Thursday, December 13, 2012

Did Sister Simone Campbell , Network and Nuns On The Bus Help Make Michigan Right To Work Happen ?

While most attention to Nuns on the Bus was focused on their opposition to certain Paul Ryan budget proposals , I saw in the final days they were involved in other matters that was not getting the same national attention. See their media release here , and 'Nuns on the Bus' tour rolls into Grand Rapids to support 'Protect Our Jobs' proposal.

I thought about that today when I read this CNBC piece  How Republicans Engineered a Blow to Michigan's Powerful Unions and saw this :

Battle Over Ballot Measure

Republicans said a key factor in passage of right-to-work was what they consider an "overreach" by unions in Michigan.

On March 6 of this year, a union group including United Auto Workers union president Bob King announced that they would seek a November ballot initiative to enshrine in the Michigan constitution the right to collective bargaining.

"It was a power grab. In retrospect it was a huge mistake," said Scott Hagerstrom, Michigan state director of Americans For Prosperity, a conservative non-profit partially funded by the Koch brothers.

At a public meeting of labor and corporate officers last summer, Snyder said he deliberately pleaded with union leaders not to go forward with the ballot initiative.

"If you do this, you should anticipate you're going to create a divisive discussion on right-to-work also," Snyder told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday, recalling his remarks.

Unions pressed forward and some Republicans say that this essentially blew up a "gentlemen's agreement" between the unions and Republicans that neither would rock the boat on labor legislation in Michigan.

UAW President Bob King told Reuters that labor leaders pursued Proposal 2 because they expected a Republican push on right-to-work regardless.

The battle over Proposal 2 was nasty. Protecting Michigan Taxpayers, a group backed by DeVos, spent $22.7 million to oppose it, according to campaign finance disclosures filed with the state. DeVos family members alone provided $1.75 million of its funding, the records show.

Protect Working Families, a group backed by a union coalition that included the UAW, spent $22.9 million supporting Proposal 2, according to reports filed with the state. The UAW contributed about $5.6 million to that committee.

The proposition went down to defeat by 57 percent to 43 percent. Republicans interpreted this as suggesting that the public would support right-to-work, Colbeck said


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