Tuesday, 21 August 2012 09:59
Other than voting for the next U.S. President in November, Michigan voters will have a tremendous decision to make: Yay or nay to the State’s emergency manager law, Public Act 4?
Perhaps the biggest opponents to PA4 are unions. Under the emergency manager or financial board rule, they know what’s coming, and it’s not good.
That’s why as we edge closer to Election Day we voters can expect to be bombarded with advertisements, fliers and e-mails sponsored by unions bent on destroying the legislation that’s set to destroy them.
But there’s another side to the story. The other soldiers on the battlefield are supporters of the emergency manager legislation: Officials on a state and municipal level, business people who want to skip collective bargaining, and a host of citizens who believe the State’s struggling cities and school districts would be better off without collective bargaining contracts sucking up already sparse funds.
A coalition of businesses is gearing up to raise funds in support of the controversial legislation, while unions are shoring up support against it. In other words, a battle is brewing. And amid the spiky campaigns on both fronts, it may be tough for voters to come to fair, unbiased information on this highly polarized issue.
Meanwhile, there’s another ballot initiative unions and the state are battling over as you read this. Unions want to ensure their place in government and so the Protect Our Jobs project was created.
The Protect Our Jobs group have collected more than enough signatures to get a measure on the ballot that would mandate collective bargaining:
"Attorney General Bill Schuette and Gov. Rick Snyder are joining the battle to keep the union-backed Protect Our Jobs proposal off the November ballot, saying the measure as written doesn’t give voters “the basic tools” to know exactly what they are voting for.
...State and national unions have donated more than $8 million to support Protect Our Jobs, which would enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution."
That’s a lot of cash. But if this passes, it’ll make things a whole lot tougher for union busters, even if PA4 gets the O.K. from the electorate.
Still, it raises the question: Are unions archaic? Is there a way to redesign labor agreements and keep fair work environments and wages?
And for those of us hitting the voting booths in November, how can we access unbiased factual information to make an informed decision about PA4 or the Protect Our Jobs proposal if we have been flooded with propaganda from both sides?
Published in Minni Forman
Monday, 20 August 2012 07:28
With the fist day of school approaching fast, Michigan’s newest school district—the Education Achievement Authority (EAA)— is pushing to enroll as many students possible by any means necessary, or so it seems.
As the fate of Public Act 4—the legislation that made the EAA possible—now hangs in the balance of a public vote come Nov. 6, it’s crucial to keep the momentum, and enrollment, rolling at full speed according to district officials.
Despite the uncertain outcome of the Nov. 6 vote on the controversial emergency manager law, the district is charging “full steam ahead” according to Roy Roberts, emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools and director of the EAA.
In order to fill the classrooms on time and overthrow any doubts or uncertainty about the new EAA schools, The EAA, which is a public/private partnership between the State of Michigan and Eastern Mcihgian University, got popular bad boy rapper T.I. to urge youngsters via a radio advertisement on a local hip-hop station to enroll in an EAA school.
A Radio ad airing on The New Hot 107.5 FM on Sunday, dubbed the EAA “ the hottest new schools” featuring T.I’s voice asking kids to tell their parents to get them in an EAA school.
This choice of spokesperson raises the some questions: What’s the message here? Obviously kids listen to T.I., but should the EAA district be using a rapper whose reputation is smeared by frequent stints in prison for illegal gun charges as the pied piper leading students their doors?
The enrollment numbers aren’t that bad: Last week The Detroit News reported that the district had 6,660 students signed up and ready to start. The goal is 11,000 students total to fill all 15 EAA schools. That’s about more than half of the final goal and enrollment will continue through September.
While T.I. is popular, and could get student’s attention, it’s the parents who ought to be making these decisions of where to place their child, not kids who want to go to a school because their favorite rapper—who brags about shooting people in his songs—thinks it’s “hot.”
Published in Minni Forman
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