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Latest News - November 2012

November 7, 2012
Union leaders say Proposal 2 failure opens doors for Right-to-Work legislation
By: Kathryn Lynch Morin

Michigan voters on Tuesday turned down the six proposals that faced them on the ballot, including union-backed Proposal 2.

The proposal, which would have put collective bargaining protection into the Michigan Constitution, was voted down by a 58-42 percent margin, with 2,523,065 'No' votes, and 1,813,732 'Yes' votes.

Mike Laczka, president of UAW Local 362 which represents more than 400 people, including workers at General Motors Powertrain in Bay City, visiting nurses from McLaren Bay Region, and other health care workers, said the failure of Proposal 2 opens the doors for a stronger push to make Michigan a 'Right-to-Work' state.

State leaders, including Gov. Rick Snyder, have called the 'Right-to-Work' issue divisive.

"I see more laws being passed to impact not only only the public sector but private sector unions as well," Laczka said.

He worries that the legislature could start to pick apart collective bargaining rights, enacting laws that limit bargaining for things like health care.

"Out of all the proposals, I feel Proposal 2 had the most right to be in the state's constitution," Laczka said.

Protecting Michigan Taxpayers, the group that opposed Proposal 2, said it's passing would have reversed more than "170 common sense laws and reforms, costing taxpayers at least $1.6 billion a year, and jeopardizing Michigan’s economic comeback."

Protect Working Families, the coalition supporting Proposal 2, said despite the failure of the proposal, Michigan voters do support collective bargaining.

"Corporate special interests spent $32 million lying to voters to confuse them, saying Proposal 2 was not about collective bargaining," said spokeswoman Sara Wallenfang. "Working people will continue the fight to ensure a voice for fair wages, benefits and safe working conditions that benefit us all."

Teachers and the Michigan Education Association were among Proposal 2's key supporters.

Peter Tyson, economics and government teacher at Heritage High School and president of the 277-member Saginaw Township Community Schools teachers’ union, said Proposal 2's failure is disappointing.

“It doesn’t really change a whole lot going forward because nothing, none of our current laws changed as a result of Proposal 2 not going through,” he said. “All of our current laws are still in place, so from that perspective it’s status quo as of this morning.”

Tyson said high spending and negative ads from the other side had him casting his doubts on whether Michigan voters would approve the ballot proposal.

"So, I mean, when you spend the kind of money that the other side spent to defeat it," he said. "I guess you can’t be real surprised in the morning when you wake up and it didn't pass.”

Even though the proposal wasn't passed, Tyson said this won’t change what teachers do in the classroom.

“We’re going to continue to work hard and we’ll continue to do the best we can to educate kids and I don’t think Proposal 2 will change any of that,” Tyson said.



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