MI Court of Appeals Rules Collective Bargaining Bill Will Be on Nov. Ballot

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that voters will decide the fate of an amendment aimed at protecting collective bargaining rights come November. Predictably, opponents of the ballot initiative, led by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, have vowed to take the issue to the Michigan Supreme Court.

The appeals court rejected a challenge to the proposal which claimed the law was too sweeping and affected too many laws. But nearly 600,000 Michigan voters had signed petitions to get the “Protect Our Jobs Amendment” on the ballot, signaling its ubiquitous appeal.

A decision is needed soon if the proposal is to remain on the ballot in November. The Detroit News reported that Andrew Nickelhoff, attorney for the Protect Our Jobs Initiative, asked the State Supreme court to bypass the Court of Appeals, but that motion was denied.

Another hurdle will be gaining approval from the Board of Canvassers on the formal, 100-word statement that will appear on the ballot. Opponents are demanding that all laws being changed as a result of the Protect Our Jobs Amendment be listed in the description, an impossible feat given the number of laws this initiative would impact.

According to the Protect Our Jobs website, the amendment will do the following for Michigan workers:

-Establish the people’s rights to organize to form, join or assist unions and to bargain collectively with public or private employers regarding wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment.
-Prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees for exercising those rights.
-Prohibit State and local governments from interfering with those rights.
-Authorize the State to restrict or prohibit public employee strikes.
-Protect current laws establishing minimum wages, hours and working conditions.
-Prohibit government from interfering with agreements respecting employees’ financial support of their union.
-Grant State Civil Service employees’ collective bargaining rights.

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