Friday, October 5, 2012

Proposal 2: Questions and Answers

Question: What is the Protect Working Families campaign about?
Answer: The campaign is fighting to protect Michigan’s working families from corporate special interests who want to eliminate their voice to collectively bargain for fair wages, benefits and working conditions that are good for us all.

Question: Why is collective bargaining important?
Answer: Collective bargaining helps level the playing field for employees so that CEOs aren’t the only ones benefitting from a company’s success. Corporate bosses make millions while the people who actually do the work have seen their wages cut.

Question: Will Proposal 2 send jobs out of Michigan?
Answer: No.  This initiative will prevent CEO’s from arbitrarily firing workers. Collective bargaining creates a two way street that benefits both sides. It helped save Michigan’s auto industry because employers and employees negotiated to lower costs for manufacturers, while also ensuring that Michigan factories stayed open and jobs were brought back from overseas.

Question: Will Proposal 2 force people to join a union?
Answer: Collective bargaining means workers and employers decide what is needed and negotiate a fair agreement. No one is forced to join a union. That’s illegal. However, eliminating collective bargaining will make it harder to negotiate for fair wages and benefits – for union members and non-union members alike. Collective bargaining gives all workers a voice. That’s fair for everyone.

Answer: Attorney General Bill Schuette and corporate special interests are using scare tactics and lies which have been rejected by the Supreme Court when they tried to keep people from voting on the amendment.  The Truth Squad has exposed their lies about student safety in schools. Their claims have also been rejected by law enforcement professionals from across the state.

Question: I have seen ads making accusations that if Proposal 2 passes, it will undo regulations regarding teacher conduct with students; that it would allow teachers accused of having sex with a student to continue teaching?
Answer: That is a lie. It is a criminal act for a teacher to have sexual relations with a student. Proposal 2 would not change that. What Proposal 2 does protect is collective bargaining. Teachers use collective bargaining to fight for small class sizes to better educate our children, the time needed to complete ongoing training required by law and a say on policies that impact their students.

Question: Will Proposal 2 allow public workers to pay less of their premiums than they do now for their healthcare?
Answer: If Proposal 2 passes, the amount of the premiums that public workers would pay for healthcare would be negotiated. Contracts were in place for these workers and the Legislature chose to ignore them. Proposal 2 prevents an end run by corporate special interests and Lansing politicians.

Question: Will Proposal 2 supersede Public Act 312?
Answer: No. Public Act 312 establishes a binding arbitration process for police officers and firefighters. Proposal 2 would not change PA 312 because arbitration is an entirely different process than bargaining. Maintaining well-staffed, well-equipped public safety services requires both collective bargaining rights and arbitration.

Question: I understand the need for collective bargaining. But do we have to change the constitution? Aren’t there other options?
Answer: The constitution is the place where fundamental rights reside, rights that should not be subjected to the political whims of corporate special interests.  The right to have a voice to negotiate for fair wages, benefits and working conditions is a fundamental right.

Question: The Wisconsin courts just decided that Gov. Scott Walker’s attempted reforms are unconstitutional. So isn’t collective bargaining already protected?
Answer: No. Collective bargaining is under attack in Michigan. Lansing politicians are all too willing to attack working families on behalf of corporate special interests. These special interests have spent $20.2 million on ads attacking Proposal 2 using front groups that refuse to reveal who is bankrolling them.

Question: Does any other state have constitutional protection for collective bargaining?
Answer: Yes. Four other states protect collective bargaining in their constitutions. Those states are New Jersey, Florida, Missouri and Hawaii.

Question: How would Proposal 2 affect Michigan’s economy?
Answer: Eight of the 12 states with the highest unemployment rates are states with right-to-work laws, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. States with higher levels of collective bargaining have lower poverty levels, higher average incomes, lower workplace deaths, higher educational outcomes, and higher pension and health insurance coverage for all workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

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