COMMENTARY | Michigan voters — at least those still fortunate enough to afford television — have been bombarded recently by political advertisements about Proposal 2, a measure on the November ballot. Supporters of Proposal 2 guarantee that if you vote yes, a beefy firefighter will rescue your kitten using high-tech gadgets next time you burn your house down. Opponents say that voting yes forces your child’s school to hire sex offenders and criminals by the boatload.
You may be shocked to learn that neither viewpoint is entirely accurate.
What would Proposal 2 actually do? Well, nothing — but I mean that in the best way possible. Workers already have the right to organize. Proposal 2 simply puts that right in the state constitution , making it harder for union-busting corporations and rich dudes in Lansing to say, “Hey! You, over there talking to your co-worker about better pay and benefits! Stop that!”
But who cares? Less than half of workers are unionized. Well, if you enjoy things like lunch breaks, affordable health insurance, and weekends, then consider yourself pro-union. You should vote YES on Proposal 2.
It really is that simple. Proposal 2 preserves ideas that we already believe in, protecting workers from union-busting legislation like the 2011 bill which gave government-appointed “emergency financial managers” the power to ignore unions during “financial crises.” (And who decides when a financial crisis is happening? It’s those dudes in Lansing again.)
What about commercials that say Proposal 2 is going to send a bunch of pedophiles to work at public schools? The non-partisan fact checkers at Michigan Truth Squad said that anti-Proposal 2 advertising is “built on the assumption [that] Michigan residents are incompetent or craven .” It’s hard to ignore a commercial that tells you Proposal 2 is putting your children at risk, but it becomes easier when you realize they’re insulting your intelligence while they lie to you.
Proposal 2 is particularly important because the public is rarely given a voice when it comes to unions. Yet it’s absurd to allow the government to make the rules, because almost 45 percent of government employees in Michigan are, in fact, unionized, making the government the employer, not just the rule-maker. It’s like letting Sam Walton decide whether Wal-Mart needs to pay its workers minimum wage. A YES vote on Proposal 2 may be your only chance to tell the government to stop bullying working people.