MARQUETTE - Police said eight people protesting Michigan's recent shift to a right-to-work state were arrested in Marquette Wednesday, after refusing to leave Gov. Rick Snyder's office at closing time.
According to the Michigan State Police, 10 protesters entered the governor's Marquette office at about 3 p.m.
After being informed that they would be unable to have a phone conversation with Snyder, the group talked with Dave Nyberg, director of the governor's Northern Michigan Office.
A pair of protesters takes part in a demonstration outside Gov. Rick Snyder’s Marquette office Wednesday. Police said eight of the protesters, who were showing opposition to right-to-work legislation signed earlier this week by Snyder, were arrested Wednesday after refusing to leave the office when it closed. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
"We had a conversation," Nyberg said. "They asked a number of questions about freedom-to-work legislation and I answered them to the best of my ability."
Nyberg said that when he arrived shortly after 4 p.m., police were already in the office with the demonstrators. He said that shortly after 5 p.m., he informed the protesters that the office was closing and encouraged them to write down any concerns they had.
"At that point, I was told they were not planning on leaving until they heard from the governor," he said.
Police said that when the individuals were informed they would be arrested if they stayed, two left. The eight protesters that remained were arrested for trespassing on state property.
The state's Republican-controlled Legislature on Tuesday - despite the protestations of thousands who descended on the state capitol - approved right-to-work measures making it illegal to require workers to pay fees to unions for negotiating wage contracts and other services. Snyder signed the bills into law shortly thereafter and the protests spread across the state.
In recent months, Snyder said repeatedly that right-to-work legislation was not on his agenda.
Similar protests were also scheduled Wednesday in Lansing, Detroit, Saginaw, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.
According to police, the eight people arrested in Marquette were issued citations and later released on personal recognizance bonds.
They reportedly cooperated throughout the process and are set to appear in Marquette County District Court Monday.
The state's new right-to-work laws will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns this month.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.