11/05/2012 09:33 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Saving Michigan's Auto Industry And Michigan Families

Collective bargaining gives working families a voice to negotiate for fair wages, benefits and safer working conditions that benefit us all. That is why Proposal 2 to Protect Collective Bargaining is so important. It makes sure we keep our voice in the workplace.

This issue is a very personal one for me. I am a third-generation autoworker and collective bargaining has been an important part of my life at all stages. Not just for me, but for other family members as well. These roots run deep. Also, I am a military wife and I so understand what it means to have to fight to protect our rights. That is why I helped gather petition signatures on this issue and why I talk to just about everyone I can about it.

My family has been a part of the collective bargaining process for more years that I have been alive. And, frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Collective bargaining is not just what happens during negotiations, it is about an ongoing relationship between workers and employers. It is an open line of communication that leads to efficiencies and cost savings. It levels the playing field so that workers also share in a company's success, it is a vehicle that gives workers a voice and it helps make a safer workplace.

All those things are important, not just for workers and their families, but for the community.

Collective bargaining helped save Michigan's auto industry because employers and employees negotiated to lower costs for manufacturers, while also ensuring that Michigan factories stayed open and jobs were brought back from overseas.

As an auto worker, I saw this process first hand. Not so long ago, our industry was being written off as dead, but employers and employees sat down at the bargaining table and found ways to cut costs. These negotiations helped save our jobs, the auto companies have recovered and are hiring workers again.

Workers in the public sector use collective bargaining to negotiate for gear, staffing levels, training and other working conditions that make our communities safer. Collective bargaining gives firefighters and police officers a voice to negotiate for life-saving equipment, protects nurses that speak up about a patient's care and fights for smaller class sizes for teachers so they can better educate our kids.

Collective bargaining helps workers stay employed, giving them money to spend in their local business communities. Beauty salons and barber shops thrive, doctor and dentist offices stay open and the economic benefit also is felt at churches, synagogues and neighborhood corner stores.

For all of these reasons, I believe that collective bargaining is a fundamental right that we must preserve for future generations. It should be protected in our state's constitution. If we allow Lansing politicians and corporate special interests to have their way, we all lose.

Collective bargaining does not divide communities, it brings them together and helps keep them stable with decent wages and fair benefits. It helps strengthen our tax base to keep our libraries open. It affects so much. Without it, not only is my livelihood threatened, but my community suffers, too.

Communities in Michigan have suffered enough. Collective bargaining works and it is time we allow it to work for more Michiganders.

Proposal 2 gives them a chance to stand up for themselves. As a patriotic American, I know the value of this fight. This is definitely a basic right that I am fighting for. It is what Michigan's working families need to help drive this state and its economy.

In Michigan, the time is now to come together on this critical issue. Vote Yes on 2 to Protect Collective Bargaining on Nov. 6.