Category: Top News Written by Michael Cottman
The nation’s corporate hotel industry is woefully failing to hire African American managers and minority-owned companies in a fast-growing, overwhelmingly white trade, according to a new report released by the NAACP.
The NAACP’s Report Card graded the five largest hotels — Marriott, Wyndam, Hyatt, Starwood and Hilton — for ethnic diversity and racial inclusion. While Marriott International received an overall B grade — the highest rating out of all the hotels — other major hotels that were evaluated scored poorly — either a C-plus or C — and no corporate hotel leader received an A in theNAACP study.
“The lodging industry has failed to keep pace with our diverse nation,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “As one of the fastest growing industries in the country, the lodging industry has opportunities for entry level positions, senior management positions, ownership and supplier diversity – a full spectrum of economic opportunity.”
According to the NAACP report, Opportunities & Diversity Report Card: Hotel & Lodging Industry, procurement with minority businesses is at “unacceptably low numbers” throughout the hotel industry.
“Of the corporations graded in the report, only 8% of total dollars spent for goods and services went to companies owned by people of color and a dismal 1% went to African American owned companies,” the report said.
According to the NAACP, the focus of the Report Card is to examine and grade the largest companies on their representation of African Americans and people of color. In addition to grading corporations on their diversity, the report cards highlight opportunities in the industry and the specific programs designed to strengthen full participation in the industry for people of color.
The report says that diversity and inclusion remains low specifically at the management, property ownership, and supplier diversity levels. Considerable gains must be made to better reflect the demographics of the United States–where communities of color make up one-third of the current population, the NAACP said.
The study also shows that 65% — or two out of three — hotel industry employees work in the service sector and it is projected that its five largest occupations – food preparation and serving workers, janitors, waiters and waitresses, restaurant cooks, and housekeeping cleaners – will add more than one million jobs in the next 10 years.
African Americans comprise the largest percentage of travelers of color in the United States, according to the NAACP report, and while the hotel industry is largely staffed by workers of color, African Americans are not receiving equitable treatment.
“They overpopulate entry-level and lower-wage positions while being underrepresented in higher-level, more lucrative positions, such as that of general manager,” the NAACP report says.
“With economic inequality at its highest levels in recent decades, it is important that the hotel and lodging industry provide access to jobs with livable wages, long-term career possibilities and contract opportunities for minority owned businesses particularly in African American and other economically disenfranchised communities,” said Dedrick Muhammad, NAACP Senior Director of Economic Programs.
The study also recommends improving access to programs, opportunities and career paths in the hotel industry for people of color. Several organizations, like the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality and the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, are already advancing some of these initiatives, according to the NAACP.
“The report card should serve as both an eye opener and a tool to encourage the graded corporations to strengthen job creation and wealth building opportunities for disenfranchised minorities,” said Leonard James, National NAACP Board Member and Chair of the Economic Development Committee. “The NAACP looks forward to collaborating with these corporate leaders and diversity advocates over the next several years to advance industry inclusion, at all levels.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 12:52
Category: Breaking News Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Mr. Governor, why the change?
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has long maintained that right-to-work is divisive and that he doesn’t want what took place in Wisconsin, the famous battle between labor and the Republican administration of Gov. Scott Walker, to take place here in the Wolverine State.
But why has Gov. Snyder now reversed his earlier decision to go down a road that he has condemned as divisive and not helpful to bringing people together?
What kind of pressure was brought to bear on Snyder, a man I believe is independent, able to make decisions that are not politically toxic regardless of the kind of legislature he’s dealing with in Lansing?
In interviews during the campaign and after his election, Snyder told the press and journalists like myself who’ve sat down with him numerous times for interviews that he wants to stay clear of divisive politics. And yes, in politics your words matter.
And during the gubernatorial campaign, Snyder hardly ever engaged in inflamed rhetoric or right wing politics, maintaining a calm and moderate demeanor.
When former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and other GOP gubernatorial candidates were busy and proudly hanging out in Tea Party Express buses, Snyder was trying to convince independents that politics should not drive decision-making in Lansing. He lamented divisive politics in Lansing and stayed clear of things that would put him in the “same ol’ politician” column.
That moderate posture earned him the endorsement of Michigan’s most respected former Republican governor, Bill Milliken, the Republican who championed many moderate legislative initiatives including protecting the environment.
Of note was Milliken’s special relationship with former Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young, and Milliken talked about his relationship with Young anchored on mutual respect and trust at an event I attended at the Detroit Opera House that honored his legacy.
Thus the entrance of Snyder into the political fray with a moderate posture was welcoming by some and held with suspicion by others because he wasn’t running as an independent but, rather, under the Republican column.
Nevertheless, Snyder maintained an independent posture that he was his own man. He repeated many times in interviews that he was not driven by politics but the business of making Michigan a desirable place to do business and grow jobs. How he does that is up for debate.
And the governor’s moderate posture struck a chord with supporters and skeptics when he became the only Republican governor in the nation who refused to sign a letter to repeal the historic Affordable Health Care Law, the signature legislation of President Obama.
Again, Snyder’s moderate position gained another credit when he vetoed a package of bills that would have made it difficult for African Americans and other people of color to vote in the Nov. 6 general election by requiring photo ID at the polls.
But the governor’s sudden Damascus ephiphany in support of right-to-work is alarming after the divisiveness of the Wisconsin battle, including the waste of resources that were mounted to recall Gov. Walker.
Wisconsin attracted unwarranted attention from around the nation as a state that wasn’t inviting to workers.
Wisconsin knowingly earned the reputation as a hire-and-fire state, which sends out a chilling message.
The almost Armageddon-type battle we witnessed in Madison created such a negative image of Wisconsin that voters eventually fought back, giving that state to President Obama in the presidential election rather than Gov. Mitt Romney, despite the fact that his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, was from that state.
Has Wisconsin learned its lesson?
We hope so.
Labor has been an integral part of America’s industrial revolution and it continues to remain one of the lasting institutions in this democratic experience, fighting for better wages and better working conditions for the working class.
In other parts of the world, multinational corporations are running large factories and sweatshops in horrible conditions that are not even fit for people to work in. Yet their workers risk their lives every day to show up at those sweatshops and factories, earning little and working from dawn to dusk, making many of the clothes we wear.
Thank God for labor laws, that cannot happen here in the U.S. That is the essence of the philoshophy that gave birth to labor around the world.
Does labor have issues?
Of course and there are many.
Is labor complacent?
Sometimes it is and has not done enough to address the fact that the changing times demand new ways of doing business.
Yet we cannot nullify the basic principle that informed the founding of labor in exchange for fancy economic calculations and unproven results.
I have yet to see any strong and serious economic indicator that projects empirical data that says right-to-work will make a state like Michigan move forward economically.
In fact, the economy in Michigan is coming back, and Snyder is taking credit for the comeback. Why then push legislation that would fracture the working relationship between workers and their employers?
Just as businesses have chambers of commerce and people are free to become members of those chambers to advocate for their interests, so must working people have the option to become part of organized labor.
It is damaging to create legislation that stifles workers’ or business owners’ ability to become members of a chamber of commerce.
Some have suggested that Snyder is being used by a right wing legislature that’s bent on revenge for Obama’s re-election and the failed push in Michigan to have collective bargaining enshrined in the Constitution.
Collective bargaining rights got their roots and firm support during the administration of two former moderate Republican governors, George Romney and William Milliken. Why is Snyder taking a different path?
The buck stops with the governor and it is not beyond hope that he will listen to reasonable arguments.
The governor’s moderate reputation is on the line with the push for this kind of legislation. Added to this conundrum is a package of anti-abortion bills also making its way to the governor’s desk that would allow doctors to inject their belief in carrying out medical procedure as abortion.
That means any doctor can deny an abortion based on their religious conviction and an employer won’t be responsible for the cost.
The real victim here is birth control because the legislation is aimed at keeping birth control pills away from women.
Is Michigan becoming a theocracy or a democracy? Snyder owes voters an answer to this right-wing storm that has hit the state.
Will the next move by the right wing legislature in Lansing be to secede from the union now that Obama has won a second term?
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 11:42
Category: Breaking News Written by Minehaha Forman
Detroit city council on Tuesday narrowly voted to approve five key restructuring contracts necessary for the city to receive $30 million in state funds. The council also approved a controversial land sale of more than 1,500 city parcels to a private investor.
With growing likelihood of the instatement of an emergency financial manager, council members approved auditing and advisory contracts including a $300,000 contract with law firm Miller Canfield. The council also elected to explore pay cuts for non-union city hall staff.
After Tuesday’s votes all narrowly passing 5-4, Mayor Dave Bing appeared briefly before the council to thank the panel for approving the contracts and meeting the milestones of an agreement between the City and the State. Bing said he believed that with the right management choices the city could avoid an emergency financial manager.
“This is a good beginning,” Bing said in a statement. “Today’s action demonstrates the kind of cooperation between City Council and my Administration that will better serve the citizens of Detroit.”
But even with the Tuesday’s votes triggering the release of the $30 million in escrow money, State Treasurer Andy Dillon has already commissioned a 30-day review of city finances that could result in the appointment of an emergency financial manager under Public Act 72.
Tensions ran high at Tuesdays meeting as residents spoke before the council mostly in disapproval of a controversial land sale of approximately 140 acres on Detroit’s lower East side to Hantz Woodlands, a subsidiary of the Hantz Group, a financial services firm based in Southfield.
Councilman Ken Cockrel, Jr., who voted to approve the $600,000 land sale, said he didn’t understand why people were so passionate about the sale when other, more pressing, issues faced the city including the possibility of an emergency financial manager.
Councilwoman JoAnn Watson voted “No” on all of Tuesday’s contracts and said she believed they were illegal and a conflict of interest.
Hundreds of Detroit residents and activists gathered on Detroit’s East side to dispute the sale on Monday evening. Among them was Gail Elam who owns a home in the area of the sale.
“My main concern is that the property taxes will go up and drive me off of my property,” Elam said. “I think that the land should be developed but they should let more citizens buy the lots and buildings.”
Bing released a statement Tuesday applauding the massive land sale.
“Today’s City Council approval of the sale of city-owned land to Hantz Woodlands is in line with my vision of transforming portions of Detroit by taking vacant, underutilized land and putting it back into productive use,” Bing said.
The city council on Tuesday also approved contracts with accounting service provider Plante & Moran; a Worker’s Compensation fraud audit provided by Kessler International, and a dependent eligibility audit provided by Hewitt Associates.
Bing had warned that without the approval of the contracts and the corresponding release of state funds, he would have to fire as many as 500 workers and place others on unpaid furloughs in January.
Since the $30 million won’t stop the city’s cash gap, it is unclear whether the Bing Administration will continue to hash out details to implement unpaid furloughs and layoffs.
The city faces a short-term deficit of more than $200 million, one that is expected to double over the next year without deep restructuring of city services.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 10:47
Category: News Briefs Written by thehuffingtonpost
Two local artists had their dreams bulldozed over by the state of Michigan earlier this week.
Kristine Diven and Micho Detronik, who are involved with Detroit's District VII gallery space, purchased a home on the city's east side about a month ago through the Wayne County foreclosure auction. When they stopped by the home Thursday, however, they discovered it had been demolished.
Motor City Muckraker reports the house was one of an estimated 20 homes bought at the auction destroyed by the Michigan Land Bank, a state economic development organization. The blog cites an email from the Michigan Land Bank showing that Wayne County and the landbank are aware of the situation.
“Both MLB and the Treasurer’s office were aware of the potential overlap in advance of the auction, and have been reconciling lists,” it reads. “Many of the addresses were under contract and state permit prior to that second auction.”
Homes like Detronik and Diven's are not properties that are beyond repair, according to Motor City Muckraker.
Back in October, the Land Bank reached an agreement with the city of Detroit to demolish 12,000 private and city-owned properties, which allows for many of the demolitions to be fast-tracked.
Gov. Rick Snyder appoints members to the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority.
Detronik expressed his dismay about the situation in a Facebook post.
"Sad... we pulled together resources to get this house from the latest Detroit land auctions and had it swept out from underneath us without a warning," his post reads. "We are now organizing ourselves to help others that might be facing a similar demise."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 10:01
Category: Breaking News Written by Amanda Terkel, thehuffingtonpost
WASHINGTON -- While one of Michigan's biggest industries remains silent in public on the debate over so-called right-to-work legislation, privately they are worried about the impact it will have on its workforce, according to one of the figures closest to the automotive industry.
The Big Three automakers that fueled Detroit's growth -- Ford, General Motors and Chrysler -- are all maintaining a stance of "public neutrality," according to Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the auto industry's strongest ally in Congress.
"Although the Big 3 are maintaining public neutrality, they continue to highlight that this is a divisive issue and they are focused on other priorities that would promote Michigan's competitiveness at this critical time and support jobs and economic growth," said Dingell in a statement to The Huffington Post.
But in an interview on MSNBC on Tuesday, Dingell's wife, Debbie, said they were "privately and quietly" concerned about the legislation. Debbie is a consultant to the American Automobile Policy Council.
"The auto industry has made it very clear that they are neutral," she said. "I think privately and quietly, they are very concerned about whether this is divisive, and the timing of this. And they would rather see the governor and others focus on other things. Business has not wanted to be in the middle of this fight."
Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), later on MSNBC, offered a similar assessment: "When the governor says it's good for business, just ask the executives of the Big Three whether they want the turmoil within the workplace. The answer is, they don't."
The congressmen have spoken out against right to work and were part of the Democratic delegation that met with the governor on Monday to urge him to veto the bill.
Kevin Frasier, a Chrysler spokesman, said the company was not taking a position on the legislation and would not comment.
"At Ford, we are focused on working with all our partners, including the [United Auto Workers]," Ford said in a statement to the Detroit Free Press on Thursday. "We remain neutral on right-to-work legislation."
"Our position is: We're neutral," added GM spokesman Greg Martin.
Michigan is poised to become the 24th state with a right-to-work law on its books. Such laws forbid contracts between companies and unions that require all workers to pay the union for bargaining on their behalf. Although business groups and conservatives cast the issue in terms of workplace freedom, unions note that the laws allow workers to opt out of supporting the union although they reap the benefits of the collective bargaining. Because the laws tend to weaken unions generally, unions, as well as President Barack Obama, have called such legislation "right to work for less."
There are approximately 120,000 hourly and salaried workers represented by the UAW union in Detroit working for the three automakers.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is expected to sign right to work into law once it passes the legislature, arguing that it will help Michigan economically.
"This is about more and better jobs coming to Michigan, because a lot of companies do look at this as a major factor in their analysis. We'll then be more competitive as a state and that's good for all of us. It's good for workers and good for unions, because it gives them more of an opportunity to grow themselves," he told WWJ Newsradio 950.
Snyder's office did not return a request for comment for this story.
On Tuesday, the House passed one of the two bills needed to turn Michigan into a right-to-work state. Once it passes the second, the legislation will head to Snyder's desk.
Dave Jamieson contributed reporting.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 09:37
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit police tried, and failed, on Tuesday to throw a disgruntled citizen out of an emotionally charged City Council meeting.
Council members heard dozens of people speak out against two controversial issues that were before council for a vote.
Former Detroit School Board member Marie Thornton laid down on the floor of council chambers, successfully stopping police from removing her from them room.
Thornton wouldn’t stop talking out of turn during public comment, prompting a shouting match.
“Y’all are violating the Open Meeting Act for even putting her out! You can’t put nobody out of no meeting! … You don’t have to get out,” argued one man — as Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh interrupted, “Marie Thornton, I’m going to ask you to leave.”
After nearly five minutes Thornton got up off the floor and sat in a chair.
Detroit City Council later voted in 5-4 favor of business man John Hantz’s plans to plant hardwood trees on 140 acres near Van Dyke and Jefferson Ave.
Dozens of smaller urban farmers and residents of the area urged Council to vote no because Hantz is only paying $500,000 for the land.
Businesswoman Stephanie Watt said wasn’t given the same opportunity to buy up city property.
“And I think it’s unfair for Hantz farm to have such a hold on such a large area when I’ve been fighting to buy other parcels and lots over there for the last four years, and have been unsuccessful,” she said.
President Pro Tem Gary Brown said, however, it’s a good deal for the city. “Cleaning up the blight, paying taxes on the property — 22,000 parcels of property that currently no one is paying taxes on. (Hantz is) demolishing homes, paying a half-million-dollars for the property,: Brown said.
Also on Tuesday, council members voted to approve the Miller Canfield contract, which was required in a consent agreement with the state. (More on this here).
Tensions are high in the city as State Treasurer Andy Dillon conducts a 30-day review of Detroit’s financing, weighing the need for an emergency financial manager. Detroit’s budget deficit exceeds $200 million and Dillon says the city’s finances are eroding quicker than expected.
On Monday Detroit’s Financial Advisory Board said it seriously doubts that the city will be able to get through its cash crisis.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 10:49
Category: News Briefs Written by Matt Rousch, WWJ
AUBURN HILLS — A trip to the dentist becomes more like taking in a 3D movie matinée with the Cinema ProMed System, powered by the Carl Zeiss Cinemizer organic light-emitting diode screen.
The new system was launched Tuesday across the United States and Canada by Total 3D Solutions, based in Auburn Hills.
Total 3D Solutions is the North American distribution partner for the renowned international optics and optoelectronics company, Carl Zeiss Group, and has built the Cinema ProMed system around the new Zeiss OLED multimedia video glasses.
In the Cinema ProMed System, Total 3D Solutions has created a turn-key solution for the dental market, enabling dental offices the ability to offer patients a completely immersive 2D or 3D video experience while they are in the dental chair.
As many as 15 percent of Americans avoid going to the dentist because of fear and anxiety, according to a study funded by Colgate toothpaste. The Cinema ProMed System helps reduce anxiety by visually removing patients from the clinical surroundings and fully immersing them in a video.
“Cinema ProMed allows my patients to relax and be comfortable, which makes my job as a dentist much easier,” said Thane I. Ostroth, a dentist in Royal Oak. “I figured that the kids would like it, but one surprise is how many older patients really enjoy using it. The relaxing 3D videos seem to resonate well, and they can easily adjust the focus, since most of them wear glasses. The Cinemizer OLED is so small and lightweight that it isn’t an inconvenience at all.”
With a high-contrast display, lightweight design for easy set up and positioning, and personalized diopter settings to adjust focus individually for each patient, the Cinemizer OLED is the most affordable, high-quality set of 3D glasses of its type on the market.
Patients can watch an assortment of 2D or 3D video content may that include movies, TV shows, video games, informational programs provided by the dentist — or the patient can select their own favorites from an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch simply by plugging their own device into the Cinemizer OLED. It can also be easily connected to a PC, Mac, handheld touch device, Blu-ray player or standard DVD player. Total 3D Solutions supplies a list of suggested video content, offers free 3D relaxation videos, and supplies a free 30-day subscription to Netflix with the Cinema ProMed System.
“The Cinema ProMed System improves dental procedures for both the patient and the dentist,” said Dave Hodgson, principal of Total 3D Solutions. “The entertainment and distraction offered by the Cinema ProMed System quickly take the patient’s mind away from the stressful sights and sounds of the dentist office and virtually transport them to a place that is more calm and peaceful.”
The Cinema ProMed System comes with integrated Sony over-ear headphones that are easy to sanitize between patients, an Apple connector kit and an optional fourth-generation iPod Touch device for playing digital video.
Total 3D Solutions also packages the glasses with a charger, carrying and storage case, in-office promotional materials and staff training. The Cinema ProMed System is available from Total 3D Solutions in the U.S. and Canada at a price of $999. Total 3D Solutions offers full service and support to dealers and customers in North America.
For more information and to view a brief video describing the Cinema ProMed System, visit www.total3dsolutions.com/med.html.
A Michigan-based company, Total 3D Solutions has 15 years of experience in the fields of 3D video production and animation, app development, and immersive training solutions for the U.S. military and several large US corporations. In addition to immersive training solutions, Total 3D Solutions develops various applications and uses for the cinemizer OLED, such as controlling model aircraft via first-player view, a presentation tool for architects, a marketing tool for ad agencies and as a flexible viewfinder for photographers and film-makers. For more information, please visit www.total3dsolutions.com.
The Carl Zeiss Group has 24,000 employees and provides optics, optoelectronics, semiconductor manufacturing, industrial metrology, microscopy, medical technology, vision care and more. The company was founded in 1846 in Jena, Germany, and is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 09:26
Category: Breaking News Written by Ron Dewey, WWJ
(WWJ Photo/Kasey Stoddart)
DETROIT (WWJ) – Officials say motorists traveling from Michigan to Canada Wednesday should prepare for long delays at the border because of disorder over name tags.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said the disruption is being caused by officers at the international crossings “who question the health and safety implications of wearing a name tag on their uniform.”
As a result, several agents are refusing to work, which is causing backups for motorists.
Some drivers calling the WWJ Newsroom said they had been sitting in line at the Ambassador Bridge, inbound to Canada, for over two hours. Backups are also being reported at the Blue Huron Bridge between Port Huron and Sarnia, Ontario.
Independent trucker Jack Fehr of Leamington, Ontario says the two-hour delay means he’s losing money while standing still.
“We’re burning more fuel during the time and we’re not making any money because we get paid by the mile. So, we’re working longer days, burning more fuel, with less money in our pocket at the end of the day,” he said.
Customs and Immigration union president Jean-Pierre Fortin said earlier this month that the name tags expose border agents to “unnecessary risks.” The CBSA, however, says the name tags are in line with similar policies in place with other sectors of Canadian law enforcement whose frontline uniformed officers all wear identification.
Officials say the agents’ refusal to work is expected to cause delays at least through Wednesday morning.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 10:02
Category: Breaking News Written by The Huffington Post
The Michigan House approved a second right-to-work bill on Tuesday that would cover all private employees, by a vote of 58-52.
Republicans have asked for a reconsideration of the votes, which means final passage on the private sector bill, SB 116, before it reaches the Michigan Governor's desk, will most likely be delayed till tomorrow.
"It's a sad day for the middle class and the state of democracy in Michigan when legislation that harms workers is successfully rushed through the process without any hearings or debate," said House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (Mt. Morris Twp.) in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post.
"Despite repeated calls for hearings on this legislation, Republicans insisted on moving it through the Legislature as fast as they could. We are appalled by the continued assault on the standard of living of Michigan's working men and women."
Protesters and union supporters have gathered in the state capitol of Lansing to oppose the bills, shouting "shame on you" in the galleries and leading demonstrations on the grounds.
The House first passed a measure pertaining with public-sector employees by a vote of 58-51. Democrats tried to have the vote reconsidered but failed.
Michigan's Republicans hold majorities in both legislative houses – 64-46 in the House and 26-12 in the Senate.
The right-to-work legislation will deal a crippling blow to unions in Michigan, opponents say. The bills will allow employees to choose whether they pay union dues at businesses that are unionized. While supporters say that the bill will make Michigan more competitive to businesses looking to locate in the state, detractors suggest that unions will become defunded and suggest that employees' ability to negotiate with their employers will be lessened by the new legislation.
If the bills are signed into law, Michigan will be the 24th state in America to become a right-to-work state. Right now, the state says that 17.5% percent of the state's workers are unionized. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said he will sign both bills into law as early as Wednesday.
Snyder has reversed his earlier stance of discouraging Republicans from pushing for right-to-work laws and championed the bills during a press conference last week before Michigan lawmakers rammed the bills through the legislature for early votes on Thursday evening.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 09:37
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
LANSING (WWJ) - Michigan state troopers, some in riot gear, worked to maintain order Tuesday as thousands of pro-and anti-right-to-work protesters clashed at the Capitol.
State police talking to WWJ Newsradio 950 said several fights broke out. Two people were arrested when they tried to get into the George Romney Building, a state office building that was closed.
Reporting from the scene, WWJ’s Jeff Glibert said a neon-vested volunteer working to try to control the crowd got pepper-sprayed.
In a separate incident, a demonstrator was trampled by a police horse.
At least one person was taken from the Capitol lawn by ambulance.
What’s left of the Americans for Prosperity tent is seen on the Capitol lawn. (credit: WWJ/Mike Campbell)
WWJ’s Ron Dewey reported a tent set up by the pro-right-to-work group Americans for Prosperity was torn down and several people were trapped underneath.
“There were able to get out, from what I understand. But state police say the sheriff’s department on horseback came in to restore order, which seems to have been the case so far,” Dewey said.
No one was seriously hurt in that incident but Americans for Prosperity members were led off the grounds for their safety.
The group’s Scott Hagerstrom said they lost a lot of property.
“We’ll have to access the damage,” said Hagerstrom. “I don’t know where my computer is and everything that’s on there, but the most important thing is that I believe everyone is safe. Right now, I understand, one person … their teeth got loosened.”
These were some of the first signs of unrest at the Capitol as a massive day-long demonstration continued; this as the GOP-controlled House worked to approve the right-to-work measure.
In general, right-to-work laws prohibit requiring unions from collecting fees from non-union employees, which opponents say drains unions of money and weakens their ability to bargain for good wages and benefits. Supporters insist it would boost the economy and job creation.
Gov. Rick Snyder has pledged to sign the legislation, making Michigan the 24th right-to-work state.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 14:51
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!