Thousands of workers from throughout the state of Michigan and the US Midwest have held a demonstration against a law approved by the Michigan Legislature that limits union powers.
On Tuesday, demonstrators gathered inside and outside the state Capitol building in Lansing before the Republican-led House passed the bill that would ban workplace rules that make union membership a condition of employment for government workers.
The protesters continued their demonstration after the bill was passed.
The Michigan State Senate, which is the upper house of the Michigan Legislature, approved the bill last week.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will now sign the so-called “right-to-work” bill into law on Wednesday that would make Michigan the 24th state with “right-to-work” laws, which prohibit unions from establishing a “closed shop” requiring employees to join unions and contribute dues.
Thousands of protesters, who were inside the state Capitol, chanted “shame on you” as the first of two bills, which applied to public sector workers, was passed.
According to police estimates, over 12,000 unionized workers and supporters turned out amid freezing temperatures to protest against the law.
The Capitol building was closed to visitors when it reached its capacity of 2,200, and about 10,000 people held a demonstration outside the Capitol, Michigan State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk said.
“I do think this is a very sad day in Michigan history,” American Federation of Teachers member Valerie Constance said.
On Monday, US President Barack Obama spoke out against the law.
“These so-called right-to-work laws, they don’t have anything to do with economics; they have everything to do with politics,” Obama said at a factory outside of Detroit, Michigan.
“What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money,” he added.