Just a few blocks from LCC’s main campus, thousands of people gathered on the steps of the Capitol Building early Dec. 11 to protest the highly controversial right-to-work bills, which were signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.
The second right-to-work bill, which passed 58-52, prohibits requiring private-sector workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment. The earlier bill, which would ban the practice for public-sector workers, passed 58-51.
The controversial legislation has gained attention from national media and political figures. The Rev. Jesse Jackson was at the demonstration speaking on behalf of the union members in front of Lansing City Hall. Jackson was accompanied by Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.
The legislation was featured as a top story on the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and FOX News websites Dec. 12.
Both bills were passed by the Senate last Dec. 6 and by the House Dec. 11. After passage of the first bill, protestors became angry.
Union workers, many of whom brought signs and megaphones, began chanting in the Capitol rotunda as well as outside the building. They chanted things such as:
“Hey! Ho! Tricky Rick (Snyder) has got to go!”
“We are the union! Mighty mighty union!”
Around 1 p.m., the majority of the angry crowd crossed Capitol Avenue and surrounded entrances to the Romney Building, where the governor’s office is located. By 4:30 p.m., the majority of the protesters had abandoned the State Capitol for the Romney Building.
The crowd continued to chant and began staging a sit-in while state police in full riot gear guarded the various entrances. The crowd chanted, “Nobody in, nobody out!”
Around 2:30 p.m., East Lansing police as well as mounted police units from the Clinton County Sheriff’s office were called in to assist the state police in controlling the fuming protesters.
A few moments later, police began pushing the crowd away from the Romney Building in an attempt to clear Capitol Avenue. In some cases, officers used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
At 5 p.m. multiple media outlets reported the majority of the protesters had disbanded and headed home for the night.
Though parking near LCC’s main campus was slightly trickier that morning, LCC Police and Public Safety Officials indicated there were no protest-related incidents reported to the department.
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