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MI House Passes Anti-Union Bills to Prevent Picketing and Facilitate Hiring of Scabs

Rep. Gary Glenn, a staunch defender of...we're not exactly sure.

Rep. Gary Glenn, a staunch defender of…we’re not exactly sure.

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Elections have consequences, and Michigan workers are about to find that out the hard way.

The state House of Representatives has passed two bills that will make it harder for employees to picket and easier for employers to replace striking workers. Both bills passed along party lines, with Republicans supporting the anti-union efforts and Democrats opposing. HB 4643 and 4630 now move on to the state Senate, which is also controlled by Republicans:

One bill would increase fines against picketers to $1,000 per person per day of a picket and $10,000 per day for an organization or union involved in the picket that is deemed to be an illegal mass picket. That bill passed on a mostly party-line vote of 57-50.

The other would repeal a law that requires employers to include information about an ongoing strike when they advertise to hire employees who will replace existing, but striking employees at a company. That bill passed on a vote of 59-48 on a mostly party line vote.

The new legislation would make unions and individual picketers more vulnerable in the courts, while offering leverage to union-busting employers:

The proposal would allow employers or others affected by mass picketing to bring an action against demonstrators in their local circuit court. It also would lower the evidence threshold required for a court to order picketers to stop demonstrations.

[…] “This is a denial of due process,” [state Rep. Jim] Townsend (D) said. “What the law says now is you have to show irreparable harm, and that’s a significant standard you have to meet. And the reason we have that standard is because they’re not having a full trial.”

It is already a misdemeanor for strikers and demonstrators to block or obstruct another person’s pursuit of lawful work. Violators face up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.

For more on Michigan House Republicans’ lame-duck wheeling and dealing, check out our recent post on their new “democracy-proof” voter suppression bill.


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