Labor unions in Michigan have escaped the broad-based attacks their neighbors in Wisconsin and Ohio have experienced in the past couple of years. Michigan's public sector unions still have the right to bargain collectively with their employers about the terms and conditions of their employment. There is no immediate prospect of a statewide "right-to-work" measure making it illegal to impose union fees as a condition of employment.
But Michigan unions, which remain a formidable force in state and local politics, are going on the offensive in an effort to make sure things stay that way. A measure on the November 6 ballot, Proposal 2, would enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution and invalidate all past and future laws that restrict those rights. The most recent polling shows a close division, with 48 percent of voters in favor of the proposal and 43 percent against, according to the firm EPIC-MRA. A yes vote could embolden unions to pursue a similar strategy in other states where union support is relatively strong.