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Northville Democratic Club Joins Protests in Lansing

Democratic Club members traveled to Lansing to join in protests over the past two days.

The Northville Democratic Club joined thousands of people in Lansing twice this week to protest Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to tax pensions and the current legislative bills they say are aimed at harming organized labor.

Protests were held Tuesday and Wednesday. The first, intiated by the AARP, was to rally against taxing pensions. Seven members of the Northville Democratic Club traveled together to Lansing to join more than 1,000 protesters.

“The republicans have run the working people, meaning the teachers, the firemen, the policemen and the public employees into the ground by beginning to tax things like their pensions and eliminating the earned income credit,” George Fomin, a Northville Democratic Club member said. “That money they intend to use for budget purposes amounts to more than $1 billion that retirees and those that I mentioned would be paying. And that money would be transferred for budget needs because he (Gov. Snyder) wants to pass on about the same amount in tax cuts to corporations.”

Fomin attended both protests with Northville Democratic Club members.

He called the cuts "attacks on working people, attacks on the middle class.”

According to Scott Craig, Northville Democratic Club President, there are about 500 people that attend Northville Democratic Club events, about 100 of which are retired, receiving pensions and would be directly impacted by a tax on pensions.

Craig was one of the Democratic Club's four members who participated in the protest in Lansing Wednesday organized by a coalition of labor groups. They joined about 5,000 other protesters.

“There’s currently introduced into the legislature close to 40 bills that would seriously harm organized labor,” Craig said. “Maybe about 15 of those bills are specific for schools, education, MEA, teacher unions and things like that. The rest of the bills would affect everything from the building trades to municipal workers like firemen, policemen and etcetera. Rather than protesting one bill, they were protesting a whole assortment of attacks on labor. They’re moving so fast up there we don’t have time to protest one bill at a time.”

The Northville Democratic Club members said they felt the need to participate in these protests because some members are teachers and others belong to labor unions.

Craig, a teacher in Birmingham, said he believes most of the teacher participation in the rally in Lansing today was motivated because of Gov. Snyder’s proposed budget cuts for school districts across the state.

“Northville Schools are already underfunded,” Craig said.

The district, like all in the state, is slated to loose $470 per pupil reduction that would save the state $452.5 million.

And, although Craig has taken time to join in the protests, he’s not sure if they will have any impact on state legislators.

“Our numbers are not good,” he said of democrats in the legislature. “We’re hoping  (republicans) will take a second thought about this and maybe not vote for all of these proposals. Maybe moderate some of the proposals. We only need about six or seven republicans to get cold feet to kind of put some damper or slow down this process.”

Fomin is concerned about the sweeping powers law for crisis managers that Gov. Snyder signed Wednesday.

The bill would give state appointed emergency financial or crisis managers the power to fix distressed cities and school districs by giving the managers the authority to terminate employee union contracts. The bill also lets the manager disband elected boards and councils.

Ronald Behmer March 17, 2011 at 12:36 PM
The protests in Lansing are a disgrace. I am tired of the liberal Democratic position that Republicans are against unions & the middle class. It is the unions & the Democratic party that nearly destroyed the automotive industry & created the fiscal mess we now see in Lansing & the Federal Govt. I am also retired & totally agree with gov Synders program. Get with it you lost the election!
Scott Craig March 17, 2011 at 01:51 PM
The teachers unions are responsible for keeping class size down, making sure that students have adequate instructional materials, and of course - teaching students. They have also helped elevate teaching from a job that paid less than a diner waitress to a job where you can actually support a family and make it your career. The agenda of Snyder and our Republican legislature is to return teaching back to "the good old days" of the early 1960's when nobody could really earn a living in the classroom. Wake up before it is too late. If all the Republican proposals go through, nobody with intelligence will choose teaching as a profession. The kids will be the losers if that happens.
Denise Nash March 17, 2011 at 02:31 PM
In all due respect Ronald, they are not a disgrace at all. They are a patriotic duty. Those that disagree have every right to protest. It seems to me that the auto industry agreed to the union contracts - it was a two way street. For a long while it worked to build the middle class, then, as foreign competition for labor entered the field, the contractual agreements became too heavily weighted toward the US labor force and it was taking too long to get concessions, contract by contract. I believe this is what you mean? Contracts must be signed - so I would say that those contracts were signed by both labor and management, and Democrats had nothing to do with it! Personally, I am also sick - of people that think that the well-off people need all the breaks, and that the poor, retired, and underemployed need no breaks. I am SUPER sick of corporations being given tax incentives (except for the film industry - those bunch of democrats!) and paying few if any taxes! I remember the days when corporations used to contribute to the communities in while they did business. Now, we tell them we'll give them tax breaks, and in the meantime, all the new jobs they create are in foreign countries! I'm glad you agree with Snyders program - I don't. I think a progressive income tax would raise more money - and I certainly would not reduce money to our educational system! Yes, *you* won the election, but I wonder if you would if it were held today!
Sommer Foster March 17, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Ronald- I wonder how much you actually know about the Governor's plan. It isn't just about the Unions...it is a little disconcerting that this legislation gives the governor the sole power to fire locally elected officals. He can hire Emergency Financial Managers with no cap on their salary, and with no background in the area in which they are supposed to be managing. In addition to that, Snyder wants to cut business taxes by 86% --$2.1 billion to approximately $293 million – a drop of $1.8 billion. To close that gap, personal income taxes would go up from $5.75 billion to $7.5 billion – and rates on the lowest earners would go up more than rates on the top. If you are a Michigan resident in the lowest income bracket (bottom 20%) you pay a tax rate of 8.9 percent. If you are in the top one percent, you pay a rate of 5.3 percent. This is a dramatically regressive tax system. I am glad that you are able to afford an increase in your taxes, but their are a lot of seniors on a fixed income that can't. And on a side note, if you think protesting our government is disgusting, you may want to re-read the 1st amendment.
Patty Picano March 17, 2011 at 07:25 PM
NONE OF THE PROTESTING WILL DO ANY GOOD!!! Like Govenor Snyder said, " Everyone wants positive change for Michigan but only if it doesn't mean that they make a small sacrafice themselves!.They don't see the big picture. Gov. Snyder is on the right track and will turn the state around. Now if Detroit only had a Republican Mayor!!
Denise Nash March 17, 2011 at 09:48 PM
Do you live in Detroit? If you don't, it's none of your business who the mayor is. Snyder can ask for sacrifice, so how about the people in the upper income brackets sharing some of that sacrifice? Why is it all heaped on the working class? His plan of giving more and more to corporations does not work! Have the costs of things you buy gone down? Gee, that's funny - all these incentives and tax breaks given to the corporations translate into nothing more than bigger bonuses for the executives!
Tamara March 18, 2011 at 07:43 AM
I feel that it is our business who the mayor of Detroit is. If you live in MI and your taxes are taken out of your check, and sent to Detroit, then it is your business. Most people do not mind helping people that need it, but Detroit is no longer that. The poor people are still poor, the kids are still not educated, and there are some people just lining their pockets with the cash. It is not right and it must stop. The city of Detroit also effects our image in MI, and our property values, just to name a couple more reasons why it is our business. I agree with no more HUGE bnouses for rich executives. I can see a good paycheck for a very hard job, but things have gone way beyond that. I can see it will take shared sacrifice to fix MI. I would prefer the people that drove it into the ground would pay for it instead. We all know who they are. Auto executives and managers that blew it, government officials, etc. In terms of unions, I do not see why such a small amount of the American population should benefit from them and the rest of us don't get to. I think it is about equality, not just union/ anti-union, but leveling the playing field.
Tamara March 18, 2011 at 07:44 AM
I have never heard of this club in Northville. Where do they meet/ who started it? Is there a Repoublican club too?
Tamara March 18, 2011 at 07:47 AM
One thing is for sure - Northville schools are scraping the bottom of the budget barrel and the cuts being proposed are huge. I would like to know how we can get the "Proposal A" monies back that they stole from us? That was just WRONG.
Scott Craig March 18, 2011 at 11:03 AM
Tamara, The Northville Dems have 201 paid members and another 300 supporters. We meet monthly, the fourth Tuesday of the month, at the Cady Inn 215 Griswold (in the Mill Race Village). Our next meeting is Tuesday, the 22nd. As for your feeling about unionized workers getting a better deal than non-unionized, my first response is maybe you need to join a union or help form a union. If that is not possible with your job, at least be aware that every gain made by unions since the 1930's has set new standards that are often enjoyed by non-union workers. Just a few of these would be the 40 hour week and overtime, paid vacations, employer paid medical care, pensions... None of these were "given" to workers by employers. They were fought for and won by unionized workers. Today, as you see the % of unionized workers declining, you see companies taking many of these hard fought gains back from workers, both unionized and non-unionized.
Nancy Kelsey (Editor) March 19, 2011 at 01:14 AM
I see a lot of great potential here for letters to the editor! If you're interested, please send them to nancy.kelsey@patch.com. We feature letters to the editor on our home page.
Patty Picano March 19, 2011 at 02:12 AM
My recent reply to Tamara should have gone to Denise Nash, Sorry!
Tamara March 19, 2011 at 03:17 AM
My point on the unions is that, from the Republican or non-union view - there is about 7% of society that gets to have somebody go to bat for them, and they get more than the other 93% of us. That is not fair and that is one reason it is not a win win for everybody and why you are seeing the changes. Another problem is that unionized employees now are more in government jobs than non-government jobs. That means the ~93% of us that do not have the luxuries that unions are giving their members, BUT we have to PAY for them for these other people. Now I know anybody that really thinks about this can see that is not fair and will not stand in the current world, and ESPECIALLY in the current economic environment. Great things have to continue or change will happen. The great things that you listed from the past are in the past. I mean, people have to deal with current economic realitties. For something to win you have to have over half of Americans either benefitting, or believeing in it and supporting it, for the most part. I just don't see those numbers anymore.
Tamara March 19, 2011 at 03:18 AM
From the Democratic, or pro-union standpoint, I can see they do not want to lose what they have. That is completely understandable. But, it cannot be done without dealing with the issues detailed above can it? Either way, the reality is our state is in the RED and it MUST be dealt with in some manner. I suggest people go to the government with better ideas and not complaints. You know how that goes...complaints are just annoying, but better ideas, if they are truly better, can be faught hard for. If they truly are better, then you should be able to use the democratic process and get people behind you and get the votes you need to make it happen. It can be an amazing thing, but it takes a lot more work then complaining.

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