Michigan labor leaders defend failed bargaining ballot initiative

Organized labor leaders in Mich. say they have no regrets despite failed push to pass Proposal 2

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DETROIT - Organized labor leaders in Michigan say they have no regrets about their unsuccessful push to add a guarantee of collective bargaining rights to the state constitution.

Union leaders and campaign strategists said Wednesday the ballot initiative known as Proposal 2 was rejected because its supporters were outspent by business-backed groups that ran ads sowing confusion about what the measure would do.

State AFL-CIO President Karla Swift says labor had no choice but to seek a constitutional amendment after the Republican-led Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder chipped away at their ability to negotiate fair wages and working conditions.

Steve Cook of the Michigan Education Association says opponents won through misleading and scurrilous attacks on teachers, including the claim that the proposal would abolish laws requiring criminal background checks for teachers.

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