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Union boss proposal ordered back onto November’s ballot by a state Court of Appeals panel

August 28, 2012

The proposed ballot measure would enshrine union organizing privileges into Michigan’s Constitution and block measures such as right-to-work laws.

Yesterday’s court decision comes after the State Board of Canvassers had previously rejected the proposal on grounds that the proposal would make overly expansive and unpredicted changes to the Constitution.

The fate of the proposal will ultimately be decided by the Michigan Supreme Court, as the Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution (CPMC) coalition immediately appealed the decision. SBAM, a key member of the coalition of business and taxpayer groups that filed the challenge, disputes the Court of Appeals decision and remains confident that the measure will ultimately be struck down on appeal.

The coalition argues the labor proposal should be barred from the ballot because it fails to identify existing sections of the constitution affecting collective bargaining that would be “altered or abrogated” by its adoption. One section in particular would restrict the Legislature’s authority to adopt labor laws regulating hours and working conditions.
SBAM President and CEO Rob Fowler calls the proposal “unprecedented and…clearly unconstitutional.”

“This proposal is so far-reaching that citizens would have a very difficult time understanding the implications of passage from reading a 100-word ballot description,” he said.

The high court will have to move quickly to settle the contentious issue, as a Sept. 7 deadline looms for the elections board to finalize the ballot.

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