The New Front in the Labor Wars Has Officially Opened in Michigan


In a massive show of power last week, Big Labor submitted about 684,000 signatures – twice more than needed -- several weeks ahead of the deadline to put the "Protect Our Jobs (and Screw You Michigan Taxpayers)" initiative on the November ballot. The move came as no surprise given the $18 million war chest that Michigan unions have managed to acquire with the help of their national and local comrades.

 As I have written before, the bill is a radical – and risky -- effort to reclaim the ground that unions have lost in Wisconsin and Indiana. If it succeeds, union benefits and bargaining privileges will become permanently enshrined in the Michigan constitution. And even the modest health care givebacks that public employees were required to accept to restore a semblance of structural balance to the budget will be reinstated. What's more, Michigan will be permanently banned from ever becoming a Right to Work state. It will also hand labor a field-tested strategy to enact pro-union laws in states that allow legislative action through referendum, even, perhaps, putting some Right to Work states in the non-Right to Work column.

However, if it fails, unions as we know them will be finished in this country. It'll create momentum for Michigan to become a Right to Work state, which will open the floodgates elswehere in the Midwest and the country. So the stakes couldn't be higher.

The Daily Kos has dubbed Michigan unions as "rock stars" for so expeditiously taking the first step of putting the state's economy on a permanent path to ruin.

But Joe Lehman of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has the better take:

This ballot measure is a radical constitutional amendment that makes government-sector unions more powerful than the Legislature. If it passes, unions will set public policy in secret negotiations with their government employers. Lawmakers won't be able to override anything they decide.

Unions have a better shot at getting their way in Michigan than Wisconsin for a whole host of reasons, the chief one being, as I noted last week that:

The initiative is very, very cleverly worded and to see the radical – even diabolical -- intent behind its innocuous veneer would require an extremely informed electorate. For example, the initiative opens by declaring that:

The people shall have the rights to organize together to form, join or assist labor organizations, and to bargain collectively with a public or private employer through an exclusive representative of the employees' choosing, to the fullest extent not preempted by the laws of the United States.

Who could be against the "rights" of "the people" to organize? And who would be against giving all "the people" – in the public and private sector – the same "rights"? That would be downright un-American – tantamount to smearing the American flag with apple pie and then setting it on fire.

The new front in the labor wars has now officially opened, ladies and gentlemen, and it will be a more fierce than Wisconsin.

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle on How the Washington Redskins Are Fleecing Virginia Taxpayers

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  1. In the spirit of federalism, laboratory of the states, and all that, I for one am rooting for this abomination to pass.

    Michigan is the perfect place for it. Its about to collapse financially anyway, so the timing of getting this on the books just before the collapse couldn't be better.

    1. And when the state finally goes broke and there is no money left what will they do then?


      2. Nonsense. A state can't go bankrupt, you stupid teabagging fuck.

      3. Ring up Germany.

      4. No idea what they will do.

        I will laugh and laugh and laugh. While quoting various of the Iron Laws which point out the inevitability of their horrible failure.

        1. You aren't worried about the possibility of being fleeced to pay for Michigan's failures at the federal level?

          1. I am a bit. But the problem is they will have to get in line behind Illinois, Maryland and California. When blue states go bust, there will be so many of them and they will go bust so badly that even the feds won't be able to bail them out.

          2. Fluffy, if we get to the point that Congress feels free to just bail out entire states, then we will be so utterly fucked that Michigan getting tractor-trailers of soon-to-be-worthless BernankeBux won't even twitch my needle.

            1. Can't we just give it to Canada?

              1. Think that would be like Ogle-torp...

                "This young man has had a very trying rookie season, what with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada, and that country's refusal to accept him."

                Canada would be out of their mind

        2. Living in Panama sure does have its advantages.

          The rest of us are going to get bent over when these bozos get bled dry.

          1. Well, the Panamanians may be sowing the seeds of their destruction as well.

    2. so the timing of getting this on the books just before the collapse couldn't be better.

      While reading the article I was thinking along the same lines. We need examples of failure. Sorry people of Michigan...but you do have the option of doing what 50% of your poeple have done over the past 50 years....MOVE!

      1. Which kind of assumes that examples of failure actually work to produce good responses. But you will have the Krugman crowd running around saying we need to do MORE of what didn't work and Obama-clones declaring it was all somebody else's fault.

        I mean, if "examples of failure" worked why do we still have Keynesian advocates?

        1. Because people are stupid

          1. Let me rephrase....

            Faith does not require evidence

            1. Which is kind of my point...

      2. John, they, like Californians to Colorado, will simple export their stupidity to other states.

        Remember- the ideas aren't wrong. They can't be. It's the people who are wrong.

  2. I guess they just can't help themselves but to rape Detroit's corpse one more time.

    1. Nope, this'll be the rest of us. Detroit's already a leech on the rest of the state. This will ensure Lansing joins it in sucking the marrow from the bones of the productive 50-ish percent that's left.

      Fuck unions, fuck Detroit, fuck politicians, fuck government, fuck those dependent on the government, and fuck....everyone else, while I'm at it.



      1. Greatest industrial city civilization has ever seen destroyed in a single generation of unionism and liberalism. Didn't just destroy it, made it so it will never come back. An atomic bomb wouldn't have been able to do the damage that the unions and liberals did to Detroit.

        1. Unions did not destroy the American auto industry. It was destroyed by management that was not interested in design or manufacturing. Management was interested in advertising, financing, and believed that the stockholders were their customers.

          1. Maybe the unions shouldnt have negotiated in a pay cut in order to pay for more design and manufacturing.

          2. That is bullshit. The American auto industry was very much interested in design and manufacturing. And it knew its market too well. They made a fortune in the 1960s selling cars that were designed to last five years and had huge powerful engines to a public that wanted a new car every five years and could afford cheap gas. They and no one else saw the gas crisis coming.

            And the unions specifically destroyed the smaller auto companies. The unions demanded the same wage from every company. They basically colluded with the big three to keep Studebaker and Packard and Hudson from paying lower wages and developing a lower cost model. The unions didn't give a shit because it never occurred to them that there would ever be any foreign competition. So the US was stuck with three and a half auto companies all locked into ridiculous union contracts. That more than anything prevented them from properly competing with the Japanese in the 1970s and 80s.

            The unions destroyed the entire thing.

            1. The US auto industry was already losing market share before the gas crisis. Management was just as short-sighted as the unions.

              The CAFE standards have been a pretty huge death-blow, as well.

              1. Of course all car companies (Toyota, Honda, Audi, BMW must all obey CAFE) so it can't explain the big three (and a half). But complacency and union omnipotence sure helped a lot.

          3. And let me give you three letters explaining why US cars sucked after 1973, EPA.

            1. Wasn't there also some protectionism? If the US automakers had been more exposed to competition they might have woken up and cleaned up their act.

              And why did British cars also fall into the toilet? Unions?

              1. Weren't all the British car companies nationalized at that time?

                1. Warty, stop bringing up inconvenient truths.

                  Also - WHAT "British car industry"? Ford still has a couple plants there, Jag, Land Rover (both formerly Ford)...anyone else? Not much.

                  Oh - Aston Martin - ALSO formerly Ford. Rolls Royce/Bentley - BMW/VW now.

                  There's a whole generation plus that does not know of a truly "British" car company. Long live British Leyland....not.

                  1. Don't forget Mini, which is part of BMW now.

                    1. Actually, BMW simply bought the rights to the Mini name. Little if any of the original Morris company exists.

                  1. Link Fail

                    1. Oops, link works, just can't be embedded

                2. Were they? Not that I know of. I had a '76 Triumph TR7--gawd what an elegant piece of shit that car was. I just wiki'ed Triumph and they were never nationalised.

                  1. I'm thinking of British Leyland, I think.

                    British Leyland was a vehicle-manufacturing company formed in the United Kingdom in 1968 as British Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd (BLMC). It was partly nationalised in 1975 with the government creating a new holding company called British Leyland Ltd which became BL Ltd (later BL plc) in 1978.

                  2. Wait, what? Triumph was part of Leyland, which became British Leyland. That was about as nationalised as you could get.

                    Triumph motorcycles were never nationalised as far I know, but the bike division split off from cars in the 30s as a separate company.

                    1. Wait, what? Triumph was part of Leyland, which became British Leyland. That was about as nationalised as you could get.

                      Ah, I see that now. Didn't look at the article closely enough.

                3. The British car companies did'nt fail because they were nationalized, they were nationalized because they had all failed.

                  Eventually it became obvious to the British public that the notion that government ownership of a money losing business was somehow beneficial was pure bunk. Too bad the American public hadn't realized the same thing twenty odd years later.

                  Incidentally, British industry traditionally had been labor heavy. There is an anecdote that even at the end of WWII, when German industry had been pounded into dust, it took something like two-thirds the manhours to produce their flagship fighter plane than it did a Spitfire.

                  1. Anyone who has done work in Britain can tell you why that is. I've never encountered a group of people with more lazy fucks in it.

                    1. True, the protestant work ethic never really took hold in Britain. Class resentment is still strong today and serves to lower productivity.

                      The lower classes tend to feel that their labor benefits the upper classes more than it does them.

                    2. And, of course, an overgenerous system of welfare benefits since WWII has not helped.

                  2. I have a friend here who had one of those newish MGs that he got used in Germany for a good price.

                    It was actually a pretty nice sports car, IMO, and reliable. The only problem was that it was so light (and mid-engine) that it was pretty squirrely when you hit a bump at high speeds, hence it made me nervous. My GTV6 was much tighter, but of course it wasn't a convertible.

                    But I remember British Leyland, worst auto parts ever.

          4. TELL - I R one, and I can tell you it was both management and the Unions.

            Mostly the unions...

          5. Management was interested in advertising, financing, and believed that the stockholders were their customers.

            Then why did Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, and Honda all build car factories in states that were not Michigan?

          6. Hardly matters. If the Detroit unions weren't in the process of strangling their companies to death, then the foreign-owned auto manufacturing plants in America would have been located in the Rust Belt to take advantage of the existing pool of skilled workers.

        2. Now, John. Don't exaggerate.

          It was more like two generations of unionism and liberalism.

          1. That, and some good ol' fashioned ethnic grievance-mongering.


          2. The first generation dropped the bomb, the later picked off the survivors.

  3. We. Are. DOOOOOOOMED.

    Whether or not this passes. I guess the end will come a little more quickly and painfully if it does pass so...whatever.

    1. Michigan is just cementing its status as the fiscally unsound alternative to New Jersey and as the butt of movie jokes for decades to come.

      1. Amazingly (or perhaps not), its Parking Department seems to be in full swing, at least according to AE.

        1. ampersanded!

          1. Damn

            1. What, this comments software doesn't take ampersands? Test...

              1. What the hell...?

      2. Actually, Michigan is in much better shape than any number of other states (Illinois being a very good example). Snyder has actually been able to bring some costs under control.

        1. Snyder has actually been able to bring some costs under control.

          Doesn't this amendment change all that?

  4. Forget fencing the Mexican border, Michigan's borders might be a better place for a fence if this nonsense passes.

    BTW, I'm sure that Mick E. Mouse and Kermit D. Frog were more than happy to sign those petitions...

  5. I don't see how they can possibly change their state's constitution to remove the ability of the legislature to control taxes and spending and still pass muster with the Federal constitutional requirement that all states possess a republican form of government.

    1. But the voters can always change the constitution back. So I think it would still pass muster. States have all kinds of goofy provisions in their constitutions restricting the legislature.

      1. Michigan will be permanently banned from ever becoming a Right to Work state.

        I also think Shikha was full of shit on this one.

        1. Shikha is usually full of shit.

          1. Shikha is usually full of shit.

            I do not agree. She just has a tendency to jump the shark every other article.

        2. Sorry, I live in Michigan, and, although I haven't actually read the damn amendment, that's certainly how it's being presented by its supporters.

          1. So the amendment prevents another amendment that repeals it?

            Is that even possible?

            If so my guess is that it is unconstitutional.

            Also is it so easy to pass an amendment? Don't they need super majorities of the voters then super majorities of their house and senate? If they have those type of majorities then the problem is not with the amendment...they are screwed on a far deeper level.

            1. I think the point is that this amendment so imbeds the public unions into the mesh of the legislature that it will be impossible to supercede any of the potentially atrocious outcomes of this legislation.

      2. But the voters can always change the constitution back.

        Unless, of course, a judge says otherwise. Anti-gay marriage amendments, after all, have been challenged in court.

    2. States have all kinds of goofy provisions in their constitutions restricting the legislature.

      So does the federal one.

  6. And even the modest health care givebacks that public employees were required to accept to restore a semblance of structural balance to the budget will be reinstated.

    From the context, I'm guessing you meant "undone" instead of "reinstated" there.

  7. What's more, Michigan will be permanently banned from ever becoming a Right to Work state

    There is at least 1 positive nugget amongst the crap that this is.

  8. The "Yuppers" of the Uppper Peninsula might have a new reason to separate and creating their own State of Superior or joinning Wisconsin. 😉


      My brother created a song, "Yooper Girl" (sung to Zappa's "Valley Girl") - SO funny. He went to school up der in da UP, eh? Da Nordern Michigan University. LOVED it - he was a converted yooper.

      "She's yooper girl..." Still makes me laugh out loud.

    2. Need the permission of the legislature for that.

  9. Let them have it. Hopefully the collapse happens the same day those shitweasels are raising their hands in "victory."

  10. Here's an Ozzy and the Sabbaths show. FOR NO RAISIN

  11. How is it "permanent"? If it only requires a referendum to pass the amendment, it only requires a referendum to repeal it.

    1. Yes, but getting it on the ballot requires valid signatures. I hate unions, but I'm sure as shit not about to sign a document inviting them to harass me personally.

  12. Yeah, this will pass. Its Michigan. I dont believe that what happens there concerning unions really has massive national implications when it passes. It obviously would if it did fail but not gonna happen.

  13. This makes a lot of sense dude.Wow

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