Michigan Will Vote on Collective Bargaining; Judge Orders Measure Writing Union Rights Into Constitution Onto the Ballot
Workers' right to collective bargaining came under attack around the country in 2011 and 2012, kicking off a fight that brought unions to the fore of the public consciousness in a way they hadn't been in years.
In Michigan, unions and union supporters decided to go on the offensive. Rather than waiting for Republicans to try to take collective bargaining away, they gathered signatures for a ballot initiative that would protect workers' rights to organize and bargain with their employers by putting those rights in the state constitution.
The state Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to that proposal today, ordering the issue onto November 6th's ballots for the people of the state to decide.
According toProtect Our Jobs, the coalition behind the amendment, it will:
- Establish the people’s rights to organize to form, join or assist unions and to bargain collectively with public or private employers regarding wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment.
- Prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees for exercising those rights.
- Prohibit State and local governments from interfering with those rights.
- Authorize the State to restrict or prohibit public employee strikes.
- Protect current laws establishing minimum wages, hours and working conditions.
- Prohibit government from interfering with agreements respecting employees’ financial support of their union.
- Grant State Civil Service employees’ collective bargaining rights.
The Chamber of Commerce's representative, Rich Studley, told the Detroit Free Press that the decision would be appealed.