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D-Day for Right to Work today

by: Eric B.

Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:56:48 AM EST

Today is it ... by the end of it, we'll know if Michigan will spend the next two years fighting over Right to Work, or whether we can just get on with our lives. If I were a betting man, I'd look to the way that Senate Republicans in the U.S. Congress this week rejected a U.N. treaty to improve conditions for people with disabilities for guidance. In other words when given the choice of doing a smart, far-seeing thing or doing something entirely reactionary, stupid, divisive and petty, today's Republican Party will always, always, always go with the latter.

Update! ... Press conference in less than an hour introducing two different Right to Work bills. Leastways, that's what you're all telling me on social media. I'm in Mt. Pleasant, contemplating our local year in horrific crime.

By the way, the latest from Teh Demas is worth reading.

But the backdrop of this debate is striking -- and worth noting. Obama was the one who won by 9.5 points last month. Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow had the 21-point victory. Republicans hemorrhaged five seats in the state House.

And Republicans are the ones who control the House, Senate and governor's mansion. Which is why they believe, that in spite of their embarrassing drubbing in the election, that they can ram through legislation to punish their No. 1 political enemy: the unions.

We've finally gotten to the point where I don't think any normal person observing this from outside can conclude that our lawmakers actually think it's their job to serve the public, rather than their own agendas.


Eric B. :: D-Day for Right to Work today
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There was
There was a way out of this that Snyder didn't take that I can't for the life of me.  When this first started hitting the media, he could have proposed putting Right to Work before the voters as a compromise, and then letting the chips fall where they may in 2014.  That would have been the brave (also: risky) thing to do.

Now, he's let this drag on so far, and let the heat get so hot, there is no way the Republicans could back down from this and not look as if they'd been defeated.  There is no way back; Rick's cowardice made sure of that.  The furthest he could go was to say that this is on the agenda, parsing words to the very end.  He could have said it was on his agenda, and then the public could have reacted accordingly.

The handling of this shows why Republicans from the federal level on down can't be trusted with government not simply because of their ideology, which is something horrible all by itself, but also because of their rank incompetency.  

They could have done the referendum in 2013
And Snyder could wash his hands of it like Pontius Pilate.  They still do have that option.  I'm not sure if the legislature can pass a bill to be put before the voters, but that would be the way out of the mess and it would protect any  legislators vulnerable either to a primary or a general election challenge.  In fact, the right wingers are already talking about a petition to go before the voters if this thing fails.  If Randy and Dick want a way out, this is it.  Maybe they are contemplating it.  Randy said that things got a lot more complicated yesterday, so who knows what's going on.  Political reporting in MI is atrocious.  Aren't there any insider leaks to report, or just wild ass speculation?

So, what are the chances of repealing this thing at the ballot box?  I'm guessing that they will try to find a way to make it "unrepealable" by exploiting some loophole, which will require a positive vote on our side for any referendum (as opposed to a default "no" vote).  I don't know enough about the legal technicalities about all of this.  I guess we'll find out in short order.

[ Parent ]
My understanding
is that if they hang an appropriation of some kind on a bill, it can't be repealed by a voter referendum.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, in Ohio they tried that...
...but even the right wing supreme court saw past that trick and split up the bills.  I doubt that the right wing court in MI would do the same.  I assume that is the tactic they will try to implement.

According to ballotpedia, there can be a voter initiated referendum to create a bill, not just a constitutional amendment.  That will probably be the route to go, but I'm not sure of the details.

[ Parent ]
Right, we have statutory initiative as well as the initiative for constitutional amendments. Back in '08, medical marijuana was a statutory initiative.

Statutory initiative requires signatures equal to 8% of the number of votes for governor at the last election (vs 5% for a referendum or 10% for a constitutional amendment), and is inferior to the referendum in that once a referendum is cleared for the ballot the law in question is put on hold. Statutory initiative has one cool feature, which is that once approved by the people it takes either a new vote of the people or a 3/4 vote of each house of the legislature to amend or repeal the law, so if successful that would put collective bargaining beyond the reach of the Reps.

[ Parent ]
They don't want
a way out, they want to pass right to work for less.  

[ Parent ]
So, the Detroit News is reporting...
...that Richard was facing a serious coup attempt if he didn't put the issue for the vote, so that was the straw that broke the camel's back.  Dick Snyder will I'm sure try to spin himself out of this one, and certainly try and blame the unions and prop 2 and whatever bullshit they want to spew.  

Sad day... I hope it can be defeated at the ballot box somehow, but after reading the horrible ad campaign that the right waged on prop 2, I'm not very confident of victory.

Right to Work
I know a lot of people who voted against Proposal 2 who aren't interested in seeing Right to Work. I think if Right to Work gets onto the ballot, it loses badly no matter who's managing the campaign.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
That would be my guess, too...
Especially if labor can follow the Ohio SB5 model in making it unpalatable.  A lot of it will depend on how the bill is structured and what needs to be done to repeal it (a yes vote on new legislation, or a no vote).  As long as Michigan voters aren't as flaky as Wisconsin's (and I don't think they are), then we should be OK.

[ Parent ]
There needs to be proper focus...
Scott Walker won because in Wisconsin they focused on Scott Walker instead of his legislation. People get very touchy about recalls the further up the ladder you go, and by the time you get to the governor most people would prefer to sort it out during regular elections.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
They had to focus on Walker, 'cos the only option was a recall...
Here, there's the option of a referendum.  It's going to be tougher than Ohio 'cos the frame of "worker freedom" polls well and they carved out the police and fire folk (following Scott Walker's lead) so that opponents can't use police safety as an issue like they did in Ohio.  I'm pretty nervous about this.  They are going to have billionaires run ads showing such "concern" for workers, and they'll have plenty of union-hating union members in their ads (or actors who play them).

[ Parent ]
Police and Fire exemption
Police and fire unions were excluded to keep them out of this political battle and to keep them from being used as a  face of the pro-union side.  

That hurts us, definately...
Since resident safety with the police was a big part of the referendum campaign in Ohio.  They learned this from Scott Walker.  The good news is, if I'm reading it correctly, that the law doesn't take effect until April, which means that it's not attached to an appropriation and is repealable by popular vote.  It is also my understanding that the law does not affect any contracts until after April, so it will give time for the unions to renegotiate contracts before that time (hopefully long term contracts) to mitigate the damage a bit at least until a repeal attempt is made.

[ Parent ]
Maybe not...
I'm hearing that they attached an appropriation into the bill... so, I don't know what happens from here.

[ Parent ]
Lies from the Governor
This came out via an e-mail blast. Snyder is claiming that workers have to join a union to get a job at some companies. That's false. Employees who don't want to join a union don't have to join the union. They do have to pay their fair share for union representation. Snyder's starting out with a big lie. I'm sure we'll see more of this going forward.

"Michigan is making a comeback thanks to hardworking women and men, business owners, entrepreneurs, students and professionals of all kinds. But for us to succeed, we have to remain competitive. That's why I believe we should make Michigan a freedom-to-work state.

Today in Michigan, workers who choose not to pay union dues can lose their jobs under some union contracts. In other words, if they want to work, they have to join a union and pay dues, which can amount to one to two percent of their wages.

Under freedom to work, Michiganders will have the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union. They won't be forced to pay union dues if they don't want to, and they won't lose their jobs because of it. And if they want to pay dues voluntarily, they have the freedom to do that, too."

The media repeats the lie
What always suprises me is there is no pushback from labor on this mischaracterization.

[ Parent ]
"Right to Freeload" and "Freedom to Scab"
If we can ever unite around simple buzzphrases like these, we might get a little traction.

But too often, the other side's been able to peel off a couple of unions with empty promises that THEIR leaders won't be screwed over, that THEIR members MIGHT get jobs out of the deal.

Divide and conquer...oldest trick in the book. The ongoing naivete of some union leaders astounds me.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]

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