WELCOME TO THE 2014 ELECTION! “IT’S ON AND POPPIN’!”

Two weeks removed from national election, that re-elected President Barack Obama, the 2014 mid-term elections are “on and poppin’.”  I wonder if the Democratic Party has sufficiently learned from the debacle of 2010.

It is obvious that the Republican’s have not learned any lessons from this last election season, so the test is, will the Democratic Party stand by what they profess and force the Republican Party to stand by their failed logic, and their total disdain for the American people, and the election process, that returned the President to office, and gained seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives for them?

At stake, for the Democrats, at the national level, is a possible re-taking of the House of Representatives and gaining a filibuster-proof Senate.  At the local level there are several “red-state” Governorship’s and State Legislatures in play.

From what I’ve read, the assault on women’s reproductive choices, by Republicans, has resumed with refreshed attempts around the country to try to circumvent Roe v. Wade, using the states as their primary vehicle.  The war on the uninsured and the poor is advancing with Republican Governor’s rejecting certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Provisions such as the “insurance exchanges” for entrepreneurs and small businesses with less than 50 employees, and refusing to expand Medicaid services for individuals and families living at or near poverty levels, and the poor.

Yogi Berra said it best, “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

As for the battle over reproductive choices, that’s a battle Democrat’s and Progressives should welcome.  A true conservative court will stand by the rights of the individual against the state.  A Republican court will not.  Chief Justice Roberts has shown, with his decision on the ACA, that he does not want his court to be branded as the “Republican Court.”  Notwithstanding some of the other Justices, it is my belief that the right’s of the individual will prevail.  We’ve seen that already with laws like “stand your ground,” and “open carry” laws, for guns.  We just have to be prepared, and willing to fight for what’s right.

Now, about the ACA.  Caught inside the Republican bubble, they believed that the President would not be re-elected, they believed that the ACA would not stand constitutional muster, they believed that their party would win the Senate and increase their majority in the House.  After the ACA was upheld by the SCOTUS, they believed that, when elected, a Romney/Ryan administration would repeal it, or at the least not fund or enforce it.  With this as their thinking, many of them simply did not prepare to commit to the exchanges by the deadline.  They also knew that the Federal government would step in and create the exchanges if they fail to do so.

As you know, the Medicaid expansion provision will mean approximately 17 millions people will receive coverage they otherwise would not have, and will mean the hiring or re-hiring of thousands of people nationwide, to handle the increased case loads.  The Republican Governors, as one of their excuses, claim they cannot afford to implement the exchanges or the expansion, though the Act will pay 100% of the cost for 2 years and 90% of the cost of the expansion for many years after that.  Another excuse is that they don’t want the Federal Government interfering in their state policies.  Their reticence means that millions will not be covered and thousands of jobs will not be made available, simply, because of their politics.

That being said, [this] becomes a prime opportunity for Democratic candidates as they begin their campaigns.  Many of November’s winning Democratic Party candidates ran on these very issues.  I wouldn’t wait another minute in these “Red States,” to force the Republican politicians, from the state legislatures to the Congress, to declare where they stand, on the record, about these issues, and challenge them publicly, about their stance.

These red states are among the most in need of the ACA and their Governor’s, State Houses, and Congressmen and women, should be forced to explain to their constituents why Obamacare is not being made available to them.  At the same time, the “Blue State Governments” should boldly tout the advantages of the Act to their constituents.  Their “red state” neighbors, seeing the benefits of the Act will challenge their leadership to comply, or opportunities will be created for Democrats to take over these State Houses and Legislatures, and to represent them in the Congress.

These are just a couple of the issues that will define this election.  There’s also Planned Parenthood, personhood, voter ID, state election laws, and much more.

We, Democrats and Progressives, must understand that we cannot relax.  2014 will be here before we know it and the race to the “mid-terms” has already begun.  It’s “ON AND POPPIN’.”

“POOPY HEAD PETULANCE” (UPDATED – 11/15/12)

Thank you Grover Norquist!  You’ve given a name to our pain.  “Poopy head!”  I couldn’t have done it better.  You’ve also inspired me.  When I heard you say “poopy head” during your interview on CBS‘ “This Morning,” it sounded so childish, I thought back to another characteristic of childish behavior, “petulance.”  I thought of a little kid, falling on the floor, kicking and screaming, holding their breath, threatening to run away.  I thought about the kid on the playground that get’s mad and takes his toys and goes home.

Well, if Romney is an example of a “poopy head,” I figured there must be more of them out there like him, so I looked around, found a few that I think fit the discription, and I’ve decided to put some “poopy head’s” and some examples of “petulance” together.  Here are a few:

Petulance is whininess and irritability. Your least favorite thing about the kids you babysit might be their petulance:

“RESIDENTS IN MORE THAN A DOZEN STATES PETITION WHITE HOUSE TO SECEDE FROM UNITED STATES”  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/secession-petition-white-house_n_2116620.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

The noun petulance is the quality of being fretful, complaining, petty, or generally cranky:

“BUSINESS OWNER FIRED EMPLOYEES WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA”  http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4141208

Petulance is not a pleasant characteristic — it’s almost always described negatively, like when you talk about the childishness and petulance of your constantly whining boss:

“PAPA JOHN’S ONLY INSURES ONE IN THREE WORKERS, BUT CEO TRIES TO BLAME OBAMACARE IT THAT DROPS”  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/12/1160864/-Papa-John-s-only-insures-one-in-three-workers-but-CEO-tries-to-blame-Obamacare-if-that-drops

Petulance is the condition or quality of being irritable, peevish, or impatient:

“THE OBAMACARE LAYOFFS BEGIN…”   http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/333089/obamacare-layoffs-begin-jillian-kay-melchior#

“OBAMA REELECTION TRIGGERS MASSIVE LAYOFFS ACROSS AMERICA”  http://nation.foxnews.com/2012-presidential-election/2012/11/09/obama-reelection-triggers-massive-layoffs-across-america

“OBAMA KEEPS JOB; OTHERS LOSE THEIRS”  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/11/obama-keeps-job-others-lose-theirs/

Now I know all business people are not “poopy heads.”  The same for all conservatives and republicans.  So if “the shoe don’t fit don’t wear it.”  I know there are more of them out there, though, and when I find them I’m going to call them out.  If you know of a few, leave a comment or send me an e-mail and we’ll get them posted.

(Update)

Here are some more PETULANT POOPY HEADS:”

Jennifer Anderson, Davis Ace Hardware Owner, Apologizes For Urging Employees To Vote Romney  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/jennifer-anderson-davis-ace-hardware-romney_n_2118825.html?ref=topbar

John Metz, Denny’s Franchisee And Hurricane Grill & Wings Owner, Imposes Surcharge For Obamacare  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/john-metz-hurricane-grill-wings-dennys_n_2122412.html

Impeach Obama Robocall Campaign Launched By Conservative Group  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/impeach-obama-robocall-campaign_n_2132682.html

Mitt Romney: Obama Won With ‘Gifts’ To Blacks, Hispanics, Young Voters  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/mitt-romney-obama-gifts_n_2133529.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

Applebee’s franchise owner says he’ll stop hiring because Obamacare   http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/13/1161321/-Applebee-s-franchise-owner-says-he-ll-stop-hiring-because-Obamacare

Thank You!  Keep the “POOPY HEADS” coming!

HEY MITT, YOU DIDN’T BUILD THIS DEFEAT BY YOURSELF!

Hey Mitt,

I’m going to resist the temptation to gloat.  Well, maybe just a little bit ( NAH-NA-NA-NAH-NAH).  Okay, now I’ve got that out of my system.  Seriously though, I and a whole lot of American’s had real problems with you, from tax returns to policy shifts.  But, it seems that you had a whole lot help in bringing about this defeat.

Let’s start with you first.  Your refusal to reveal your tax documents was a problem, but not your most significant one.  The truth is [that] if you had revealed them it may have helped you.  It’s possible that had you done so it would have given the voters a look at just who the real Mitt Romney is.  America doesn’t have a problem with wealthy people.  We’ve had many leaders that have come from privilege.  Given the cost of getting elected today if you don’t have significant resources, or access to them, it is difficult to run for any office at any level.  That’s not your problem, that’s a problem for America.

But without the anchor of an identity, you seemed to most of us to be like a ship without a rudder, cast upon the sea of our democracy, with no discernible direction, no way for us, the voters, to know just where you would lead us.  So with no real understanding of the captain of the “great ship republican” at sea, we only had the republican ship to see.  What we saw, well, was downright scary.

Just take a look, from our perspective, and you can see what we saw.  We saw Todd Akin and Richard Murdock.  We saw Scott Walker and, your own choice for VP, Paul Ryan.  We saw John Kachich and John Husted.  We saw Rick Scott and Rick Detzner.  We saw Jeff Flake in Arizona telling people to go to the wrong polling place.

We heard John Sununu and Donald Trump.  We heard Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck,  Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham,  Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.  We heard Newt Gringrich and  Grover Norquist.

We read the Washington Times and The National Review.

We saw the attacks on President Obama, the our of context quotes, the distortions, the outright lies.

We saw the assault on women’s rights to reproductive choices and access to healthcare.

We saw the disdain your party had for Latinos, the contempt for the LGBT community.

We saw how the African-American community was discounted.

We watched your party’s attempts to suppress the vote.  We watched them attempt to game the system.  We even saw overt, blatant attempts to cheat.  The margin for the President was about 3 million votes, but we will never know how many voters were affected by your party’s efforts, how those efforts affected down ballot races and initiatives.

Now I know you will say that they are not you, but since you chose not to reveal who you were, and you chose not to rebuke them, we were left to conclude that they “are” you, or at least that you believe and feel as they do.

Even your opponents agreed that you are a good man.  A family man with strong values and principles.  But we never got to see that part of you.  By not taking a stand you became a part of a stance that America rejected.

So you see, it was a collective effort.  What just occurred was not a rejection of just you, but a rejection of what your party has become.  If only you had been you, someone with a recognizable identity, someone we could relate to and understand, then perhaps….

You know the last republican president was also a good man.  A man of values and principles.  But ideology led him, and the people around him, to take America to a place where the needs of the few outweighed the needs of the many.  We’ve been there and we’ve decided that’s not where we want to be.

So it wasn’t just your many you’s, that lost last Tuesday, it was your party and the way it operates.  There’s plenty of blame to go around and plenty of people to share the blame.

You did not build this by yourself.

OH(BAMA) WHAT A NIGHT!!!!!

OH WHAT A NIGHT.

Candidate Barack Obama made history in November 2008.  That’s true.  But what President Barack Obama has done in November  2012 is truly historic.  When all is considered, when the story is told, not through the simplistic lens of who won and who lost, America will shudder at revelations revealed by this electoral process, but in the end stand tall in revelry at her ability to stand up against the powerful whose will is, not to live up to the founder’s intent to “form a more perfect union,” but to create a union that “perfectly” suits their purposes.

The Republicans, over the last four years, have used virtually every underhanded tactic imaginable.  They’ve lied, they’ve deceived, they’ve cheated, they’ve attempted to make a mockery of the very process that makes this the greatest country in the world.  They vowed to obstruct the President, and turned around and attempted to blame him for the slow recovery of our economy.  They’ve challenged his birth origin, his citizenship, his legitimacy as President.  They’ve challenged his love of America.  They’ve call him a liar, a Muslim, they’ve refused to acknowledge any of his accomplishments.  Indeed many Republicans, including Romney, have tried to co-op the things he has been able to get done, while at the same time, retreating from their own policies simply because the President embraced them and tried to implement them.  They accused President of “palling around with terrorist,” said that “he has apologized for America around the world,” castigated him for attending a church with a radical preacher (is he Muslim or Baptist?)  They’ve attacked his wife, and family.  They even went after his dog.  They didn’t stop with the kitchen sink, they threw the whole damn kitchen at him and he didn’t flinch.  He didn’t back down.

The amazing thing about this race, is that it was so close.  How, in the face of all the lies, in the face of all the stupid challenges, in the face of all the obstructive tactics by the Republicans, with their attacks on minorities, with their assault on women’s rights, their shifting positions on issues, with their disdain for the LGBT community, their overt attempts to suppress the vote, could anyone have voted for Romney or any of the republicans running for office.  It’s amazing to me.

But, in the end, “Oh what a night.”

I was at the Michigan Democratic Headquarters, in the Grand Ballroom at the MGM Grand Hotel, on election night, and there was, remarkable as it may seem, an air of confidence in the room as I arrived, about 8:30.  Everyone that I spoke with was upbeat, even as the early returns showed the electoral count favoring candidate Romney.  When the polls in the east began to close, the early projections showed the challenger with a 33 to 3 lead, with Romney winning the early vote in the south plus Indiana and the President winning Vermont.  Still I didn’t sense any panic among his supporters.  There was an energy in the calm, though.  There was much on the table with the US Congress elections and several other important down ballot contests and initiatives, that had the attention of the attendee’s.

By 9:00, with more polls beginning to close, more projections had been made.   The President had been projected to win all of New England (except New Hampshire, which soon came on board), Michigan, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.  But with Romney winning Arkansas and Tennessee, CBS News projected that Romney was leading the President in electoral votes 88 to 78.  With each state projection there were cheers or boos depending on who won or lost, but there was no panic, just an expectation that everything was going to be just fine.

An hour and a half into the evening  you could feel the excitement building inside the room.  A little past 9:30 newly re-elected Congressman John Conyers approached the podium to address the crowd and a raucous cheer erupted in the room.  Conyers, who had faced a primary challenge after being the victim of redistricting by a republican state legislature that moved him from the 14th district to the newly aligned 13th district handily, defeated Republican challenger Harry Sawacki.  (This is another example (alignment of voting districts),  a perfect example, of why elections matter.  Even down ballot.

After a few words the congressman introduced newly re-elected Senator Debbie Stabenow to the crowd.  The crowd went berserk  as the Senator took to the podium.

The Senator, armed with the endorsement of the republican-leaning Michigan Farm bureau, easily defeated republican Pete Hoekstra to return to Washington for a third term.  Hoekstra, if you’ll remember was widely criticized for running a controversial ad that featured an Asian woman talking in broken english about China taking our American jobs.  An ad that even some republicans rebuked as racially tinged and insensitive.  He attempted to brand Sen. Stabenow as the “follower-in-chief” because of her relationship with President Obama, and ran numerous negative ads on TV and the internet as he tried to bring her down, but the Senator stayed strong and positive.  “I am proud that we stuck with our positive message about what we’ve gotten done for Michigan,” said Stabenow.

As we approached 10:00 we had more projections.  Pennsylvania for Obama.  Moments later New Hampshire, Wisconsin (so much for the VP home-state bump), and Minnesota.  The vote was so close at this point that CNN was projecting Romney ahead by 152 -143, NBC projected Obama ahead 158-153, and Fox News Channel had it as a tie 153 electoral votes a piece.

Between 10 and 11:00 Romney picked up Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Utah and Montana and there was a slight nervousness in the crowd, but that all went away at 11:00 when the west coast polls closed.  Pandemonium broke out in the ballroom when it was announced that California, Washington State, Hawaii, followed by New Mexico and Iowa were going to The President.

The exuberance began to ebb, somewhat, as we became aware that Ohio was pending.  At 11:13 NBC announced that President Obama was going to win Ohio and moments later announced Barack Obama would be re-elected President of the United States.  As you can imagine the excitement, the energy, the anticipation all came together and the ballroom could not contain it all.  It spilled out of the room, down the hallways, throughout the hotel.  It was Christmas and New Years eve all wrapped up in one.

I don’t know about you guys, but I was ready for a cigarette.  What a night!  I wasn’t surprised by the outcome (I had predicted that President Obama would win with 331 electoral votes.  He finished with 332).  As much as I believed in the President, I also believed in the American People.  Yes, the republican party did everything possible to steal this election.  Yes, their candidate flip-flopped all over the place and outright lied about himself and the President.  But America saw through it all and did the right thing.  I wrote in a previous post a thank you to the voters, and I really mean it.  There is much yet do and I believe our President is going to get it done, from completing his healthcare initiative to Wall Street reform.  We are going to have tax and immigration reform.  Hopefully we’ll get campaign finance reform, a change in the way we conduct national elections and a change in the filibuster.  President Obama, not burdened by re-election, can use his executive powers to enact programs if the congress does not.  America is moving forward and the Republicans can’t stop us.  It’s time to get to work.

First though, I’m gonna have that smoke.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    *

Here’s some more pictures from election night at the MGM Grand Hotel:

Senator Debbie Stabenow greets her supporters

Supreme Court Candidates, (left to right)Connie Kelley, Sheila Johnson and Bridget McCormack.
McCormack was the only winner.

EVENT ATTENDEES:

CONGRATULATIONS PENNSYLVANIA!!!!!

Congratulations Pennsylvania!

“Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Mighty is your name,

Steeped in glory and tradition, Object of acclaim.

Where brave men fought the foe of freedom, Tyranny decried,

Til the bell of independence filled the countryside.”

I’m singing your praises Pennsylvania.  What needed to be done, has been.  Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has blocked implementation of the Voter Photo ID Law until after the election.  Now, while the move by the court only delays this law until after this years election, we will now see if there was ever any reason beyond preventing President Obama’s reelection for this law to be in place.

We will see if voter fraud was a problem or if this was, simply, a fraudulent attempt to suppress votes.  My guess is [it was] the later.

This in fact may be the most telling part of this entire charade.  And when I say telling I mean that it was them, the republicans, doing the telling.  On June 23, 2012 State House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) stated:

  • “Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done.”
  • “First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done.”
  • “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

Since the 1960’s, there has not been a more blatant attack on America’s civil rights, indeed, an attack of the most basic right of our society, the right to vote.

This is not just about Pennsylvania, though.  Their’s was the most restrictive of many such laws passed in more than 30 states over the last few years.  Some have been struck down by the Voting Rights Act (that’s come under fire lately), and others by Local and State courts that have determined that the laws were an unnecessary intrusion on our voter franchise.

My guess is, though, this is not just a one shot deal.  Most of this talk about in-person voter ID fraud will quietly dissipate, but it won’t disappear.  Voter suppression and manipulation is as important down-ticket, at the State and Local level, as it is nationally.  What this process has shown us is that State Houses, State Legislatures, and locally elected Judges play as much a part in this scenario as the National ticket.  We must be aware, and beware.  The war continues.

It is in the local courts where laws are being upheld that are restricting or eliminating more of our basic freedoms. Like freedom of choice for women, freedom to choose who to marry, freedom to bargain collectively.  Even the right to be governed by our lawfully elected officials is being challenged.  State Legislatures are realigning voting districts to dilute the power of constituency voting.

So the war is not yet won.  The battlefield has shifted. Diligence and determination are the weapons with which we must arm ourselves, as we continue moving “Forward.

So, congratulations Pennsylvania.  A battle won, but the war goes on.

“Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, May your future be,

filled with honor everlasting as your history.”

DEBATE or DE(THE)BAIT

Looking forward to Wednesday’s debate between President Obama and candidate Romney, I began to wonder, can the President lose or can the candidate win?  The only way, I believe that the President can lose is if he takes the bait, and get’s drawn into a lot of tangential hypothetical’s.  You know, the could’ve, would’ve, or should’ve(s).

The common wisdom on the right is that President Obama can not run on his record.  What they are counting on is that the vilification of his accomplishments and his efforts to improve life in these United States has worked, or is working.  I don’t believe that it has, or will.

As more and more of his policies roll out, policies that were, in many cases delayed or watered down by a congress committed to bring him down, the American people are seeing the benefits of Obama’s presidency.  With the Affordable Care Act, Financial Reform, Workplace Equality, the ending of the War in Iraq, the killing of Osama bin-Ladin, the decimation of Al-Qaeda, the fall of Khaddafi, and [of] Mubarak, the drawing down of the War in Afghanistan, the Auto Bailout, and perhaps the most important, The American Recovery Act, without which the country, as we know it, would not have survived, there is much the American people and the President can point to with pride.

When all of this is considered, along with the fact that the Republican leadership, including House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senate Minority Leader McConnell,  and the entire Tea Party caucus, have walked lock-step in their attempt to defeat his efforts even at the expense of America’s recovery, these accomplishments seem all the more remarkable.

This is, though, where the potential problems may arise.  The president does not need to oversell his accomplishments, though there may be some temptation to do so.  The risk is to become the “I” candidate.  The president has been careful, over his time in office, to encourage the American people to become more involved, more vocal, and it has worked.  Much of what he has been able to do has come as a consequence of an energetic, involved, citizenry.  If he is baited into defending or overselling what he has done, he risks turning off the support his accomplishments have garnered.

The other trap, would be to be baited into ascribing  motive’s  to the constant stream of misrepresentations, distortions, and outright lies coming from his opponents on the right.  To play the victim.  He should let “them” explain their motives.  The American people see them for what they are (lies).  They also know who is telling them.   These are not just lies “about” him, they are lies “to” the American people.  I believe we (the people) are smart enough to realize that.

Now, I know I haven’t mentioned how it may be possible for candidate Romney to win.  Well that’s the truth.  I mean, “the truth” is the reason that Romney can’t win.  If he tells the truth, the American people see him for who he really is.  If he doesn’t, well, the American people will see him for who he really is.  Either way he can’t win.  This first debate will, rightfully, include discussions about the candidate’s campaign, the republican convention, his ill-timed misstatements about the events in Libya, and definitely about his 47% comments.  I can’t wait to hear his responses.

This is President Obama’s debate to win.  As long as he doesn’t take the “bait.”

FYI-MICHIGAN PROPOSITION 2, PROTECT OUR JOBS

Let’s make  no mistake about this.  Proposition 2 is the most important of the propositions on the ballot.  This one is so important that, its opposition is not just campaigning against it directly, the are running an ad that entreats voters to just vote no on all of the “constitutional change” proposals.

Karen Bouffard, in a Detroit News article “Proposal 2 campaigns confusing, polarizing For Michigan voters,” writes:

“Supporters claim unions are under attack and workers will lose their hard-won rights, pay and benefits if the proposal doesn’t win. Republican leaders have passed roughly 30 laws opposed by unions since the GOP swept the state House, Senate and Governor’s Office in 2010.

Opponents say the amendment would eradicate a half-century of labor laws, including those that protect workers and keep pedophile teachers out of classrooms.”

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120924/POLITICS01/209240339#ixzz27cMLDFr8

Ms. Bouffard does a great job of breaking down both sides of the argument, for and against.  I’d encourage everybody to take a few moments and read her article.

But despite the pro’s and con’s this “one” fact is clear.

This proposition is about the future of Michigan.  “PROTECT OUR JOBS” IS ABOUT PROTECTING OUR FUTURE!

This is what the proposal will look like on the ballot:

PROPOSAL 12-2
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.

Should this proposal be approved?

YES _
NO _

Let’s go over this proposal point-by-point.

Grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.

It’s being argued that public and private employees have that right.  To the extent that many workers are benefiting from union protections, that may seem to be true.  But, these protections are not guaranteed.  These protections are under attack on many levels.  Laws like the Emergency Manager Law, have stripped powers, voided contracts, and reduced or eliminated the rights of employees in both the public and private sectors.  The opponents of this proposal have used calls for the “right to work” to rally their supporters, but I wonder if those supporters “really” know what right to work means.

This is posted on the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy site:

What “Right to Work” Would Mean for Michigan
Roland Zullo, Research Scientist
Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations
University of Michigan

There is an effort afoot to make Michigan a “right to work” state. Unfortunately,
most citizens are unaware of what “right to work” means or the implications if such a law
is passed. Our purpose here is to explain the law, map the arguments for and against, and
describe potential effects for Michigan should such a proposal become law.

To begin, the term “right to work” (hereafter RTW) is a misnomer. RTW has
nothing to do with the right of a person to seek and accept gainful employment. Rather,
RTW laws prohibit a labor union and employer from negotiating union security clauses.
What are union security clauses? Union security clauses are contract provisions that
regulate the collection of union dues. In non-RTW states, such as Michigan, the parties
are free to negotiate a range of union security options. Unions typically prefer “union
shop” terms that require every person benefiting from union representation to pay union
dues. In RTW states, the parties are barred from negotiating union security clauses,
making the default the “open shop,” where the payment of dues is optional for workers
represented by the union. Between these two policy poles are arrangements that require
represented persons to pay a proportion of full dues, and even to allow objectors to
unionization to contribute dues to charity. Such arrangements are, however, also
proscribed under the RTW proposal before Michigan.

Labor unions are nearly universal in their opposition to RTW laws, and their
argument is straightforward: each person that benefits directly from union representation
should pay their fair share of the cost of that representation. In the very least, represented
persons should pay a dues amount to cover the expense of negotiating and administering
the labor agreement (what are referred to as collective bargaining activities). For unions,
this is just since, by law, they are required to represent all persons within a bargaining
unit. It is critical to appreciate that although unions have some input into the composition
of the bargaining unit, they cannot exclude persons that simply do not want unionization.

You can find this entire post at:  http://irlee.umich.edu/Publications/Docs/RightToWorkInMichigan.pdf

Simply put, right to work is really the right to work for less.  Less wages, because collective bargaining brings about a fair wage for employees.  Less stability, because collective bargaining establishes workplace rules for safety and maintaining the work force.  Less benefits,  employer paid healthcare, vacations, sick pay and pensions.  All of these things were brought about through the efforts of collective bargaining and right to work could diminish or eliminate them.

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.

Michigan lawmakers have passed a law that prohibits school districts from deducting union dues. They’ve passed another law designed to prevent graduate student research assistants from unionizing.  Last year, another tough new bill gave appointed emergency managers the right to dissolve or change collective-bargaining contracts as they see fit.  GOP legislators are talking about trying to make Michigan a “right to work” state that would ban the union shop.

Let’s be clear, a constitutional right to collective bargaining is not constitutionally mandating unions.  This Act would allow employees the constitutional right to choose.  This is about freedom from intimidation and censure from employers that would impose on that right.

Override state laws that regulate hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflict with collective bargaining agreements.

As I understand this part of the proposal, it would allow the employees to restore previously negotiated conditions of employment, and prevent the state from unilaterally imposing changes, without union consideration or negotiation.

Define “employer” as a person or entity employing one or more employees.

This is self-explanatory.

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The opponents of  Proposition 2 are running advertisements claiming that the proposal will “eliminate safety rules for school bus drivers,” or could stop schools from getting rid of criminals.”  That the proposal is “dangerous for kids and terrifying for parents.”  That is just plain nonsense.  Unions are made up of people, mom and dads, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers.  These people have sons and daughters who use the services that the unions seek to protect.  Why would anyone imply that the safety of their sons and daughters would not be of tantamount importance to them.  Making such a ludicrous statement is not only careless but it’s insulting as well.  Insulting to union workers and to the people that they believe, will believe, what they say.  They’ve threatened that if passed Proposition 2 will lead to teacher strikes like the recent one in Chicago, but that is, also, not true.  Notwithstanding the fact that people do not strike just for the hell of it, it is also illegal for government employees in Michigan to strike.  These are plain and simple scare tactics, designed to pull at the heartstrings of regular everyday people, and to manipulate them to vote a particular way.  These tactics should not and will not work .

What this proposal does is return the citizens of Michigan to the conditions that allowed us to become the premier industrial/manufacturing state in the region, perhaps in the United States of America.  Organized Labor has been and will continue to be the driving force in making those conditions possible.

There is a very good article written by Jack Lessenberry in the Toledo Blade that speaks about the need for this proposal.  This article shows that this is important not just for Michigan, but the entire region.  Here is a link to the article:  http://www.toledoblade.com/JackLessenberry/2012/03/09/Michigan-unions-mobilize-to-protect-bargaining-rights.html

I would also recommend, that for more information, interested citizens should contact the various local Union headquarters in the area.  They can answer any questions you may have regarding the need for collective bargaining.

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