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.