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After a morning of speeches in which Republicans told a series of bare-faced lies about what the anti-union bill they were speeding to passage would do, while Democrats talked about reality, democracy, and actual working people, the bill, which affects public employees, passed by a vote of 58 to 51, with six Republicans joining Democrats in opposition. Protesters chanted "shame on you" and booed as the vote was announced.

Republicans had no choice but to ram this bill through now. In January, they won't have the votes, as a result of November's elections. So they took advantage of a lame duck session in which, thanks to term limits, many of the legislators voting on this bill will not again face their own voters. Republican messaging was all about "freedom," but the bill was written with an appropriation attached to deny voters the freedom to repeal it. Republican messaging was about uniting people, but more than 12,000 protesters and police with riot gear and tear gas showed how divisive the bill is.

As Democratic Rep. Shanelle Jackson quoted Martin Luther King, Jr.:

"In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as 'right to work.' It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. It is supported by Southern segregationists who are trying to keep us from achieving our civil rights and our right of equal job opportunity. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone ... Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote."
The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder, who is expected to sign it quickly. A separate bill will apply to private sector workers.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:08 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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