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.