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A pro-union demonstrator pickets outside the Wisconsin Statehouse in Madison in 2011.

Furthermore …


Unions looking for boost in Michigan

Organized labor in Michigan seems to have taken a look at its neighbors and decided a pre-emptive strike on union-busting is in order. A referendum on Michigan ballots next month – Proposal 2 – would write collective bargaining rights into the state constitution and invalidate all laws restricting those rights.

The proposal has unleashed a barrage of political ads on both sides, with a group called “Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution and Protecting Michigan Taxpayers” claiming that Proposal 2 could eliminate safety rules for school bus drivers and prohibit schools from removing employees with criminal records.

But the latest poll shows not all voters are buying the claims: 48 percent favor the measure and 43 percent are opposed.

Gov. Rick Snyder has maintained a better relationship with unions in Michigan than Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker or Ohio Gov. John Kasich, according to a spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, but he hasn’t challenged the legislature’s most strident voices on anti-labor legislation.

Snyder has been vocal in discouraging lawmakers from pushing a right-to-work law, as was successfully done in Indiana this year.

“That doesn’t necessarily offer solace to the public-sector unions who think that the conservatives in the legislature could still fiddle around with right to work,” Craig Ruff, a public policy consultant, told the Pew Center on the States.

“They also surmise that a future Republican governor could be far more likely to tackle right to work than the current one. They want something that will have lasting power.”