Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, together with the state's Republican legislature, has passed a bill allowing the governor to dissolve the elected governments of Michigan's towns and cities, and replace them with "emergency financial managers" who can cut services, merge or eliminate school boards, and lay off unionized public employees without recourse. All the governor has to do to justify such action is to proclaim a “financial emergency.” There are no limits to the salaries of these “managers” and they will be given a free hand to govern as they see fit, without any accountability to voters or residents. Republican senator Jack Brandenburg, a supporter the bill, called it "financial martial law."
The actions in Lansing and Madison so appalled film maker Michael Moore that he blathered incoherently to Rachel Maddow, “This isn’t the country I live in.”
This move will make it much easier to impose corporate CEOs at the helm of cities and school boards and thus facilitate the creation of more private charter schools, as well as general union busting measures. The provision that allows the managers to fire public employees is an end-run around collective bargaining and other worker protections that have been bargained into their contracts, and will likely lead to PACTCO like attacks on Michigan’s public workers. Detroit already has a financial manager, Robert Bobb, who has been joyfully ripping Detroit Public Schools asunder, helping to shutter half of them and raise class sizes to 60.
Hundreds of pro-union demonstrators filled the Capital in Lansing on Tuesday. Their chanting was so loud that it disrupted the legislature. Over 1,000 also demonstrated outside the Capital, including firefighters, teachers, steel workers, and other unionists.