Many residents of the 108th House District know better than most the challenges we face here in the Upper Peninsula and in Michigan period. Between propane prices, education funding, job stability and creation, and road funding the problems seem to keep adding up for us. So we must ask ourselves, what are our legislative representatives doing in Lansing to solve these ever growing problems? Our Michigan House of Representatives is running through a piece of legislation that would force judges to fine Michigan citizens $1,000 a day for peacefully picketing and standing up for hardworking people. This bill is unconstitutional in my opinion as this piece of legislation would violate people's rights to peacefully protest and it would hinder their right to free speech.
From the passage of the Emergency Manager Law despite it failing on the ballot and the passage of both the Right to Work Legislation and the Educational Achievement Authority this Republican controlled legislature has shown that they care more about hindering our rights rather then protecting them. Many would ask, how would this bill affect us here in the U.P.? Well, here in in the 108th House District we have many issues regarding peaceful picketing and worker's rights. From the hardworking people that educate our children who are fighting unfair contract concessions in Menominee, Iron Mountain and Escanaba. To the Michigan AFSCME Local 2755's fight against the Delta County Board of Commissioners for fair work practices and job stability. There are several issues regarding working people's rights here in the U.P. I have joined my friends in the local 2755 during all three of their peaceful pickets in front of the Delta County Building in Escanaba and am proud to stand with them. I have also joined the Menominee MEA in their fight and will join the Iron Mountain MEA in their fight as well.
Our legislators seem to not care about their struggle as they have decided to punish these hardworking people further by fining them for standing up for their rights in the workplace. Forcing these people to choose between standing up for themselves or face complete financial instability is only going to further complicate matters for us here in the 108th House District and in Michigan. It is time we elect representatives that actually stand up for our interests instead of special interest groups and their party's particular agenda. I think we can all agree it is time for a change and that change must begin in November.
Justin A. Zirkle (D)
108th House District