The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, September 14, 2012

Your attention please, to statewide ballot issues

By The Building Tradesman

The Protect Our Jobs/Protect Working Families issue isn’t the only proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot that will have an affect on working people.

There will be no less than six ballot proposals on the statewide ballot, and organized labor, to one degree or another, has had a keen interest in five of them.

Here’s what voters can expect to see (or not see) on the Nov. 6 ballot:

  • On Sept. 5, the Michigan Supreme Court cleared the way for the placement of the Protect Our Jobs ballot proposal on the statewide ballot (see article above).
  • On that day, the Supremes also approved a petition that could affect construction of a new Detroit River bridge. Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel Maroun undertook a petition effort to undermine plans by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Canadian government to build a new bridge. Maroun’s petition language would require statewide voter approval for any new international crossing.
  • The Supreme Court on Sept. 5 also approved placement of a third ballot issue, that, if approved by voters, would force the state Legislature into a two-thirds vote or else hold a statewide vote to increase taxes.

The only ballot issue that failed to pass legal muster with the Supreme Court was an amendment that would have opened the door for the construction of eight new casinos in the state.

Three other ballot issues had already been certified:

  • One is a referendum to retain the state’s emergency financial manager law, which is galling especially to public sector unions because it allows veritable dictators to abrogate local union contracts.
  • There’s also an amendment to require Michigan utilities to generate 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025 – a move opposed by the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council because it locks energy policy into the constitution. The state already has a 10 percent renewable energy requirement by 2015 for utilities.
  • The third proposal would protect the unionization of home health care workers.