Protesters converge on capitolPublished 11:12pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011
More than 2,000 union workers, many of whom were firefighters, converged on the Michigan Capitol’s rotunda Tuesday to protest bills that would appoint emergency financial managers to struggling cities and schools.
Their concern is that these financial managers could terminate or change union contracts and also strip elected officials — mayors, school board and council members — of power.
The Senate adjourned Tuesday without a vote; the House passed the bills two weeks ago.
State Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, a sponsor of bills SB153-158, said in a phone interview from the Capitol Tuesday that the bills, which are expected to pass today, do not make Michigan “the next Wisconsin.”
“I don’t believe that we are line to be the next Wisconsin, other than the concerns that people rightly have about the welfare of the local schools and municipalities,” Proos said.
In Proos’ district, the City of Benton Harbor currently has an emergency financial manager.
The Village of Three Oaks in Berrien County also had an emergency manager from December 2008 through February 2010.