Union members and supporters stormed the Michigan statehouse to protest the "Right to Work" bill that will be passed and signed imminently. The bill would prevent unions from requiring membership and union dues as a condition of employment, significantly blunting their funding and political clout. Unions are almost invariably pro-Democrat. The Michigan legislature is currently Republican. Say what you will about whether Right to Work bills make economic sense, they are undoubtedly a political play as much as anything.
The protests drew an estimated 12,000 people to the statehouse in Lansing, MI. They chanted, held signs, and a few dressed up as Santa:
An inflatable rat joined the protests, and menaced the Michigan statehouse from the steps.
Police were armed with teargas guns. Reports came in over twitter that cops were pepper-spraying Michigan protestors.
To some Michigan protestors, Right to Work is not just bad policy, it's anti-democratic.
Meanwhile, in the Michigan statehouse, a surreal scene unfolded as debate on the bill continued, while chants of "Kill the bill!" could clearly be heard from outside.
Rep. Kate Segal, a Democrat in Michigan's House, told disappointed protestors that the Right to Work bill had passed the House, 58-51.