Collective bargaining supporters in Michigan appeal to Supreme Court


“There is no legal reason this ballot proposal should not be placed before voters on Nov. 6.”

Those are the words of legal expert Andrew Nickelhoff, commenting on the 2-2 deadlock decision August 15 by the Michigan Board of Canvassers, effectively not allowing citizens to vote on a ballot proposal to place collective bargaining rights in the state constitution.

The Michigan Education Association, which represents more than 157,000 teachers, faculty and education support staff throughout the state, questioned the role that Governor Rick Snyder and state attorney general Bill Schuette played in the board’s vote. Schuette, at the request of Snyder, issued an opinion two weeks ago that the collective bargaining proposal should be kept off the ballot. The board voted along party lines.

In a statement, MEA said:

It’s unfortunate that political motivation is working to silence the voices of nearly 700,000 voters who signed the Protect Our Jobs petitions. Those voters know the importance of collective bargaining when it comes to school employees and student success; to firefighters when it comes to saving lives; and to nurses when it comes to patient care. Too bad some politicians don’t.”

Protect Our Jobs, the volunteer-based coalition of nurses, teachers, firefighters, business owners and working people that collected the petitions, filed a motion with the State Supreme Court immediately following the Board of Canvassers’ vote.

“The State Supreme Court will now rule whether to allow a vote on the initiative and prevent corporate special interests from silencing the voice of Michigan voters,” said a Protect Our Jobs news release.

According to supporters, the Protect Our Jobs ballot proposal 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.

Follow Michigan educators and working families as they work to pass a constitutional amendment that protects the right of workers to collectively bargain. Receive EdVotes’ weekly email alert.

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