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In Michigan, Proposition Two is one of the most buzzed about topics on the ballot. Proposal Two would add the right to collective bargaining to Michigan’s Constitution and is hotly contested in the state. The proposal gives Michiganders “the rights to organize together to form, join, or assist labor organizations, and to bargain collectively with a public or private employer.”
Michigan’s economy has struggled for years, but is beginning to turn around under Governor Rick Snyder. Of course, the changes he has made have not made him friends many friends in the unions. For example, Snyder eliminated the practice by which teachers would be laid off based on seniority rather than performance and has asked that public sector workers chip in just 20% to cover healthcare.
He has argued that Proposal Two would move Michigan in the wrong direction. He said that, if Proposal Two passed, it “would be, by far, the most devastating to the reinvention of Michigan. We’re making a lot of tremendous progress, we’re the comeback state, and that would be a giant step backward in time.” Michigan can not afford to let that happen. There are also possible legal issues at stake. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said that the proposal would undermine up to 170 laws already on the books in Michigan “including many that keep Michigan kids safe at school like laws establishing minimum safety training standards for bus drivers and empowering school districts to immediately remove teachers from the classroom who have been caught under the influence or selling drugs at school.”
Unions say that collective bargaining is the only thing standing between workers and the loss of their potential for prosperity. However, the auto industry has proven that this is not the case. The best pathway to financial security is freedom. United Automobile Workers’ membership has been decreasing over the past decades, although it did come back a bit in 2011 with the auto bailout. Unions may be able to bargain for higher wages in the short term, but these companies end up losing market share leaving these workers out of a job entirely.
Voters in Michigan should research and vote carefully before enshrining this into their constitution.