by Félix Pérez
Game on! The Michigan Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that voters have the right to decide a ballot proposal this November that would enshrine collective bargaining in the state’s constitution.
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The court said the 700,000 teachers, nurses, police officers, firefighters and members of working families who signed petitions met every legal requirement for placing the proposal on the ballot.
“This is truly a victory for working families, union members and the voters of Michigan. There’s only one challenge left for us — getting out the vote in November,” said the Michigan Education Association, which represents more than 157,000 teachers, faculty and education support staff.
Protect Working Families, in a statement, said, “Today, the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously rejected a challenge from corporate special interests to block a vote on a proposal that preserves collective bargaining for working families.”
The ruling represents a significant loss for Governor Rick Snyder and State Attorney General Bill Schuette, who, along with business interests, have a led a high-profile campaign to derail the proposal.
The Supreme Court affirmed a ruling last month by the state Court of Appeals. The state Board of Canvassers, which had voted along party lines to keep the proposal off the ballot, is expected to certify the proposal tomorrow, the last day it can do so.
At stake, say ballot proponents, is the right of educators to advocate for smaller class sizes and better learning environments for students, nurses to negotiate for safer hospital conditions, and police to bargain for more effective patrols.