Court battle continues over 'Protect Our Jobs' proposal - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Court battle continues over 'Protect Our Jobs' proposal

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MICHIGAN (WJRT) -

(08/21/12) - A court battle continues over a ballot initiative that could have a major impact on labor and unions in the state.

Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette have filed court papers trying to block a statewide ballot initiative to protect collective bargaining rights.

Opponents of the "Protect Our Jobs" proposal say it would change the constitution, and it can't be summed up in 100 words on the ballot.

Supporters say the initiative protects workers through collective bargaining.

Now the question is - will voters have the final say?

"I would say it's probably the biggest issue that could be on the ballot this year," said political science professor Paul Rozycki. "It's motivating a lot of union members to get out and vote. It's also motivating a lot of business people to vote against it."

Wednesday, the State Court of Appeals is supposed to decide whether the "Protect Our Jobs" Bill will be on the ballot after the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked on the issue.

But there is an effort to bypass the court of appeals and let the supreme court decide.

"Those who oppose it are seeing it as a large re-write of the Michigan Constitution that you cannot do in 100 words or less," Rozycki said.

If the proposal makes it on the November ballot, a yes vote would protect collective bargaining. In essence - giving unions more power.

"The bottom line is they have to have this done by Aug. 27 to have the ballots printed in time, so they're really up against a deadline," Rozycki said.

If the proposal doesn't make it on the ballot, or it does but is voted down, then current collective bargaining rights would remain the same.

Meantime, Gov. Snyder is trying to block the initiative altogether.

"The Governor and Attorney General are trying to kill it and they're saying 'let's stick with what the Canvassers have done and not let it go any further,'" Rozycki said. "Almost certain it will go to court somewhere."

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