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Police use pepper spray on labour rights protesters
December 08, 2012
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LANSING: Police used pepper spray Thursday to subdue protesters trying to rush the Michigan state Senate after the governor and other Republican leaders announced they would press for quick approval of right-to-work legislation limiting union powers.

The Michigan House voted 58-52 on Thursday afternoon to approve the legislation prohibiting most private unions from collecting fees from nonunion employees. The Senate was debating a similar bill. Because of rules requiring a five-day delay between votes in the two chambers on the same legislation, final enactment appears unlikely until next week.

Opponents of so-called right-to-work measures say they drain unions of money and weaken their ability to bargain for good wages and benefits. Supporters insist it would boost the economy and job creation.

A victory in Michigan would give the movement its strongest foothold yet in the industry-heavy Rust Belt region, where organised labour already has suffered several body blows.

Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker pushed through a law last year that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most public workers, leading to huge protests at the state Capitol and an effort to recall the governor. Walker survived the recall referendum in June. A court battle over the law’s constitutionality is ongoing.

Associated Press


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