Is it right to tie the civil rights movement to the fight for collective bargaining rights?

Saginaw / Jason Dubois

Protesters gathered around the country and here in mid-Michigan Monday for what they are calling, We Are One rallies.

The pro-union events come on the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The civil rights leader died in 1968 while supporting a sanitation workers TM strike.

If one of us is under attack, all of us are. If there is an injustice in one place, there is injustice everywhere, said protester Gracie Potts. It was the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

She is not a public worker, but came out to support the rights of public workers at the rally at North and Michigan, across from the Saginaw County Building.

Education was a hot topic at the event. Teachers unions across the state are voting on whether they approve of a work stoppage in protest of Republican Governor Rick Snyder TMs proposed cuts to education.

Protesters say they fear Michigan TMs new legislation allowing emergency financial managers to throw out contracts made in collective bargaining. They say the governor TMs proposed cuts of at least $470/student will put many school districts into emergency financial situations.

Certainly I think there are a lot of teachers who feel there are a lot of rights that could be going away right now, said Kevin Vieau, a teacher in Saginaw Township.

The realities are such in Michigan that we need to take a hard look at every area in which we can save money, said Michael Jahr, Vice President for communications at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland.

Jahr says protesters are not fighting for civi rights, but they are fighting reality. He says public workers are simply paid much more than our state can afford and measures need to be taken to change that.

'We're becoming a poor state, but we're paying our public sector wirers as though we are a wealthy state, said Jahr.

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