Governor and Legislature vs. Government Employee Unions
By F. Vincent Vernuccio
Michigan’s economy has been weakening for years as the Big Three auto companies hemorrhaged jobs and manufacturing fled to more business-friendly states. Locals joked, “Will the last one to leave Michigan please turn out the lights?” But in November 2010 the Republican victory tide brought new promises to fix the state’s finances and revive the economy. Republican Rick Snyder defeated his Democratic rival by a large margin (58-40%) to succeed Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm, and Republicans gained 21 seats to capture control (63-47) of the state House while retaining the Senate by a 26-12 margin. The battle in Michigan between government sector labor unions and a new generation of political leaders has not received as much mainstream media coverage as the tumultuous events in Wisconsin. And Governor Rick Snyder is not yet a conservative YouTube internet sensation like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. But lawmakers in Lansing are weakening the power of Big Labor in a state that is a legendary union stronghold. And public sector unions are pulling out all the stops to protect their privileges.
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