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Posted on Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

Right-to-work protesters hope to get through to governor via Christmas carols

By John Counts


A group of about 35 people gathered outside Gov. Rick Snyder's Superior Township's gated community to sing carols in a peaceful protest to right-to-work legislation.

Daniel Brenner |

About 35 opponents of the right-to-work legislation gathered outside Gov. Rick Snyder's gated community near Ann Arbor Monday at 5:30 p.m.

They didn't shout. They didn't chant.

Instead, they sang.

The group sang Christmas carols and other holiday songs in a peaceful effort to try and get the governor's attention before he signs the legislation into law.

The right-to-work legislation, which has garnered national attention, would allow union members to not be required to pay dues.

The group sang "Jingle Bells," "Joy to the World" and a customized version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" with children learning, auto workers welding, police protecting, shoppers shopping, teachers teaching, families eating and firefighters saving replacing the traditional lyrics.

Two deputies from the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office watched the event from afar. A Michigan State Police patrol car was also near the scene. But the protest didn't end in arrests like the rally in Lansing last week There were also no other groups in favor of the legislation at Monday night's protest.


Protesters braved the cold on Geddes Road Monday evening to sing Christmas carols and other holiday songs in protest of right-to-work legislation. Gov. Rick Snyder has a home in the gated community nearby.

Daniel Brenner |

After singing for an hour at the entrance of the gated community where Snyder has a home, the carolers, including many children, got into their vehicles parked alongside Geddes Road and went home.

The protest was intended to be peaceful, organizers said.

"We're concerned about the rushed process that this right-to-work legislation has followed," said Dave Kreisman, spokesperson for We Are Michigan, the group that organized the event. "With no public insight, with no public discourse. We thought that it being the holiday season we would come out here with the holiday spirit and sing carols. Hopefully he hears us and doesn't become the Rick that stole Christmas."

Solomon James, a stay-at-home dad from Ann Arbor, came out to give Snyder a message. He took offense that the legislation was introduced to a lame duck legislature.

"It's not the will of the people that's being done," he said.

James was raised in a union family in Oregon. His dad was a custodian at a community college.

“It was his involvement in unions that allowed our family to have a wage we could (live) on,” he said. “And they gave him retirement.”

James’ father-in-law, who worked for General Motors, was in the UAW. He doesn’t think his dad or his father-in-law would have been able to prosper had there been right-to-work legislation in place.

“You're going to have people freeloading on the system and unions won’t be able to exist,” he said.

James said he knows at least five young professionals in their late 20s and early 30s who are poised to leave Michigan if or when the legislation is passed.

“Those are not the types of people you want to be leaving,” he said.

Lora Rosenbaum, who owns an Ann Arbor yoga studio, came out to sing at the corner of Geddes Road and Valleyview Drive in Superior Township because she supported the failed Proposal 2, which would have made collective bargaining part of the state constitution.

“I knew that was a breeding ground for Michigan to become a right-to-work state,” said the mother of three children. “I’m really concerned it’s happening as quickly as it is.”

Rosenbaum’s grandfather was a steel worker in Pittsburgh and helped organize the first unions there.

“I’ve head stories from him about what it was like before unions were organized,” she said. “I heard about what it was like after. It influenced me a great deal.”

Greg Pratt, a lecturer in social work at the University of Michigan, said the legislation is divisive, just as Snyder pointed out a year ago. He said the legislation would affect him as a union member.

“My rights to bargaining … would be greatly diminished in years to come,” he said. “What kind of lives will the kids coming up in my neighborhood have?” John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Talk about brainwashing, the leftist will resort to anything, poor kids need to protest for union beliefs, bah humbug.


Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 4:50 a.m.

How did all that caroling work out for you, unions?

John Counts

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

Hi Paul Kersey, When I spoke with Kreisman at this event, all he told me he was with the We Are Michigan organization and that a group of Ann Arbor residents had come to him with the idea and his group helped pull it together. I asked the people I interviewed where they were from and included the information they gave me in the story. The additional information is appreciated.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

The comments in this discussion are very cynical, disturbing, hateful, etc. What evidence do you guys have that employers won't look out for there own self interests and pay people as little as they can, leading to most of the community living on pay that is below the poverty level? If in fact you think its ok to have most of the community living below the poverty level your not looking out for your own self interest since this has been tried over years and doesn't create a very stable or enjoyable community. Take a look at Guatemala for example. Reality is we create a high quality of life by working hard together as a community not as individuals. If there is problem with a lack of jobs in Michigan it starts with the "employers" sending all the jobs over seas. It starts with employers creating the culture in which at times union rules and pay get in the way of quality and efficiency, eg. kids getting the best education possible without wasteful spending. It starts with a lack of creativity and leadership to develop sustainable employment(ie. selling stuff that people want to buy) here in Michigan with realistic working conditions, pay, and benefits. These are decisions and choices made by management. What I've witnessed in my years of working at General Motors and Ford is a lot of self serving decisions and choices by management for short term gain, and a whole lot of crappy products that no one wanted to buy, followed by a mad dash to out source to Mexico and China. Rick Snyder's decisions and choices do have real consequences on our community. For example his redistribution of the wealth to "employers" has resulted in a loss of quality for my kids education with class sizes that have increased 30% over the last two years. Lets get beyond 2 party BS politics and focus on real problems and long term and verified solutions to those problems. Come on people!


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

Oh, and John Counts... The word Governor, like the word President, should always be capitalized. Having the word "g"overnor in the headline shows a lack of respect and bias on your part.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Wrong. The title is capitalized only if attached to a name (e.g. Governor Snyder or President Obama). Otherwise it is lower case (e.g., The governor has said he will sign the bill). But I'm interested to know: are you going to be the civility police when numerous of the conservative posters on this site refer to the president as "Barry"?


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.



Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Now it's Michibama


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

Protesting outside the Governor's home...or even community inappropriate. Sure, it was gentle protesting in the guise of Christmas Caroling. But, it was still protesting. And it is not the first time the Governor's home has been the target of protests. The State Capitol, the Governor's office, even events that the Governor attends are proper venues for peaceful protests. But, there is an inherent danger in taking protests to the homes and families of those being protested. Our society appears to be rapidly decaying into the lowest level of rabble.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Agree 100%


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

It's outrageous that some school districts have had to close due to the number of teachers calling in sick. Sick days are for being sick. These teachers should be disciplined.

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

It clarifies the need for this legislation. When you're in a union, to have the right to go to Lansing and NOT work.

Tracy Pratt

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Let me show you my shocked look ahhhhh! People know how the Republican Party is And all the Union People out there that voted to have a Dominating Republican House and Senate along with a Republican Governor. Did they all vote this way so they can have something to complain about. Face it! It's time to face up to the consequences of the way they voted. No buddy like's it but we are stuck with it . Even after they took all the money away from the schools. they still did not change it .

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

"Greg Pratt, a lecturer in social work at the University of Michigan ..... 'My rights to bargaining … would be greatly diminished in years to come," Your rights to bargain are intact. You go into your employer's office and talk with them. You discuss what you want, what they want, and come to an agreement. If you don't like the agreement, you go find another employer. If no employer wants you to do the work you do under the terms you insist upon, then you are insisting on too much or your skills are not in demand at the moment. Go get educated in the advances within your line of work or maybe even a different line of work that is in demand. Take responsibility for yourself and your career skills and advancement, instead of asking somebody else (a union) to do it for you. Grow up. "What kind of lives will the kids coming up in my neighborhood have?"' The will have free lives.

Tracy Pratt

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

You forget that the Union made the work place a safe place . I know they don't do much but help people that should be fire in most cases today. But how long till we are back to working in unsafe working environments again because safety cost to much.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

What I want to know...if union's are so bad and evil....why are police and fire exempt from right to work. The fact you have to exempt "good unions" tells me that this is BAD legislature


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

Obamacare was debated for months and months....not rammed through at lightening speed

Paul Kersey

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Fire and police are exempt due to political expediency. We learned hardball politics from your party (D) and it's time we start deploying the same tactics that got Obamacare passed and Obama re-elected. Be careful what you wish for. You ARE going to get it!

Paul Kersey

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 8:54 a.m.

And it gets worse... the "stay at home dad" is a HOME SCHOOLING guy! No union public education for HIS kids! So here we have the classic astroturf protest; put on the front pages of as if it's a real event. Created by a Madison WI far left union agitator and attended to by the "usual suspects". Classic! You can't make this stuff up, folks!

Paul Kersey

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 8:28 a.m.

Just an FYI for your readers, the head of this group is from Wisconsin, not Michigan. He's an outside union agitator.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

Thanks, interesting that wasn't in the article.

kindred spirit

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 6:52 a.m.

Who are these people. I'd love to join them and sing as well!

Paul Kersey

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 8:05 a.m.

We call them "saps". In other words, "Obama's base". Uninformed dummies.

Paul Kersey

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 6:17 a.m.

I guess these clowns like democracy only when they win. They lost. Get over it. And why are they against freedom? Why should people be compelled to support one political party (D) as a condition of employment? Why should people be compelled to join a political organization that they disagree with as a condition of employment? Right to work is basic; inalienable and fundamental. I guess those on the left are only for "choice" when it involves killing an innocent fetus out of convenience; not when it comes to people choosing who to associate with politically or financially!

Seasoned Cit

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:24 a.m.

I wonder if Mr.King, the Union Boss who tried to shove an amendment into the State's Constitution will be there leading the Carols. All his Union members can thank him and the $ he spent with Proposal #2 for giving the Republicans good reason to pass Right to Choose legislation. If Democrats are so insistent that women should be able to decide when it comes to ending a life, I don't see why they should get all worked up when someone wants to say that people should be able to decide if they want someone to represent them in a Union. I can think of a lot of homecare "workers" who have been milked for dues for a Union that has not done anything for them !


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:04 a.m.

So a small group of Ann Arbor residents got together and peacefully sang Christmas carols at the Governor's subdivision gate....knowing full well that their singing won't change legislation, but stood out there anyway and sang carols. It is pretty sad to read nasty, cynical comments about a few carollers. Even if you don't agree with their political position (as I don't) and wouldn't be thrilled to have groups of people show up at your subdivision gate to protest (that is getting pretty old over here at Geddes Glen), getting nasty and cynical over a few people singing a few carols is a waste of energy. Bah humbug!


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

But they're not singing to promote Christmas well being, they're doing it to anger someone. It's not noble. If they want to sing for love and peace, that's cool, but that's not what they're doing.

John Counts

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

Hi Paul Kersey, When I spoke with Kreisman at this event, all he told me he was with the We Are Michigan organization and that a group of Ann Arbor residents had come to him with the idea and his group helped pull it together. I asked the people I interviewed where they were from and included the information they gave me in the story. The additional information is appreciated.

Paul Kersey

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

They aren't Ann Arbor residents. The leader is from Madison Wisconsin and he's a professional photographer and near full time left wing agitator/activist. The "dad" is from Ypsi and is a home school guy. The lady runs that yoga studio in town but the rest are just props and kids. An astroturf event if there ever was one. If they were on my property, I'd get the hose out. First.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.

The clerk, in letting Snyder's nephew out, had let two other people in. They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood, with their hats off, in Snyder's office. They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him. "Snyder and Engler, I believe," said one of the gentlemen, referring to his list. "Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Snyder, or Mr. Engler?" "Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years," Snyder replied. "He died seven years ago, this very night." "We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner," said the gentleman, presenting his credentials. At the ominous word "liberality," Snyder frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back. "At this festive season of the year, Mr. Snyder," said the gentleman, "hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir." "Are there no prisons?" asked Snyder. "Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again. "And the workhouses?" demanded Snyder. "Are they still in operation?" "They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not." "The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?" said Snyder. "Both very busy, sir." "Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Snyder. "I'm very glad to hear it." "A few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink and means of warmth. What shall I put you down for?" "Nothing!" Snyder replied. "You wish to be anonymous?" "I wish to be left alone," said Snyder. "I help to support the establishments I have mentioned -- they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there." "Many can't go there; and many would rather die." "If the


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

Can't believe how much time was wasted with this "clever" comment, lol


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 10:49 a.m.

I love the part where jennifers ghost appears berating little Rick for trying to clean up her droppings's very touching

kindred spirit

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 6:59 a.m.

Bless you, Mr. Dickens. Many a year has your insight guided people to do the humane thing. Somewhere along the line the wealthiest decided that having it all wasn't enough. Having a content middle class is best for the country. We need to change legislation regarding corporations so that the employees have representation on boards. Too much focus on profit at the cost of people's lives.

Michael Bow

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:31 a.m.

Also notice how the "article" only gives random personal stories about how the right is attacking unions, but never talks about how the right is doing so. That is because even realizes how ridiculous it's been to FORCE people to join a union and FORCE them to pay dues for just getting a job. Joining a union should be a choice, if the union is good, everyone will join and pay dues.

John Counts

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

Hi Michael Bow, This story of this particular event is just one of many and has covered in reference to this issue. For a roundup of all of our coverage, check out:


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

BHarding how different is taking wages, and hours, that the union has bargained for than taking my money and giving political causes I do not agree with? Or my taxes going to welfare to people who keep having children they can not afford to feed? I will agree with you are right taking something for nothing is wrong but it happens very day but with right to work I will decide if I want to do it or not.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

You can choose to not join the union in your workplace, and not pay dues, but the union is still legally obligated to represent you if you've been wronged, and of course you'll receive the better wages, and hours, that the union has bargained for. The union is still there for you by law. And not supporting it, just taking the union support is wrong, in my opinion. You don't even have to defend yourself against unfair labor practices. Imagine defending defending yourself in a wrongful discharge case.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

Lonnie, please tell me more about being able to opt out of a union in Michigan? I have never heard of this before.

Michael Bow

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 11:03 a.m.

Your wrong Lonnie. By increasing jobs this will help the middle class. Obama and the unions have a war on people working hard.

Lonnie Scott

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:02 a.m.

Then opt out...which is currently allowed under Michigan law. These laws require unions to still represent those who don't "choose" to be in the union. It is just a way for people to not pay the dues but still get the same representation. Another attack on the middle class, by taking away their power little by little and giving it to the Corporations. I bet you didn't have an issue raising taxes on seniors by taxing their pensions to pay for $1.8 Billion tax break for business either...

Michael Bow

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:25 a.m.

There seems to be a lot of mis-informed people on here. The only thing that happened, is Unions can no longer force employees to pay a union fee and can no longer force employees who don't support a union to join the union. It's done nothing to those who like unions. You like your union, join it and pay the fee. Why have unions been able to force people to pay for them, when they disagree with them. God bless republicans.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

If unions are so great, then they should have nothing to worry about when they can no longer force fees.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

sh1, and how many union members who have for years been forced to join who now choose to opt out of the union?


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

You are one of the uninformed. Employees would still be in the union and covered by all the union benefits. They just wouldn't pay into it, so they'd be supported by others who do pay. You know, just like welfare. Or socialism.

Speedy Squirrel

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

The so-called right to work legislation has nothing to do with creating jobs. This model for this legislation was drafted at the Republican governors conference by vulture capitalists, and is not in response to any desire from Michigan workers, only 17% of whom are in a union. There are jobs, and then there are jobs that pay a living wage. Always remember that. We are not in a race to the bottom in Michigan. We still manufacture things designed and built here, by corporations that are headquartered here. I appreciate this Dickensian effort to shame the Governor into doing the right thing, but years of greed have created a class of super scrooges that even this heartfelt effort cannot reach.

Paul Kersey

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 8:04 a.m.

You union people have bankrupt our cities, states, and the federal government. You have destroyed the steel, textile, and auto industries. You have caused massive outsourcing on an unprecedented scale. You have destroyed public education in this nation. This modest and reasonable legislation is WAY overdue. We're tired of you thugs and your thug tactics. It's time to move "forward" away from your tired, stale, and obsolete 1920's communist rhetoric. It's time for a CHANGE so that this state can have HOPE!


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:08 a.m.

Well at least Ann Arbor Schools won't be closed because of a "sick out" tomorrow like Warren and Taylor schools. Oh, and dragging a kid to this is pathetic.

Paul Kersey

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

The selfish and greedy MEA/NEA don't care about the kids. Just their pay and their bennies. No wonder our nation is so far behind other nations in education (and they spend a fraction of what WE do!).


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

Macabre, teachers who take a day off and leave their students with a sub should be fired? You may get your way with ridiculous policies such as this one.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 6:11 a.m.

If only we had a school system with integrity, so that any teacher who left her students without instruction for the day (and make no mistake about it, any day with a substitute means one less day of the lesson plan they need) just to make a political statement was fired for cause. But I'm sure they'll look the other way, because if there's one thing I've seen from our new superintendent, it's that she and integrity are not on a first-name basis.

Ricardo Queso

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:12 a.m.

Don't speak so soon. My child will have a substitute tomorrow as her teacher will be at the rally in Lansing.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:43 a.m.

Anyone against this should go online and check where business and employment is thriving and see if the majority of those states are RTW states or union states. I do not see a big threat to unions with this law, only a chance to create more jobs, which is what Michigan needs. We lost so many people that Michigan lost an electoral vote. Those people did not move because of the weather, they moved for jobs. Also, if it does not work, what is the problem? If it works it will mean more jobs. I would rather be employed in an non union job than be unemployed with a union card in my wallet. I have worked in two union jobs and neither was a good experience. If you are a good employee and have a good boss, you do not need a union. That is the key, a good boss.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 4:04 a.m.

Mick52, really? States like Mississippi, South Carolina and Louisiana have right to work. Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut, and New York don't. There's no connection between right to work and a strong economy.

Michael Bow

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:23 a.m.

Remember, what they've changed is the mandatory fee that unions charge to work at a location. They've done nothing to the Union itself.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:24 a.m.

towncryer.....When I saw the photo my first thought was " nice job dragging a kid into this.Like that's something a kid should be worried about "

Michigan Man

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

A social worker, yoga type and stay at home dad leading the effort to stop Governor Synder? Got a good laugh out of this story.

Paul Kersey

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 8:02 a.m.

I agree. You can't make this stuff up!

Michael Bow

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

They call this news!


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

If this crowd turned up outside my house in this weather to sing carols, I would spray them with a hose.

Paul Kersey

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 8:01 a.m.

Water Cannons would be more appropriate. At least those lefties would get a much needed bath.

Michael Bow

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:34 a.m.

The left has made videos showing members urinating on cartoons of President Bush. I wonder how the media would take it if you did the same to these jokers (cartoons of them).

Frank D

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to spread some holiday cheer.

Michael Bow

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:21 a.m.

Yes, the stay at home dad took a lot of time out of his busy schedule. What's it to him again?

Ricardo Queso

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

Another "Camp Hey Look at Me" crowd.

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:34 a.m.

Wow, 35 people. I don't know why they brought a "Don't hurt working families" sign because that has nothing to do with this.

Michael Bow

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:21 a.m.

and look at the national attention they got. Biased media?

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:33 a.m.

Go get him..

Michael Bow

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:20 a.m.

Make sure you include your home address so that those who don't agree with you can protest on your lawn.