Each day union employees at the Chrysler LLC Trenton Engine Plant take a break from the daily grind to shop and eat near the plant at Fort Street and Van Horn Road.
In the process of grabbing lunch or filling up the tank, these employees contribute to the local economy, but Gabe Solano said this could soon be a thing of the past.
Solano, president of the United Auto Workers Local 372 in Trenton, said, if passed, "right-to-work" legislation could have a negative impact on the local economy, including local restaurants.
"Chrysler workers have been good for this community and this community has been good for Chrysler workers," Solano said.
"Right-to-work" legislation was introduced in the state Capitol today by Gov. Rick Snyder in Lansing, according to the Detroit Free Press.
"There has never been a better time in history for people to stand arm-and-arm and fight back the assault on the middle class," Solano said.
Solano said "right-to-work" legislation would make it impossible for people wishing to pursue a career in the automotive industry to make enough money to pay for a middle class lifestyle. He said the auto industry could become similar to major retailers like Walmart, which traditionally have relatively low entry-level wages.
"There are people working at Walmart who are currently on welfare," Solano said. "How can you care for your family on $9 an hour. Those that do, my hat goes off to them."
Solano called the new legislation a "shot back" at the union by Republicans for putting proposal 2 on the ballot in November. Proposal 2 asked voters to amend the Michigan Constitution to address collective bargaining rights, which would have granted public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.
Hundreds of union members and liberal activists stood inside and outside the Capitol Wednesday in protest, as Gov. Rick Snyder and GOP legislative leaders announced fast-track plans to make Michigan the nation’s 24th right-to-work state, according to the Detroit Free Press.