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.

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 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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