AFL-CIO members and their supporters began streaming into downtown Lansing early this morning for a rally at the First Methodist Church. Today is normally their political action day, where members visit legislators but today was different.
School teacher and Democratic Congressional candidate Lance Enderle borrowed a page from Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian Google exec, whose Facebook page “We are all Khaled Said” is credited with sparking the protests in Cairo, by using a Facebook page named Lansing Rally for Workers and the Middle Class at the Capitol to protest Governor Rick Snyder’s budget plans and other Republican bills headed into the hopper.
Part of the union workers renewed fervor comes from watching what is happening in Wisconsin, where new Republican Governor Scott Walker seems intent on stripping public sector union workers of their collective bargaining rights, no matter how many other concessions they make. Another concern is the wage and benefit concessions on the agenda here, as well as the proposed Emergency Financial Managers bill that would allow the state to take over municipalities in financial trouble, thereby giving them the right to rip up agreements with public-sector employees in the communities.
“We have to show the legislators we’re serious,” said Enderle. “I am happy to see more and more people showing their support.”