Neutral Ground Scarce Amid Michigan Ballot Wars

Other than voting for the next U.S. President in November, Michigan voters will have a tremendous decision to make: Yay or nay to the State’s emergency manager law, Public Act 4?

Perhaps the biggest opponents to PA4 are unions. Under the emergency manager or financial board rule, they know what’s coming, and it’s not good.

That’s why as we edge closer to Election Day we voters can expect to be bombarded with advertisements, fliers and e-mails sponsored by unions bent on destroying the legislation that’s set to destroy them.

But there’s another side to the story. The other soldiers on the battlefield are supporters of the emergency manager legislation: Officials on a state and municipal level, business people who want to skip collective bargaining, and a host of citizens who believe the State’s struggling cities and school districts would be better off without collective bargaining contracts sucking up already sparse funds.

A coalition of businesses is gearing up to raise funds in support of the controversial legislation, while unions are shoring up support against it. In other words, a battle is brewing. And amid the spiky campaigns on both fronts, it may be tough for voters to come to fair, unbiased information on this highly polarized issue.

Meanwhile, there’s another ballot initiative unions and the state are battling over as you read this. Unions want to ensure their place in government and so the Protect Our Jobs project was created.

The Protect Our Jobs group have collected more than enough signatures to get a measure on the ballot that would mandate collective bargaining:

MLive Reports:

“Attorney General Bill Schuette and Gov. Rick Snyder are joining the battle to keep the union-backed Protect Our Jobs proposal off the November ballot, saying the measure as written doesn’t give voters “the basic tools” to know exactly what they are voting for.

…State and national unions have donated more than $8 million to support Protect Our Jobs, which would enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution.”

That’s a lot of cash. But if this passes, it’ll make things a whole lot tougher for union busters, even if PA4 gets the O.K. from the electorate.

Still, it raises the question: Are unions archaic? Is there a way to redesign labor agreements and keep fair work environments and wages?

And for those of us hitting the voting booths in November, how can we access unbiased factual information to make an informed decision about PA4 or the Protect Our Jobs proposal if we have been flooded with propaganda from both sides?

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