Mar 17, 2011

A constitutional amendment to protect a civil right is proposed

LANSING –The most popular thing that came from Wednesday’s pro-working family rally at the Capitol aimed, primarily, at the anti-Democratic Emergency Financial Managers (EFM) package of bills was the announcement that House and Senate Democrats plan to be introduce an amendment to the Michigan Constitution to guarantee the right of Michigan workers to collectively bargain.

Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D - East Lansing, and House Democratic Leader Rick Hammel, D - Mt. Morris, made the announcement to more than 5,000 people who jammed the Capitol on Wednesday to voice their displeasure with the EFM bills that will give an appointed czar the power to suspend union contracts and the civil right of collective bargain and the ability to disincorporate or dissolve the municipal government.

“It’s time that politicians stop telling our working families what they want to hear, then pass bills that weaken their rights and threaten the wages and benefits of men and women who actually work for a living,” Whitmer. “This amendment would secure in Michigan’s Constitution the basic right for every individual to have a seat at the negotiating table. They say we’re not Wisconsin, well then let’s prove it.”

It was impossible to ignore the roar of the loud but peaceful crowd that spent the entire day in the Capitol on Wednesday, but Governor Rick Snyder, in his office just across the street from the Capitol, managed to do so. On Wednesday he signed the EFM bills into law.

Snyder has said he is not interested in busting unions, but his actions are saying otherwise. If he is not the Legislature sure is, and, that’s the only thing this Legislature has been doing since it convened in January.

A letter signed by the two Democratic leaders was delivered to Snyder’s office on Wednesday that thanked the Governor for his comments in support of collective bargaining in recent weeks and asked for his support on their effort. The letter stated, “Together, we can make it clear that developing a balanced budget can, and must, be done without sacrificing our state’s long held tradition of supporting our tremendous workforce.”

“They should not be using the excuse of balancing the budget to justify breaking their promise to the people who teach our kids and keep us safe,” Hammel said. “That approach will cost us jobs and worsen our economy, not save it.”

The resolution would require a two-thirds approval of both the House and Senate to be placed on the 2012 election ballot, but that appears very unlikely with the anti-worker bent of this current Legislature. It will take a petition drive, and it will require more than 322,000 signatures to place it on the ballot.


Not Anonymous said...

During the day yesterday, it was reported that there were approximately 1,100 protestors. It inflated to 3,000 according to reports at the end of the day. Nowhere yet have I seen 5,000 protestors.

I will give credit to some of the workers though. So far, there are no reports of teachers calling in "sick" to attend the protest.

Mary Valentine said...

The place was packed -- could very well have been 5,000. The people protesting are the hard working men and women who built this country and keep it strong.

Not Anonymous said...

Peaceful huh? 11 were arrested. Through all of your talk about how violent the Tea Party protestors were, there weren't any arrests. Yet, there are 11 arrests during this protest. Pepper spray was even used at one point.

Communications guru said...

It’s hard to estimate crowds, but I’m sticking with that number, which I thought was conservative, considering I could not see the crowd inside the Capitol. It was certainly more people than at any teabagger rally at the Capitol. If you haven’t “yet seen” the 5,000 protesters, I suggest trying the Detroit Free Press.

Oh, there were teachers there, most definitely, especially considering it went on until almost 7 p.m. But the good news is that because of unions, almost all employees, even private sector, non-union employees, like at the newspaper I worked at, get personal days. Meaning you could take them even if you are not sick. I would say fighting for your civil rights a great reason to take a day off, if any actually did.

Once again, anonymous coward, I am still waiting for you to back up your outrageous lie that we were “nearly shoulder to shoulder once.”

I agree, Mary.

Communications guru said...

Correct, peaceful. All but one student was arrested for trespassing; the other for opening a window to let in other students. Even people like Gandhi advocated civil disobedience.

There is no such thing as the “tea party.” They are Republican teabaggers. There is a Democratic Socialists Party, a Green Party and a Libertarian Party, but no Tea Party. The teabaggrs rarely commit violence at rallies, unless it’s against a subdued woman.

Once again, anonymous coward, I am still waiting for you to back up your outrageous lie that we were “nearly shoulder to shoulder once.”

brad said... Violence again.

I am a Classical Liberal. I dont know how that became perverted to what it is now.

Communications guru said...

Are you sure this is not an Eric Canton-like incident?

brad said...

Commie Guru, is this you? Silly Dems making up lies and Schemes and getting arrested for it. In Michigan no less.

Communications guru said...

Was it a high-powered BB gun? “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” Was the BB gun attack at Madame Tussauds also “politically motivated?”