Why bring this up now?
• The push by several other Midwest states to limit the rights of their citizens to collectively bargain, including Right-to-Work legislation.
o These states include Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio
• A push by politicians in Michigan to limit certain employment benefits, including the following:
o Outlawing employment benefits for same-sex partners of public workers
o Requiring government employees to contribute 20% of their own healthcare premiums
o Threats from certain Republican legislators to introduce Right-to-work (RTW) legislation; Gov. Rick Snyder has promised not to promote this.
• The idea was not a reaction to a specific proposal. It was a preemptive strike by labor unions to place collective bargaining in the Constitution. They supposedly fear Michigan even discussing becoming a RTW state.
*Citations for the above points from Haglund and Derringer
According to Rick Haglund, a correspondent from Bridge Magazine, collective bargaining rights are already expressed for certain sectors in Michigan's Constitution. He writes that, "Private and public sector workers already have collective bargaining rights in Michigan. Private sector bargaining is governed by the federal National Labor Relations Act. State civil service laws allow classified state civil service workers to collectively bargain with state government. And, noted the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, ‘Article XI, Section 5 of the Michigan Constitution provides state police troopers and sergeants with the constitutional right to collective bargaining. These are the only public employees in Michigan with constitutionally protected collective bargaining rights.'" (Haglund).
A Consensus of Editorials?
It is good to note that at the beginning of this section that two competing newspaper organizations, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News usually have competing viewpoints when it comes to traditional conservative and liberal causes. For instance, the Detroit News has endorsed Mitt Romney for President of the United States and the Detroit Free Press has endorsed Barack Obama.
On Proposal 2, the Detroit News has sided with opponents to the amendment. This was expected from political pundits, as this newspaper, as previously stated, is the conservative counterpart of the Free Press. The editorial says, "Proposal 2 doesn't protect collective bargaining". (The Detroit News Editorial).
In a surprise move, the Detroit Free Press has also sided with opponents of the amendment. The editorial lists the reasons why the paper opposes the amendment, citing the barriers to negotiation for all employers in the state and the wealth of litigation that would ensue if it does pass. They also go on to say that the rights that the proposal protects are already in state and federal law and that, "Michigan just can't afford those kinds of limitations in an era when debt from pension and health obligations to current and retired employees are pushing many local governments to the brink of insolvency." (Free Press Editorial)
What could occur if Proposal 2 Passes
The largest goal for most proponents of Proposal 2, according to many different sources is the blocking of Right-to-Work legislation. Again, Rick Haglund reports that opponent claim that passage, "would nullify 170 state laws and cost taxpayers as much as $1.6 billion a year by undoing Snyder administration reforms that have boosted Michigan's economic competitiveness" (Haglund).
Michael Reitz, Vice President of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, writes this in an editorial: "...[Proposal 2] is part of a national effort by organized labor to reverse a long decline in union membership. Union officials realize that if they cannot recruit members by offering a desired service, union power can only be preserved by enshrining a monopoly in the law" (Reitz).
Derringer, Nancy. "Genesis of Prop 2 Found in Right to Work Debate". 18 October 2012. Bridge Magazine. http://bridgemi.com/2012/10/genesis-of-prop-2-found-in-right-to-work-debate/?utm_source=constant+contact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=genesis+of+prop+2+found+in+right+to+work
Detroit Free Press Editorial. "Detroit Free Press Endorsements: Of the six state proposals, keep one, discard five". 21 October 2012. The Detroit Free Press. http://www.freep.com/article/20121021/OPINION01/310210022/Detroit-Free-Press-Endorsements-Of-the-six-statewide-ballot-proposals-keep-one-discard-five.
Detroit News Editorials. "Editorial: Vote No on Prop 2, worst of the bunch." 30 September 2012. The Detroit News. www.mackinac.org/archives/2012/093012DN-worst.pdf
Haglund, Rick. "Proposal 2 Highlights Labor-Business Divide". 18 October 2012. Bridge Magazine. http://bridgemi.com/2012/10/proposal-2-highlights-labor-business-divide/?utm_source=constant%2Bcontact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=prop%2B2%2Bhighlights%2Blabor%2Bbusiness%2Bdivide
Reitz, Michael. "What Would ‘Protect Our Jobs' Actually Do?" 7 September 2012. Michigan Capitol Confidential. http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/17491