Labor union leader urges Snyder to ‘make the right choices’

Labor union leader urges Snyder to ‘make the right choices’

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(Credit: Michigan Building Trades) (Credit: Michigan Building Trades)
(WJBK) -

They are dating. They are working on getting along but marriage is not in the cards.

Welcome to the unusual and perplexing dance between Gov. Rick Snyder and organized labor.

Since the GOP governor was elected he has huddled about half a dozen times with labor leaders in what one terms as "an open door policy."

And Building Trades honcho Pat Devlin confesses, "I appreciate that relationship (because) when we don't talk, nothing will come out of it."

But so far labor has walked away from the table with a fat goose egg.

Devlin reveals some legislation has been "stalled" with others shoved to the "back burner" but on the biggies labor does not want, there's been no win.

But interestingly Mr. Devlin does not finger the governor.

While suggesting that "We've been at Holy War and I think the basic rights … enjoyed by labor have been under attack for a number of years," he doesn't think Mr. Snyder is the bad guy. 

Devlin accuses the GOP legislature. He is praying the governor will eventually stand up to those conservatives?

 "We've been on him about making the right choices," but Devlin, who is not attending his first political rodeo, respectively sees the governor's side.

"He's faced with trying to build his coalition and move his agenda forward and with that, sometimes I think he has to do things he might not necessarily agree with."

Or put more bluntly, the governor has held his nose and reluctantly given in to a bunch of Republicans who look and act just a tad more conservative than him.

And Mr. Devlin is not alone in reaching that conclusion as many in this town wonder when and if the governor will "blast the GOP."

Surely you jest. You will see no public blasting from this governor. But if you look closely you can see where he has asserted his will on the GOP. He privately sent word he would not back a 20 week ban on abortion and the provision was left out of an anti-abortion package on the House floor with no explanation given by anyone.

The civil rights community is hoping the governor will use his veto pen to nix what Republicans are calling "election reform" aimed at preventing voter fraud. The Detroit Baptist ministers give the governor an ear-full the other day claiming the package seeks to depress the minority vote.

Per usual, the governor won't say what he will do as he quietly reviews the bills.

While labor and the governor continue to court, the two have a serious spat over the union proposal to guarantee collective bargaining rights. It may appear on the November statewide ballot if he can stand the legal scrutiny of the state supreme court. Don't bet the farm on that.

In a rare and mild rebuke the governor observes, "Union leaders are sort of rolling back the clock on time." He frets that the war he's been trying to avoid between labor and business is now at hand although he adds, "I hope not … It's encouraging divisiveness instead of people working together," which is his mantra.

Mr. Devlin and others will continue to meet but he's hoping Mr. Snyder will tell the right wingers to take a hike.

"I would love to see it just one time. I haven't seen it yet. That would make my day. That's why I go to church as I pray for it. That day's coming."

Now who is the unrealistic optimist?

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