Over a year since thousands of protestors flooded Wisconsinâ??s Capitol, a more subtle campaign is underway to protect collective bargaining rights in Michigan.
â??Proposal two is a lifeline for us,â?? said Stu Skauge, a Uni Serve director for the Michigan Education Association.
Skauge is one of many union leaders in Michigan championing Proposal 2, the ballot initiative which asks voters to amend the constitution to include collective bargaining for public and private unions. Skauge represents nearly 1,000 teachers and support staff in Marquette and Alger County school districts.
Skauge says since Governor Snyder took office in 2011, the Republican-controlled legislature has passed dozens of anti-labor laws.
"They've taken away the right to collectively bargain one piece of legislation at a time. We call it 'a death by a thousand cuts,'" Skauge said.
The Snyder administration has fought back against Proposal 2 with a youtube video of Lt. Governor Brian Calley, who claimed the initiative would raise taxes and reverse reforms.
Republicans in Marquette say their opposition to Proposal 2 has more to do with the process of amending the constitution in place of the legislative process.
"It completely takes the Michigan legislature out of the picture for a lot of decisions,â?? said Dan Adamini, chair of the Marquette County Republicans. â??It invalidates a lot of laws the unions don't like now and prohibits laws they won't like in the future."
Surely you have noticed the battle spill out on your TV screens with a flurry of ads, both in favor of and opposed to the proposition. Both sides have cried foul on some of these on-air claims.