Michigan "Protect Our Jobs" Amendment, Proposal 2 (2012)

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Proposal 2
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Michigan Constitution
Referred by:Citizens
Topic:Labor and unions on the ballot

The Michigan "Protect Our Jobs" Amendment was on the November 6, 2012 statewide ballot in Michigan as an initiated constitutional amendment where it was defeated. The initiative would have added the right to collective bargaining for public and private sector employees to the state constitution.[1] Bob King, president of the UAW, announced on March 1, 2012, that a coalition of unions would be supporting the amendment.[2]

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results
Michigan Proposal 2
Defeatedd No2,626,73157%
Yes 1,949,513 42%
Official results from the Michigan Secretary of State.

Text of measure

The official ballot text read as follows:[3]



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 ____


Primary support for the amendment came from a campaign coalition called Protect Our Jobs.[4]


The following groups were reported as supporters of the Protect Our Jobs campaign.[4]

  • Michigan UAW
  • Michigan Education Association
  • We Are The People – Michigan
  • Michigan Nurses Association
  • Lecturers’ Employee Organization
  • Michigan branch of the American Federation of Teachers
  • Michigan AFL-CIO
  • Michigan State Utility Workers Council
  • National Education Association
  • Progress Michigan
  • Michigan Democratic Party
  • Michigan PTA
  • AFSCME[5]
  • Teamsters
  • Michigan Democratic Party


  • Some key arguments listed by supporters were that the measure would:[6]
  • Establish the people’s rights to organize to form, join or assist unions and to bargain collectively with public or private employers regarding wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment.
  • Prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees for exercising those rights and interfering with those rights in other ways.
  • Protect current laws establishing minimum wages, hours and working conditions.
  • Supporters also argued that the amendment was needed to prevent possible right-to-work legislation in the future. Such legislation would remove union membership from the condition of employment at a unionized job.[5]

Campaign contributions

In Michigan campaign finance information related to ballot measures is organized by ballot question committees. The following data was obtained from the state Campaign Finance Committee:

Committee info:

Committee Amount raised Amount spent
Protect Our Jobs $8,067,869.79 $1,153,619.11[7]
Total $8,067,869.79 $1,153,619.11



  • Michigan Governor Rick Snyder
  • Representative Mike Shirkey
  • Michigan Chamber of Commerce[8]
  • Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution[9]
  • Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan
  • Business Leaders For Michigan
  • Detroit Regional Chamber
  • Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Michigan Association of Realtors
  • Michigan Manufacturers Association
  • Small Business Association of Michigan
  • West Michigan Policy Forum
  • Michigan Association of School Boards
  • Michigan Association of School Administrators
  • Michigan Republican Party


  • Michigan Gov. Snyder came out against the ballot measure during the signature gathering process asking that supporters back off on their petition drive. However, Gov. Snyder has also discouraged his own party from pursuing "right-to-work" legislation. He believed that both "right-to-work" bill and the initiatives that would prevent them are too divisive, saying, in March, that, "My concern is that could start a whole divisive atmosphere of other people trying to put right-to-work on the ballot, a whole bunch of things like that, and that would distract from the good things we've got going on."[10]
  • In a press release published in September 2012, Gov. Snyder said, "I am a supporter of collective bargaining, but Proposal Two would amend our constitution to change the way bargaining would work in our state. It could lead to unlimited wage increases and early retirements with lavish pensions - all at the taxpayers' expense. It rolls back Michigan labor laws made over the last 30 or 40 years. This proposal should be called "the Back in Time amendment." It would seriously harm Michigan's ability to keep moving forward."[11]
  • Rep. Shirkey, a proponent of "Right-to-Work" legislation, called the initiative a "union-boss ballot initiative [that] would be horrible for businesses."[12]
  • Opponents also feared that the measure could result in Michigan being less competitive than other states in attracting business due its strengthened labor organizations.

Campaign contributions

In Michigan campaign finance information related to ballot measures is organized by ballot question committees. The data contained below reflects the total campaign finance records of Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution, there is no available breakdown by individual measures available. The following data was obtained from the state Campaign Finance Committee:

Committee info:

Committee Amount raised Amount spent
Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution $340,150.00 $52,274.58[13]
Total $340,150.00 $52,274.58


2012 measure lawsuits
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By lawsuit type
Ballot text
Campaign contributions
Motivation of sponsors
Petitioner residency
Post-certification removal
Single-subject rule
Signature challenges
Initiative process

Following a 2-2 vote in the Board of Stat Canvassers that prevented the amendment form reaching the ballot, supporters filed lawsuits in both the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court.[14]

On Wednesday, August 22, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a ruling ordering the court of appeals to decide the matter by Monday, August 27.[15]


See also: Polls, 2012 ballot measures
  • An EPIC-MRA poll conducted on September 8-11, 2012, found that 48 percent were in support of the measure, while 43 percent were opposed, and another 9% were undecided. The poll was based on a poll of 600 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.[16]

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
September 8-11, 2012 EPIC-MRA 48% 43% 9% 600

Path to the ballot

See also: Michigan signature requirements

In order to place the measure on the November 2012 ballot supporters needed to collect a minimum of 322,609 valid signatures and submit them to the Michigan Secretary of State by July 9, 2012.

On Monday, March 19, 2012, the Board of State Canvassers approved the form and language of the ballot measure petition, clearing it for circulation. This review process does not certify the amendment's language.[17]

On Wednesday, June 13 supporters turned in 684,286 signatures, more than twice what is needed to qualify for the ballot, to the Michigan Secretary of State. Since the signature requirement was met, the amendment was sent to the State Board of Canvassers to be approved before being placed in front of voters.[18]

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette released a legal analysis of the measure stating that it was too complicated for the ballot and could not be accurately described to voters in the summary with its limit of 100 words. This analysis was part of the debate whether or not to place the measure on the ballot to be made by the State Board of Canvassers.[19]

After a tie 2-2 vote in the Board of State Canvassers, the measure was held from the ballot. However, Protect Our Jobs filed an appeal of the decision with both the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court.[14]

Following a ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals, the board voted 3-0 in favor of certifying the measure on Monday, August 27, 2012.[20]

See also

Suggest a link

External links


  1. Detroit Free Press, "Group to launch drive to block Michigan from becoming a right-to-work state," March 6, 2012 (dead link)
  2. Associated Press, "UAW’s King: Unions seek right-to-work ban in Michigan," March 2, 2012
  3. Michigan Secretary of State, "Proposal 2," accessed September 10, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 BloggingforMichigan.com, "Progressive coalition “Protect Our Jobs” pushes Michigan constitutional amendment to protect collective bargaining," March 6, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 Detroit Free Press, "Proposal 2: A Constitutional amendment on collective bargaining," October 25, 2012
  6. Protect Our Jobs campaign website
  7. Pre-primary campaign statement, accessed July 26, 2012
  8. Detroit Free Press, "Poll: Michigan voters skeptical about collective bargaining, bridge ballot proposals," September 16, 2012
  9. Citizens Protecting Michigans Constitution campaign website
  10. Detroit Free Press, "Gov. Snyder to unions: Back off petition drive against right-to-work," March 19, 2012
  11. Press release from Gov. Rick Snyder, September 2012
  12. Mlive.com, "Administration or activists: Who's responsible for mess that is Michigan's emergency manager law?," March 23, 2012
  13. Pre-primary campaign statement, accessed September 21, 2012
  14. 14.0 14.1 Detroit News, "Collective bargaining ballot issue in limbo," August 16, 2012
  15. Detroit News, "Opponents ask Mich. appeals court to keep collective bargaining off ballot," August 22, 2012
  16. Detroit Free Press, "Poll: Michigan voters skeptical about collective bargaining, bridge ballot proposals," September 16, 2012
  17. Detroit Free Press, "Proposed collective bargaining amendments approved for petitions," March 19, 2012
  18. Detroit News, "Union rights initiative supporters turn in 680,000 signatures," June 13, 2012
  19. Rueters, "Michigan attorney general rejects union bargaining-rights ballot bid," August 3, 2012 (dead link)
  20. Mlive.com, "Canvassers certify Protect Our Jobs proposal for Michigan ballot following court order," August 27, 2012