A coalition of “front-line teachers, first responders, construction workers, and clergy” called “Protect Our Jobs” is holding a press conference this afternoon to kick-off a petition drive for a constitutional amendment to protect collective bargaining rights for Michigan workers. The purpose of the amendment is to enshrine into our state Constitution the basic right of every worker to collective bargaining.
From their press release:
PRESS CONFERENCE IN LANSING TODAY ANNOUNCING CAMPAIGN TO AMEND STATE CONSTITUTION, PROTECT MICHIGAN JOBS
Constitutional amendment seeks to protect collective bargaining rights, strengthen Michigan’s middle class
LANSING – Working men and women from across Michigan will gather at the state Capitol in Lansing tomorrow to formally launch the “Protect Our Jobs” campaign. Grassroots volunteers will begin gathering signatures tomorrow to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to protect collective bargaining rights, and strengthen the middle class.
WHAT: Press conference announcing the Protect Our Jobs campaign
WHO: Front-line teachers, first responders, construction workers, and clergy
WHEN: Tuesday, March 6, 1:00pm
WHERE: Room 405, State Capitol, Lansing
WHY: To rebuild our economy, we all need to work together to protect Michigan workers and strengthen the middle class to help small businesses create jobs. Over the past year, Lansing politicians have moved one anti-worker measure after another, doing nothing to help put Michigan back to work. Now more than ever, workers need the right to speak up and protect our wages and benefits. The Protect Our Jobs campaign will launch a grassroots effort tomorrow to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to protect collective bargaining rights for all Michigan workers, and help strengthen the middle class.
A Fact Sheet about the proposed amendment can be downloaded HERE (pdf).
Organizers tell me there are over 80 bills in the state legislature aimed at destroying the collective bargaining rights of Michigan workers. This initiative is aimed at protecting those rights and protecting our workers from further job cuts and erosion of their benefits.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder claims he’s not interested in laws that gut collective bargaining for Michiganders but has yet to announce that he will veto them. It’s a typical obfuscation by him where he allows the ultra-conservative Republicans in the state House and Senate do all the “dirty work” while he tries to remain above the fray and out of the discussion. There’s little doubt in the minds of those paying attention about whether or not he would sign such bills into law. He would. He has less to lose by doing so than he will if he goes against the conservative Republican majority in the legislature.
Groups supporting the Protect Our Jobs initiative include We Are The People – Michigan, the Michigan Nurses Association, the Lecturers’ Employee Organization, the Michigan branch of the American Federation of Teachers, the Michigan AFL-CIO, the Michigan UAW, the Michigan State Utility Workers Council, the National Education Association, the Michigan Education Association, Progress Michigan, the Michigan Democratic Party and others.
Be on the look-out for these petitions and be sure to sign one. If you’d like to help by volunteering for the effort, you can do so HERE. NOTE: YOU WILL NEED TO SIGN A PETITION IN-PERSON. THERE IS NO ONLINE PETITION. YOU MAY ONLY SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER ONLINE, NOT SIGN THE PETITION.
Petition language is after the jump.
Here’s the petition language:
INITIATIVE PETITION AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION
The proposal would add a new Section 28 to Article I of the State Constitution, as follows:
ARTICLE I, Section 28: COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS
(1) The people shall have the rights to organize together to form, join or assist labor organizations, and to bargain collectively with a public or private employer through an exclusive representative of the employees’ choosing, to the fullest extent not preempted by the lAWs of the United States.
(2) As used in subsection (1), to bargain collectively is to perform the mutual obligation of the employer and the exclusive representative of the employees to negotiate in good faith regarding wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment and to execute and comply with any agreement reached; but this obligation does not compel either party to agree to a proposal or make a concession.
(3) No existing or future law of the State or its political subdivisions shall abridge, impair or limit the foregoing rights; provided that the State may prohibit or restrict strikes by employees of the State and its political subdivisions. The legislature’s exercise of its power to enact laws relative to the hours and conditions of employment shall not abridge, impair or limit the right to collectively bargain for wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment that exceed minimum levels established by the legislature.
(4) No existing or future law of the State or its political subdivisions shall impair, restrict or limit the negotiation and enforcement of any collectively bargained agreement with a public or private employer respecting financial support by employees of their collective bargaining representative according to the terms of that agreement.
(5) For purposes of this Section, “employee” means a person who works for any employer for compensation, and “employer” means a person or entity employing one or more employees.
(6) This section and each part thereof shall be self executing. If any part of this section is found to be in conflict with or preempted by the United States Constitution or federal law, such part shall be severable from the remainder of this section, and such part and the remainder of this section shall be effective to the fullest extent that the United States Constitution and federal law permit.
Cross-posted from Eclectablog.