A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Michigan voters resoundingly voted down attempts to change the state constitution Tuesday.

Most notably, union-backed efforts to benefit themselves by changing the state constitution were soundly defeated.

Proposal 2, which would have enshrined collective bargaining in the state constitution, lost in a landslide 58%-42%, as did Proposals 3 through 6.

F. Vincent Vernuccio, director of labor relations at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said it was telling that President Barack Obama fared well while Proposal 2 was defeated.

“It shows the Democratic Party is not knee jerk union anymore,” Vernuccio said. “It shows how much of an overreach it was that even Obama Democrats voted against Prop 2. … The defeat is a major setback for organized labor across the country and further shows that the reforms in states like Indiana and Wisconsin were not a blip, but a national trend that is gaining momentum.”

Proposal 2 supporters spent more than $20 million to try and get special union privileges enshrined in the state constitution, and that apparently didn't sit well with voters in Michigan.

"It was obvious to us from the start, that this proposal was never about giving union workers additional rights, but instead was a power-grab by union executives intent on keeping their stranglehold on workers and their dues," Terry Bowman, a UAW member and president of Union Conservatives, said in an email Tuesday night. "Union officials have wasted our dues on a project doomed to fail from the beginning."

In the closest race of the night, voters also rejected the referendum Proposal 1, which allows emergency managers to continue operating in failing municipalities and school districts. Proposal 3, the attempt to put a 25-percent renewable energy mandate into the state constitution, was defeated by double-digits. As was Proposal 4, the SEIU scheme that allowed the union to take $6 million a year from family members who provide home-based care to loved ones.

Patrick Wright, senior legal analyst for the Mackinac Center, said the skimming of union dues will end at the latest when the collective bargaining agreement between the SEIU and Michigan Quality Community Care Council expires in February.

The SEIU has taken more than $32.7 million from the elderly and disabled who get Medicaid money in Michigan since 2005. Although the money to support Proposal 4 was paid through a committee and a recently created non-profit organization, the SEIU reportedly spent more than $5 million on the campaign, and possibly as much as $9 million.

"The people of the state recognized an underhanded scheme when they saw it,” Wright said.

Proposal 5, the 2/3 tax amendment that would have required a super-majority vote of the legislature to get a tax increase or a new tax also was resoundingly voted down. And Proposal 6, the international bridge and tunnel proposal supported by Ambassador Bridge Owner Matty Moroun lost, as well.

Here are the results of the ballot proposals:

Proposal 1: Referendum on the Emergency Manager Law – No 52%, Yes 48%

Proposal 2: The 'Collective Bargaining' Amendment – No 58%, Yes 42%

Proposal 3: '25 x 25' Renewable Energy Standard – No 63%, Yes 37%

Proposal 4: The Unionization of Home-Based Caregivers – No 56%, Yes 44%

Proposal 5: The Two-Thirds Majority Tax Limitation – No 69%, Yes 31%

Proposal 6: The International Bridge/Tunnel Voting Requirement – No 60%, Yes 40%

St. Lawrence University economist Steven Horwitz discusses how the minimum wage was used to block immigrants from taking scarce jobs during the depression era. See more at "Raising the Minimum Wage, Lowering Opportunity."


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