Blames Toilet Paper Shortage on the Rich Read More
- This Terrible Chart Shows the Change in Food Stamp Participation Over the Last 10 Years Read More
- Disney Makes Absolutely Mortifying Photoshop Mistake Read More
- Trey Gowdy at It Again — This Time with a Jack Bauer Reference! 109 Comments
- Emails Released: Congress Was Asking for Updates on IG’s IRS Audit Before 2012 Election Read More
- The Incredible Role Facebook Played in the Aftermath of Devastating Okla. Tornado Read More
- Tech Company Demonstrates Remote Disabling of a ‘Smart Gun’ 130 Comments
- Meet the Blind Man Nicknamed ‘Midnight Gunslinger’ Who Has 80% Shot Accuracy Read More
- How a $4.5 Million Network of 181 Sirens Helped Save Lives in Oklahoma Twister Read More
- See the Record-Setting Python a Man Caught With His Bare Hands (and Guess How Much It Weighed) Read More
- Czech police say US suspect in 4 murders arrested
- Ugandan president removes army chief amid dispute
- German business confidence unexpectedly rebounds
- Glitzy amfAR raises $25 million, goes to space
- Foreign preacher takes rare turn on Vietnam stage
- Obama's drone speech welcomed in Pakistan, Yemen
- 5.7-magnitude quake widely felt across N. Calif.
- JC Chandor gains a Cannes hit with 'All Is Lost'