Traverse City Record-Eagle


December 1, 2012

Another View: Doesn't ensure right-to-work

Political conservatives in Michigan would be well advised to not take full credit for voters rejecting Proposal 2 in (last) month's statewide election.

The ballot issue, turned down by a 58 to 42 percent margin, would have amended the state constitution to guarantee the right to organize for the purpose of collective bargaining with both public and private employers.

Opponents, including Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, told The Associated Press that passage would have imposed rollbacks of state and local governments' ability to set employment terms and get budgets under control, wiping out some 170 laws and even invalidating other parts of the (state) Constitution.

Proposal 2 was opposed by most business groups and practically every newspaper in the state.

The non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which does not recommend how persons vote on proposals, noted approval could increase costs in a time of declining revenue for local and state governments. It also could have the "perverse effect" of increasing pressure on governments to move work to lower-cost, private-sector companies, the council concluded.

In essence, there was a solid majority of free-thinking, intelligent voters who decided on their own that Proposal 2 was not in the best interest of Michigan.

What we can't figure out is why groups like Michigan Freedom to Work see the vote as support for making Michigan a right-to-work state. Making matters worse, some have even threatened to oppose a second term for Gov. Rick Snyder if he dares veto right-to-work legislation, if and when it passes the House and Senate.

Such threats do nothing to help Snyder accomplish his primary goal: getting Michigan's economy back on track after years stuck in the Great Recession.

For his part, the governor remains convinced a right-to-work movement in Michigan would only add to the divisiveness between labor and management, including the public sector, which the governor has taken on to cut costs.

Speaking at a press conference the day after the election, Gov. Snyder said of right-to-work, "As a practical matter, I've said that was not on my agenda for the last three years, and I don't see any reason why I should change that approach."

Gov. Snyder has chosen his battles carefully since his election. A right-to-work push at this time would only broaden the political divide.

Conservative Republicans should listen.

-- The Oakland Press (Pontiac)

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