In my 10 years of teaching at Eastern Michigan University, I’ve never before written a letter to an editor. However, two non-partisan issues on the upcoming Nov. 6 ballot compel me to overcome my reluctance and write now. These two issues will have a greater impact on your life and mine than who wins the U.S. Presidency. They are Proposal 2 on worker bargaining rights and the selection of three Michigan Supreme Court justices.
Some outrageous ads state Prop 2 protects sexual predators, but it actually helps maintain the hard-won bargaining rights of middle-class workers, union and non-union, in Michigan. Last year was my first time joining a union – the EMU lecturers union. But I fully respect my colleagues who, while benefiting from the union’s collective bargaining, have elected not to join. It’s their right.
Michigan’s conservative legislature is whittling away at current worker bargaining rights and, I suspect, intends to continue to do so until workers have no say in their working conditions – including for educators, class sizes or for police/firefighters; the safety of their duties. Many of us oppose this aggressive over-reach by (ill-informed) state authorities into our lives. A YES vote for Prop 2 will help deter this corporate-sponsored drive against our rights.
The passage of Prop 2 is necessary but insufficient to protect workers’ existing rights. In addition, we need a State Supreme Court that is willing to look fairly and impartially at ongoing legal challenges to civil rights including, but not limited to, worker bargaining rights. Today, the justices of our State Supreme Court are conservative and appear oriented toward helping Michigan’s big corporations. The election of three highly experienced candidates – Judge Connie Marie Kelly, professor Bridget McCormack and Judge Shelia Johnson – would give balance to this conservative-leaning court and help ensure the provisions of Prop 2 are protected.
Vote YES for Prop 2 and for Kelly, Johnson and McCormick for State Supreme Court. Our future depends on it.
Thomas Wagner, Lecturer
EMU Geography-Geology Department