Bernero on Snyder and right to work

By Sam Inglot
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero at the Right to Work protest on Dec. 6 - Sam Inglot/City Pulse

‘He fails the test of leadership’

Wednesday, Dec. 12 — Gov. Rick Snyder “fails the test of leadership” by not standing up to members of his own party over right to work, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said today.

“I think it’s a terrible mistake in the governor’s career,” said Bernero, who was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for governor against Snyder, a Republican, in 2010. He spoke on the TV show “City Pulse Newsmakers.”

At a press conference Tuesday, Snyder said the push by unions to place collective bargaining rights into the Constitution through Proposal 2 in November was an “overreach” and that it began a dialog that culminated in the passage of RTW. Snyder also said RTW would bring “more and better jobs” to Michigan.

“As far as using Proposal 2 as an excuse, I find it very odd,” Bernero said.

It failed … for any variety of reasons.”

Right-to-work opponents and many media editorials have chastised Snyder for seemingly flip-flopping after he said repeatedly it wasn’t a priority for him and that it was “divisive” legislation.

Bernero said he takes Snyder’s word that it wasn’t on his agenda and that he was pressured into signing the law.

“In all honesty, I know some people think it was a maniacal plot and scheme of his from the beginning. I don’t believe that,” Bernero said. “I think he was pushed by elements from the right wing of his party, tea party-types, Koch brother-types, people were influenced by them.

“Proposal 2 offended the right wing, and now they want blood, and (Snyder’s) going to give it to them,” Bernero said. “And that’s where, I think, he fails the test of leadership. It pains me to say it, I don’t mean it as a personal slap but I wish he had the guts to say to his own party—‘No. That’s not right for Michigan. It’s going too far.”

Bernero said “one of the big tests of leadership” is being able to stand up to your own party. Standing up to the opposition doesn’t make as big of a statement.“Standing up to your supporters — that’s leadership,” Bernero said. “That’s being the leader of all of Michigan.”

The show first airs at 11 a.m. Sunday on Comcast Channel 16 in Lansing and at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on Comcast Channel 30 in Meridian Township. The show will be available at on Monday.