Monday, August 27, 2012

Collective bargaining ordered onto ballot by Court of Appeals

AS REPORTED IN MEA's "Capital Comments" this afternoon -

Today, the Michigan Court of Appeals decided 2-1 to let the constitutional amendment protecting collective bargaining and working families go before the voters on Nov. 6. The Michigan Supreme Court gave the Appeals Court until today to make a decision. It's still not certain what position the issue will have on the ballot, but it is certain critics of the amendment will appeal to the Supreme Court.

It may be last week's Supreme Court ruling to put the casino ballot proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot that paved the way for today's Court of Appeals' decision. The lower court rejected the casino proposal on the grounds that it would create sweeping changes to the Constitution--the same argument being used to reject the collective bargaining amendment. When the Supreme Court overturned the lower court's ruling on casinos, it seemed inevitable that the nearly 700,000 voters who signed the collective bargaining petitions would have a chance to decide the issue on Nov. 6.

However, today, the Board of Canvassers still couldn't come up with the needed votes to certify the casino proposal, so that issue is probably going back to the courts.

While the opponents of working families will likely appeal today's decision to the Supreme Court, a significant legal hurdle has been cleared for MEA leaders, members and staff to make sure collective bargaining rights and working families are protected.

Also reported by MIRS News Agency tonight, quotes from POJ Advocates:

POJ swiftly issued a press release moments after the decision, saying, "There was no legal reason to deny people the opportunity to vote on the proposal." The statement banged on Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE for his "faulty and politically motivated" opinion that drove the Board of State Canvassers for denying certification to begin with.

The group also ripped Gov. Rick SNYDER for filing a brief in support of Schuette's decision, saying, "No Michigan governor or attorney general has ever taken such drastic action to prevent citizens from exercising their right to vote."

"It's a major victory for working people," said Karen Kuciel, a Warren Consolidated Schools teacher. "Collective bargaining will be on the ballot for a vote. Now we must overcome the corporate special interests at the ballot box to ensure we have a voice for fair wages, benefits and safe working conditions for all of us."