Controversy over 'Protect our Jobs Initiative' - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Controversy over 'Protect our Jobs Initiative'

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(09/03/12) - There's a lot of controversy over placing a proposal to strengthen collective bargaining rights on the Nov. 6 election ballot.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ordered state leaders to put it on the ballot, but opponents of it are taking it to the Michigan Supreme Court.

The union workers ABC12 spoke to are standing behind collective bargaining rights in their state. They say not having those rights will create major problems down the road.

"I think whoever is against it, if the Governor's against it, if the legislation is against it, they need to rethink that because they wouldn't be where they were if it were not for collective bargaining," said union worker Cedric Townsel.

The measure is known as the "Protect our Jobs Initiative". It would make collective bargaining a constitutionally protected right in Michigan.

Collective bargaining allows employees to sit down with a company or business and come up with a fair agreement on both sides to regulate working conditions.

Some in the state argue that the measure, which would cover private and public employees, will hurt Michigan's economy. Others think our economy is better off with unions in place.

"States that are unionized and states that have strong union density in it. The standard of living for everyone is up and states that it's not, standard of living is low. Wages are low, benefits are low, even the child mortality rate is higher in states that are non-unionized," said Steve Dawes, UAW Region 1C, assistant director.

To appear on the November ballot, the Supreme Court must make a decision by Friday.

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