Michigan residents will be voting whether or not to approve Proposal 2, the so-called Protect Our Jobs amendment, on the Nov. 6 ballot. Proposal 2 would add the right to collectively bargain, for both public and private sector employees, to the state constitution.
The proposal would also invalidate existing or future state or local laws limiting the ability to join unions, bargain collectivly, negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements and collect union dues.
Proposal 2 also has the potential to override state laws regulating hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflict with collective bargaining agreements. It will also legally define “employer” as a person or entity employing one or more employees.
The campaign for Proposal 2 has been fairly successful, as the Protect Our Jobs ballot committee has reportedly raised over $8 million for the efforts of getting the initiative approved.
The money raised for Proposal 2 was mostly donated by unions, including the Michigan United Auto Workers, Michigan Education Association, We Are The People–Michigan, Michigan Nurses Association, Lecturers’ Employee Organization, Michigan branch of the American Federation of Teachers, Michigan State AFL-CIO, Michigan State Utility Workers Council, National Education Association, Progress Michigan and the Michigan Democratic Party.
The Protect Our Jobs campaign advocates for collective bargaining to help level the playing field for employees, so they can beneﬁt from a company’s success. Proposal 2 activists said that the initiative will prevent companies from abruptly firing employees, and that collective bargaining helped save Michigan’s auto industry by keeping Michigan factories open and securing thousands of in-state jobs.
There are four other states that already have constitutional protection for collective bargaining: Hawaii, New Jersey, Florida and Missouri. Collective bargaining allows workers and employers to negotiate a fair agreement on working conditions, benefits and wages.
Advocates for Proposal 2 said eliminating collective bargaining will make it harder to negotiate fair wages and benefits for union members and non-union members alike.
EMU health administration major Blake Navarre said because of the recession, people have not necessarily been worried about whether or not they are being paid what they deserve.
“They are just worried about getting paid at all,” Navarre said. “This proposal will help those who directly impact our society such as teachers and nurses and will allow them to fight for benefits and higher wages.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, eight of the 12 states with the highest unemployment rates are states with right-to-work laws. The Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit and non-partisan think tank, said states with higher levels of collective bargaining have lower poverty levels, higher average incomes, fewer workplace deaths, better educational outcomes and more pension and health insurance coverage for workers.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder came out against the ballot measure during the signature gathering process, asking that supporters back off on their petition drive. Snyder has also discouraged his own party from pursuing “right-to-work” legislation.
In a September press release, Snyder said, “I am a supporter of collective bargaining, but Proposal 2 would amend our constitution to change the way bargaining would work in our state. It could lead to unlimited wage increases and early retirements with lavish pensions – all at the taxpayers’ expense. It rolls back Michigan labor laws made over the last 30 or 40 years. This proposal should be called the ‘Back in Time’ amendment. It would seriously harm Michigan’s ability to keep moving forward.”
Also against Proposal 2 is Rep. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, a proponent of right-to-work legislation. He called the initiative a “union-boss ballot initiative [that] would be horrible for businesses.”
The anti-Proposal 2 campaign also said the amendment would repeal the law enabling school employees to be docked a day’s pay when they illegally strike, and would undo the reforms requiring government employees to contribute more to their health care and retirement benefits. It also could repeal the law prohibiting those with criminal records from serving as officers for unions in Michigan’s casinos.
According to the Protecting Michigan Taxpayers website, there are more organizations against Proposal 2 than for it. Opponents of the proposal include the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, Business Leaders for Michigan, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association, Michigan Manufacturers Association, Michigan School Business Officials, Michigan Sheriffs’ Association and the Small Business Association of Michigan.
The anti-Proposal 2 campaign said, “This constitutional hijacking scheme codifies the unfair practice of forcing Michiganders to join and finance unions. Just as no one should be forbidden from joining a union, Michigan workers should not be forced to join a union or pay dues to a political organization they do not support – and this proposal would make that a constitutional mandate for many Michiganders.”
The Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution committee did not raise as much as the Pro-Proposal 2 campaign, but they still raised $340,150.
A September poll conducted by EPIC-MRA, a full-service survey research firm, found 48 percent were in support of the measure, while 43 percent were opposed and 9 percent were undecided. The poll was based on 600 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
I'm 5'10 and 130 lbs yet all nearly all of their clothes ...
They mean "revenue enhancement zones" cause that's ...