Michigan voters rejected a controversial ballot initiative Tuesday that would have cemented collective bargaining for public and private employees into the state constitution.
According to the Detroit News
, the union-backed measure drew only 42 percent support. If the initiative, known as Proposal 2, had passed it would have made Michigan the first state to guarantee by law the right of collective bargaining and would have prohibited the legislature from approving any restrictions.
The measure, aimed at heading off increasing attempts by Republican state lawmakers to restrict bargaining rights and to turn Michigan into a right-to-work state, was opposed by state Chamber of Commerce and numerous business leaders.
Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Calley noted that rejection of Proposal 2 amounted to an "affirmation" by the public of the work GOP lawmakers are trying to do. The Republican-controlled legislature has passed 30 bills to restrict union activities since January, 2011, the News reported.
The chamber also weighed in, accusing "union bosses" supporting the measure of being "more interested in attacking job providers and the state's reinvention effort than in representing their members' best interest."
But some Michigan teachers, who worry about their ability to keep their jobs without union support, took the voters' rejection of Proposal 2 hard.
"I think if we don't gain some of our rights back, Michigan will become a right-to-work state. I don't want Michigan to become a right-to-work state," said Pam Mulligan, a 45-year-old teacher.
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