Labor, Michigan, unions — October 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Vote YES! on Michigan Proposal 2 – Preserve collective bargaining rights and protect working families


Stop the movement to crush labor unions

Fifth in a series on the ballot proposals on Michigan’s November 6, 2012 ballot. Read them all HERE.

I have written about Proposal 2 since it was first conceived under the banner of “Protect Our Jobs”. It later was renamed “Protect Working Families” in recognition of the fact that supporting the right of our labor brothers and sisters to bargain collectively for better wages, benefits and working conditions benefits ALL working families in our state.

The fact is Proposal 2 should not be necessary. It was only when the 2010 Republican tsunami rolled through our state, bringing with it a large number of anti-union extremists hell-bent on crushing our unions, especially public employee unions, that the need for constitutional protections of collective bargaining rights became paramount. From the day they took office, these Republicans have been on a march to make Michigan a so-called “Right to Work” (i.e., “Right to Work for Less”) state that benefits corporate interests at the expense of the middle class. They have passed extreme law after extreme law to slowly but very surely diminish the position of unionized employees with the not-so-subtle side benefit of reducing their support of Democrats in our state.

When you look at the opponents of Prop 2, it becomes very clear who is funding the opposition. The Koch brothers-supported Mackinac Center. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Business Leaders for Michigan. All pro-Big Business, anti-union interests. Today we learn that the anti-teacher group Students First is contributing a half million dollars to defeat Prop 2.

It’s a classic “follow the money” moment in our state.

Governor Rick Snyder is traveling the state, telling anyone who will listen to vote against Prop 2. It’s overreach, he says. It creates division, he says. We don’t need it, he says, while urging Republicans not to push for Right to Work. If Governor Snyder would go on the record saying he would veto Right to Work legislation, we might have something to talk about. But, the fact is, after repeatedly being asked about it, he refuses to say he would veto any such bills that came to his desk. If he were sincere about his desire to avoid this fight, he has had ample opportunity to do so but, so far, has refused.

This is why Proposal 2 is so necessary. Without it, as long as Republicans are in power, they will continue their incessant efforts to crush unions and union support in Michigan. It’s only by protecting collective bargaining in our constitution that we can stop them.

One final thing: there are some absolutely unbelievable ads being run against Proposal 2 suggesting that your children will be in danger and a whole host of other egregious lies. With the Students First windfall of a half million dollars, you can expect even more of these. They are deceitful and shameful and have been repeatedly debunked. Thankfully, money and negative ads can only take you so far. Proposal 2 proponents have a weapon that all the money and lies cannot overcome: grassroots feet on the ground. Working America, the Michigan UAW, the Michigan AFL-CIO, the Michigan Education Association and nearly every other labor group in the state have been knocking doors and phoning people to educate them about the need for this change. Person-to-person contact to have sincere and direct conversations with voters on this issue are going to ensure that it is successful.