Pro-union amendments fail in Michigan

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Chris Woodward (

A conservative columnist and political commentator is hoping that labor bosses will learn their lesson following a resounding defeat this month in Michigan.

Proposal 4, an effort to classify home healthcare workers as public employees, was defeated 57% to 43% by voters in the Great Lakes State.

Fred Wszolek of the Workforce Fairness Institute says fortunately the initiative failed, even though the language for the amendment was misleading.

Wszolek, Fred (Workforce Fairness Institute)"It was very deceptive. It said the purpose was to create a registry of home healthcare workers, guarantee good training and guarantee criminal background checks," he explains.

"That sounds like, Well, who could be against that? The proposal was sponsored by the Service Employees International Union and would force these 40,000 home healthcare workers into the union and force them to pay dues, even though they are all private contractors."

The Service Employees International Union spent at least $5.5 million on the campaign. While the home healthcare workers would have been considered state employees, it would have only been for the purpose of collective bargaining. They would not have been eligible for a state pension or other benefits. Meanwhile, the workers would have seen 2.5-2.7% of their payment deducted by the state and sent to the union as dues.

"We think it's such a black eye for labor bosses that maybe they will learn their lesson," he remarks.

Other groups that were opposed to Prop. 4 include Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution.

Another ballot initiative known as Proposition 2 also failed in this election. According to the language presented on the ballot, Prop. 2 would have granted public and private employees the constitutional right in Michigan to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions, invalidating existing or future state or local laws that limit the ability to join unions and bargain collectively.

In addition, Prop. 2 would have opened the way for the ability to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements, including employees' financial support of their labor unions. Prop. 2 would have also overridden state laws that regulate hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflict with collective bargaining agreements.

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