Michigan is known for its automobiles -- and also for its residents' strong belief in preserving unions, passed down through generations of autoworkers in the Motor City.
Michigan's Proposal 2 aims to preserve the right to collectively bargain in the state constitution for both private and public sector employees. Supporters say that guaranteeing collective bargaining will protect workers' rights against employers in the future and also impede any right-to-work legislation that could be proposed in Michigan. The Protect Our Jobs initiative is backed by a coalition of unions, including the Michigan UAW, Michigan Education Association, AFL-CIO and the Michigan Democratic Party.
But opponents say that the legislation could roll back any labor law legislation made in the past 30 to 40 years -- which would set off a wave of legal battles in Michigan courts. They also say that union workers could receive "breathtaking" pension packages and benefits that would hurt Michigan business -- which opponents also note could have a devastating effect on the state's attempts to rebuild its manufacturing industry.
Here's the text that will appear on the ballot:
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION REGARDING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
This proposal would:
- Grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.
- Invalidate existing or future state or local laws that limit the ability to join unions and bargain collectively, and to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements, including employees’ financial support of their labor unions. Laws may be enacted to prohibit public employees from striking.
- Override state laws that regulate hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflict with collective bargaining agreements.
- Define “employer” as a person or entity employing one or more employees.
Should this proposal be approved?