Supremes Order Collective Bargaining Proposal onto Ballot
The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that the proposal to create a constitutional guarantee of collective bargaining rights should go on the November ballot. This is a huge victory for the union-backed Protect Our Jobs group that has put millions of dollars behind the initiative, which is now formally Proposal 2012-02.
If voters approve Proposal 2 in November, it would nullify any future or existing law that infringes upon the right to collectively bargain. That would mean sweeping changes for schools, in particular the ability of school administrators to manage certain workplace terms and conditions in their districts and buildings. The likely consequences include:
- Putting all prohibited subjects of bargaining back on the table, such as teacher evaluations (including classroom observations), teacher assignment, and personnel decisions (including firing based on seniority/discipline)
- Effectively overturning all the recent tenure reform and the work of the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness
- Removing the 80/20 health care mandate for union employees
The campaigns both for and against this proposal are likely to be fierce and both sides have committed millions of dollars to the effort. Total spending on campaign efforts for just this one proposal is projected by some Lansing politicos to get as high as $30-50 million. The first shot across the bow came already this week with the group Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution claiming in a press release that one potential consequence of the initiative could be that the state could not require that teachers accused of sexual conduct with students be suspended, nor that teachers who lied about their criminal history be fired.
As part of the ruling that put the Supreme Court also ordered two other proposals on the ballot. Also left up to voters will be an initiative to require a two-thirds legislative majority or statewide vote to raise taxes and another to mandate statewide voter approval to authorize new international border crossings (i.e. a new bridge to Canada). A proposal to authorize the building of eight new casinos was thrown out because the court ruled it would abrogate the oversight authority of the state's Liquor Control Commission.