The proposed amendment text would make the “rights” to organize and bargain collectively a constitutional guarantee, and any state law that would “abridge, impair or limit” collective bargaining would be repealed. Last Monday, the Michigan court of appeals ruled that the measure could appear on the ballot, and the state Supreme Court heard arguments on the case Thursday.
In a filing to challenge the ballot measure, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette say the huge impact of the law can’t possibly be captured in the 100 words of a ballot measure. It is misleading, Mr. Schuette wrote, for unions to “propose an innocuous-sounding constitutional amendment that has the secret effect of wholesale changes in Michigan law.”
The problem is that the amendment language is so broad that the courts could interpret any union-related measure as a violation. It explicitly refers to all current and future laws. In 1997, for instance, Michigan moved new state employees to a defined-contribution pension from a defined-benefit plan. If the amendment passes, unions will challenge the new plan as unconstitutional and it could be invalidated at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Clusty Search: Michigan “Protect Our Jobs” Amendment.