Traverse City Record-Eagle

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October 26, 2012

Forum: Proposal 2 protects paychecks

Tough times are nothing new for Michigan workers. We were first into The Great Recession, after all, and may be the last ones out.

But deep down we always believed that if we worked hard enough, everything would be OK in the end.

Tragically, that's no longer true for any Michigan worker. Corporate CEOs are making millions in salary and bonuses, yet the people who actually do the work have seen their wages and benefits cut.

That's why it's crucial that on Nov. 6 we all vote "yes" on Proposal 2.

To put it plainly, this election is about protecting our families and our paychecks. It's about deciding who is going to support workers — and who is working against us.

In the last two years, politicians on all levels have attacked working people. In Michigan, the Lansing politicians have taxed pensions, cut workers' comp, and hacked unemployment compensation from 26 to 20 weeks. They're also rolling back current laws that protect wages, hours and working conditions.

These attacks must stop.

We must protect working families by voting yes on Proposal 2, which would amend the state Constitution to protect collective bargaining.

As a local labor leader, people ask me all the time why non-union folks should support Prop 2.

It's because all Michigan workers benefit from strong collective bargaining when the wages, benefits, working conditions and safety procedures in union contracts become industry standards.

It's because all Michigan workers need protection from corporations that arbitrarily cut wages, benefits and pensions and ship jobs overseas just to squeeze out more profits.

And it's because all Michigan workers need to protect their families, their workplace rights — and their paychecks.

About the author: Brent Pilarski is business manager for Laborers' International Union of North America Local 1098, which represents more than 1,000 workers and retirees in 30 counties in central, western and northern Michigan.

About the forum: The forum is a periodic column of opinion written by Record-Eagle readers in their areas of interest or expertise. Submissions of 500 words or less may be made by emailing letters@record-eagle.com. Please include biographical information and a photo.

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