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November election on minds of Detroit Labor Day parade marchers

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Steve Carmody
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Michigan Radio

Thousands of union workers marched down Michigan Avenue today as part of Detroit’s annual Labor Day parade.

Just as the parade was getting started, a heavy downpour drenched the marchers as they stepped off from Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Street.

But the crowd’s passions remained enflamed by speeches from state union leaders, like SEIU president Marge Robinson, who attacked Governor Rick Snyder for signing Right to Work legislation.

“You all were with me then in Lansing, when in the dead of the night, the governor signed the bill that was attacking each and every one of us,” said Robinson. “I say we’ve waited too long. We’ve waited too long to strike back. Brothers and sisters, in November we can strike back and put Snyder in the unemployment line.”

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Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
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Michigan Radio
“I say we’ve waited too long. We’ve waited too long to strike back. Brothers and sisters in November we can strike back and put Snyder in the unemployment line," says SEIU state president Marge Robinson

Snyder signed Right to Work into law late in 2013.   The effect of the law is still unclear.  Most union contracts in the state will remain in effect until next year.  After that, Right to Work backers hope to see an exodus of members from the union ranks. 

Several Democratic Party candidates at the parade pledged to fight to repeal the Right to Work law, if they win in November.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.