The main battle cry of the anti-right-to-work protesters, meanwhile, had a common theme: wait for 2014. Many of the GOP seats, including Snyder’s, will be up for grabs during the midterm elections. Rather than attempt to recall Republicans, as Wisconsin Democrats tried and failed to do to Gov. Scott Walker, the Michigan unions are set to mobilize behind Democrats and pro-union Republicans in two years.
“What you did today is going to happen over the next two years,” said David Hecker, president of the American Federation of Teachers’ Michigan chapter. Teachers made up a large number of the protesters on Tuesday, and three schools in suburban Detroit were closed as a result of a teacher-led protest.
“Those legislators who voted for right to work,” Hecker added, “will know where we’ll be; they will know when we’ll be there; they will know what we’re going to do, but they’re going to be sorry at what they have decided to put themselves through the next two years.”
Labor unions have long been a strong political force in Michigan, skewing heavily toward Democrats. President Obama, who visited Detroit on Monday, won Michigan in 2008 and 2012 due in large part to overwhelming support from labor unions. No Republican presidential candidate has carried the state since George H.W. Bush in 1988.