Republican Congressmen and Senators in Michigan pushed new right-to-work laws through Thursday, despite protests from thousands of union supporters who had to be suppressed with pepper spray.

Right-to-Work laws will change the face of Michigan politics, as they prohibit private unions from requiring that employees pay fees.  Public sector unions other than police
and firemen are also covered.

The legislation is expected to be finalized Tuesday due to the rules requiring a five-day delay between the House and Senate vote.

GOP Governor Rick Snyder told reporters he would sign the measure, even though he has not been the one driving the right to work agenda.

“This is all about taking care of the hard-working workers in Michigan, being pro-worker and giving them freedom to make choices,” Snyder said. “The goal isn’t to divide Michigan, it is to bring Michigan together.”

Michigan is the latest state in the Midwest to adopt right-to-work laws, and the laws come after Michigan voters rejected several union-backed proposals in the November election.

Indiana and Wisconsin also recently adopted similar laws taking away union rights. Michigan GOP leaders decided to act after reports that about 90 companies have located in Indiana since they adopted right-to-work laws.

Due to the protests during House and Senate sessions, the Michigan Capitol building had to close for safety concerns. When a judge ordered them to reopen the building, an estimated 3500 union protesters stormed back in chanting “Whose house? Our house!”

House Democrats did walk out briefly Thursday in protest of the Capitol being closed. However, Republicans were still able to continue with proceedings as they have majorities in both the  House (64-46) and the Senate (26-12).

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