Warning! Warning, Will Robinson!
Today, language for three different petition drives to add amendments to the Michigan constitution received the okay from the state elections panel. One would give home health care workers collective bargaining rights. Another would add specific phrases from the Declaration of Independence to the state Constitution. The third is the petition for the Protect Our Jobs campaign to enshrine protections for collective bargaining.
Approved was the proposal dubbed Protect Our Jobs, which was developed in response to legislative initiatives in the last year to curtail public employee unions and the perceived threat of passage of a right-to-work law. And another union-backed measure to give home health care workers collective bargaining rights. The third proposal would install passages from the Declaration of Independence in the state Constitution.
The language of all three received unanimous approval from the Board of State Canvassers, which is responsible for reviewing the form, but not the content, of ballot proposal petitions.
Each would need to collect the signatures of about 320,000 registered voters by July 9 to qualify for the November 6 ballot.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder warned unions not proceed:
Gov. Rick Snyder, who has tried repeatedly to discourage conservatives in his party from pursuing right-to-work legislation, now wants unions to back off pushing a ballot proposal that would make such a law unconstitutional.
Snyder said last week that he opposes both ideas for the same reason — they are too divisive.
The governor, now on a trade mission to Europe, said he has made preliminary overtures to union leaders, asking them to “reconsider and to have a dialogue” about a petition drive aimed at enshrining collective bargaining in the Michigan Constitution.
“My concern is that could start a whole divisive atmosphere of other people trying to put right-to-work on the ballot, a whole bunch of things like that, and that would distract from the good things we’ve got going on,” Snyder said.
Organizers from Protect Our Jobs are, of course, undeterred with spokesperson Zack Pohl saying, “That just underscores the need for it. We fully expect more attacks from Legislature politicians and corporate CEOs.”
Snyder’s claim that he doesn’t support such legislation is belied by the fact that he recently signed several anti-union pieces of legislation into law, impacting unionized teachers and graduate student research assistants.
Also, in another move that strengthens the hands of anti-union forces, Snyder appointed Mark Boonstra, chairman of the Washtenaw County Republican Committee to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Snyder hadn’t planned on filling this vacancy due to budget cuts but did so, according to WLAJ (ABC news) “at Republican lawmakers’ request.”
[Image credit: Chris Savage | Eclectablog]