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Press Release 3/16/2011

Michigan Democratic Leaders Announce Constitutional Amendment to Protect Collective Bargaining

Whitmer, Hammel call for an end to weakening of worker’s rights
LANSING – Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D – East Lansing) and House Democratic Leader Rick Hammel (D – Mt. Morris) announced at a Capitol Rally this afternoon that they would be introducing an amendment to the Michigan Constitution to guarantee the right of Michigan workers to collectively bargain, a right many workers feel is currently under attack.


A series of bills have been introduced by Republicans in recent weeks that claim to be about balancing the budget yet would allow contracts to be broken, wages slashed, and benefits taken away from working families.  Whitmer noted that the constitutional amendment would eliminate the concern over their legislation’s effect on collective bargaining rights and allow all sides to focus on creating a budget that moves all of Michigan forward.
“It’s time that politicians stop telling people what they want to hear, then pass bills that weaken workers’ rights and threaten the wages and benefits of men and women who actually work for a living,” said Whitmer. “This amendment would secure in Michigan’s Constitution the basic right for every individual to have a seat at the negotiating table. They say we’re not Wisconsin, well then let’s prove it.”


Hammel cited language in the recently passed “emergency financial manager” legislation that would allow an unelected bureaucrat or corporation to throw out collectively bargained contracts. There are also efforts being considered by the Republican Majority that would force privatization and strip teachers, police, and firefighters the ability to negotiate on a level playing field.

“We should not be using the excuse of trying to balance a budget to break a promise to the people who teach our kids and keep us safe,” said Hammel. “That approach will cost us jobs and worsen our economy, not save it. A Constitutional Amendment would secure for future generations what Democrats and even most Republicans have understood for years – workers have a right to be heard.”


A letter signed by the two Democratic leaders was delivered to Governor Snyder’s office today that thanked the Governor for his comments in support of collective bargaining in recent weeks and asked for his support on their effort.  The letter stated, “Together, we can make it clear that developing a balanced budget can, and must, be done without sacrificing our state’s long held tradition of supporting our tremendous workforce.”
# # #

Jessica Tramontana
Press Secretary House Democrats
Work 517.373.8924
Cell 517.974.6302


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