Talking Union! Recent Ballot Measures
Michigan’s Legislature enacted “Right-to-Work” legislation this week, sparking renewed debate about public policy regarding unions. Here’s a quick review of recent ballot measures having to do with organized labor.
Ohio “State Senate Bill 5” Veto Referendum, Issue 2 (2011)
This referendum repealed Ohio State Senate Bill 5 which limited collective bargaining for public employees in Ohio. The bill was initially signed into law on March 31, 2011. Opponents petitioned for a repeal referendum and collected a record-breaking 1.3 million signatures by the July 21, 2011 deadline. The referendum was placed on the ballot for statewide voting on November 8, 2011. The referendum vote repealed Senate Bill 5.
The Ballot Title for Issue 2 read:
A majority yes vote is necessary for Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 5 to be approved.
Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 5 is a new law relative to government union contracts and other government employment contracts and policies.
A “YES” vote means you approve the law.
A “NO” vote means you reject the law.
Senate Bill 5 Veto Referendum “Issue 2”
*No - 2,145,042 61.33%
Yes - 1,352,366 38.67%
California Proposition 32. The “Paycheck Protection” Initiative (2012)
Official Title: Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute.
Proposition 32 would have prevented unions from deducting funds from union members’ paychecks to be used for political contributions. The measure would also prohibit corporations and government contractors from making such deductions. Sponsors of the initiative submitted more than 900,000 petition signatures. Multiple lawsuits from both supporters and opponents of the proposition sought to alter the language on the ballot, on which only one change was ordered. The proposition was defeated on November 6, 2012, keeping existing laws in place.
The language used on the ballot for Proposition 32:
“Prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. Prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees. Prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees.”
California Proposition 32
*No - 6,940,282 56.6%
Yes - 5,328,207 43.4%
Michigan: “Protect our Jobs” Amendment, Proposal 2 (2012)
An initiative to amend the Michigan state constitution, adding collective bargaining rights for employees in the private and public sectors. While more than 320,000 signatures were required to put the initiative on the ballot, supporters gathered 684,286 signatures. A brief court battle over the ballot language held up the initiative, before it was finally approved in late August. The initiative was defeated on November 6, 2012 ballot.
Language on the ballot for Proposal 2:
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION REGARDING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
This proposal would:
Grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.
Invalidate existing or future state or local laws that limit the ability to join unions and bargain collectively, and to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements, including employees’ financial support of their labor unions. Laws may be enacted to prohibit public employees from striking.
Override state laws that regulate hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflict with collective bargaining agreements.
Define “employer” as a person or entity employing one or more employees.
Michigan Proposal 2
*No - 2,624,126 57%
Yes - 1,947,209 42%
Michigan Home Health Care Amendment, Proposal 4 (2012)
This proposed amendment to the Michigan state constitution would have provided collective bargaining rights to Home Health Care providers as well as constitutional recognition of the role of the Michigan Quality Community Care Council.
The language for Proposal 4:
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ESTABLISH THE MICHIGAN QUALITY HOME CARE COUNCIL AND PROVIDE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FOR IN-HOME CARE WORKERS
This proposal would:
- Allow in-home care workers to bargain collectively with the Michigan Quality Home Care Council (MQHCC). Continue the current exclusive representative of in-home care workers until modified in accordance with labor laws.
- Require MQHCC to provide training for in-home care workers, create a registry of workers who pass background checks, and provide financial services to patients to manage the cost of in-home care.
- Preserve patients’ rights to hire in-home care workers who are not referred from the MQHCC registry who are bargaining unit members.
- Authorize the MQHCC to set minimum compensation standards and terms and conditions of employment.
Michigan Proposal 4
*No - 2,548,826 56%
Yes - 1,983,597 44%
Find more information on ballot measures regarding organized labor here: