That title is intended to make it easy for you to remember to vote NO! on the two most dangerous proposals on the Michigan ballot. If you do nothing else, remember: NO! 2 4.
You will bring your own opinon about the present day contribution of public-sector unions to this post, and will probably leave with that unchanged. However, the world has changed and the response of the public sector union elite has been unconscionable. They have decided exploitation is fine, as long as it’s taxpayers being exploited. That’s Proposal 2; To enshrine collective bargaining rights in Michigan’s Constitution.
For better or worse it’s been decades since the UAW had to strike. The Pinkertons haven’t busted a strike, or a head, in nearly a century. Nine year olds haven’t been forced to work 7 day-a-week, 18 hour shifts in coal mines since before Dickens’ wrote about it. In any case, none of those memes apply to any government workers in this country today. And they never did.
Here’s a fact that does apply: It has been 70 years since Big Labor and Big Government denounced the idea of public sector union collective bargaining. Proposal 2 runs counter to the considered opinion of that champion of collective bargaining and creator of the New Deal, President Franklin Roosevelt. On August 16, 1937 he wrote to Mr. Luther C. Steward, President, National Federation of Federal Employees, as follows:
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
Even the labor movement considered the idea of public employee collective bargaining an idiotic idea. George Meany, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O had this to say in 1955: “It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.” He meant that collective bargaining with the government was like two wolves and a sheep debating on the dinner entrée. “Bargaining,” as it is commonly understood, involves two parties discussing their differences. It does not mean two parties deciding how a third party should be exploited.
Public sector union collective bargaining has brought us the highest cost for education in the world along with less than mediocre results. Despite the economic conditions in this country, and despite the fact that 40% of Chicago high school graduates are functionally illiterate, the teachers in Chicago just got a 17% increase in pay: As a result of a strike FDR would have considered illegal and immoral.
The consequences of collective bargaining with government are bankrupting Illinois and California due to skyrocketing pension and retiree health insurance costs.
Since 2002, for every $1-an-hour pay increase, public employees have gotten $1.17 in new benefits; private-sector workers, meanwhile, have received just 58 cents in added benefits.
We know the financial impact of Proposal 2 would be huge, but what about changes to existing law? As the MEA has noted, Proposal 2’s Amendment to Michigan’s Constitution could effectively repeal many laws, unexceptional in the private sector, regarding employment:
The new prohibited bargaining topics created by 2011 PA 103 and included in Section 15(3) of PERA would NO LONGER exist. This law currently prohibits bargaining over the decision or impact concerning the following subjects:
a. The placement of teachers;
b. Personnel decisions for teachers during a reduction in force, recall or hiring after a reduction in force, as set forth in MCL 380.1248;
c. Teacher evaluation systems, including the format, timing or number of classroom observations, as set forth in MCL 380.1249 and in the Teachers’ Tenure Act.
d. Teacher discipline policies, which may NOT include a standard different than the arbitrary and capricious standard; and
e. Performance-based compensation systems for teachers, as set forth in MCL 380.1250
f. Notification to parents and legal guardians that children are being taught by ineffective teachers, as required by MCL 380.1249a.
Wow. And that’s just the MEA’s early analysis.
There is, in fact, no way to be sure about all the laws which would be retroactively repealed. The audacity of this power grab by the public sector union elite is matched only by its venality.
Proposal 2 would have us place collective bargaining rights in the Michigan Constitution. This is a pre-emptive strike by public sector unions, notably the SEIU and MEA, to prevent right-to-work legislation ever being passed in Michigan.
If Michigan wants to emulate the financial basket cases in Sacramento and Springfield we should put this fiscal time bomb into our Constitution. If we want to roll the dice on what laws the MEA wants repealed we should vote for it. Me? I’d rather we didn’t make the whole state into Detroit. A vehement NO!! on Proposal 2.
With Proposal 4, we have yet another example of public sector union greed and corruption. Proposal 4 is an attempt to Constitutionalize Jennifer Granholm’s stealth gift of $30 million to the SEIU. The SEIU dearly wants to re-institute the dues Granholm helped it loot from private citizens who had no interest in SEIU “representation.”
The SEIU wants to perpetuate a fake union in order to skim dues from government payments to individuals who provide home care for their own relatives. To grab this money, SEIU is willing to reduce the funds available for care by extracting dues from self-employed citizens who don’t want to be SEIU members. “They didn’t build that,” so the SEIU must be paid. This is the best argument for a right to work law we’ll see any time soon.
While the MEA is circulating ideas that Proposal 2 would overturn prohibited bargaining topics created by PA 103, such as teacher discipline, Proposal 4 requires background checks on people providing care for their own relatives. Those checks will initially be vetted by SEIU appointees. This amendment is designed to accomplish two things: 1-Restraint of trade in order to 2- fill the coffers of a corrupt and venal union. NO!! on Proposal 4.