Voters Say No to Union Grabs

Nov 8, 2012

Photo: Andrew Harrer for Bloomberg

Despite investing millions of dollars and hundreds of man hours to get their candidates elected, labor unions lost big when it came to American voters.

Michigan voters turned down two ballot initiatives aimed at giving unions a greater foothold in the state. The Workforce Freedom Initiative reports:

“Voters rejected by a 58% to 42% margin a particularly outlandish union power-grab: the Protect Our Jobs amendment (POJA).  POJA would have changed Michigan’s constitution to provide a constitutional right to collective bargaining. 

Michigan voters also handed labor a defeat by rejecting Proposal 4, which would have allowed home care workers to bargain collectively with the Michigan Quality Home Care Council (MQHCC).  This favorite of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) aimed to restore the forced unionization of home care workers that the former governor, Jennifer Granholm, had implemented in 2005.”

An editorial in The Wall Street Journal highlighted a few more defeats, including votes in Wisconsin and Georgia to allow charter schools, much to the chagrin of the teachers’ unions, no doubt.

It wasn’t all good news, however. In California, voters in Long Beach handed a victory to labor by passing Measure N, which was a union-backed proposal to impose onerous requirements on hotels there.

Despite Election Day setbacks to their policy agenda, unions have high hopes for the next four years.  As Heritage notes, Obama will have to pay back some of the key constituencies that helped get him re-elected, including labor unions. Union officials are already rubbing their hands with glee over the possibility of a resurgence of that old perennial labor favorite, card check legislation, during Obama’s second term.  

So more battles are undoubtedly ahead, but as The Wall Street Journal editorial notes:

Union political power is still considerable, and you can expect Mr. Obama to try to expand it via regulation and other ways in the next four years. But when offset by adequate money and public knowledge, Big Labor's power plays usually lose.

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