Breaking down Michigan's Proposal 2 which would uphold collective bargaining

Unions say Proposal 2 is protecting rights, opposition say it is overreach which will cost Michigan taxpayers

Author: Rod Meloni, Local 4 Business Editor, @RodMeloni
Published On: Oct 16 2012 05:31:20 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 16 2012 06:12:54 PM EDT
LIVONIA, Mich. -

Michigan's Proposal 2 is the one with the most controversial ads.

Proposal 2, if supported by voters, would grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.

It also would invalidate existing or future state and local laws which limit the ability to join unions and bargain collectively, and to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements including employees' financial support of their labor unions.

Laws may be enacted to prohibit public employees from striking.

Michael Hendricks, of Protect Working Families, says it's a simple question of preserving union rights.

Related: Breaking down Michigan's Proposal 1

"Collective bargaining is especially important to firefighters because our gear is our lifeline," Hendricks said. "We need to be able to negotiate for the right gear to do our job effectively and be safe."

There is sizeable opposition which proclaims the question is union overreach.

"This will cause $1.6 billion in increased costs for tax payers," said Stu Sandler, of Citizens Protecting Our Constitution. "This will abrogate in part or in whole 170 laws, according to the Attorney General's office."

Sandler said attracting new business to Michigan will become all but impossible if Proposal 2 passes. Meanwhile, the unions are saying Michigan is the cradle of the union movement and politicians are attacking their rights. They say Proposal 2 is a way to fight against that.