The "Protect Our Jobs" coalition in Michigan submitted 684,286 petitions to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot protecting the collective bargaining rights of the state's working families -- more than twice the number of signatures required. The coalition launched in March as a response to a series of attacks on workers led by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. In order to get on the ballot, 322,609 signatures were necessary. Now the Secretary of State's office will verify the signatures and if enough valid signatures exist, the proposal will be added to the November ballot.
“Collective bargaining lifts up all workers and businesses,” said Nayyirah Shariff, a Flint small business owner. “Everyone benefits when management and workers can come together and negotiate.”
The campaign was represented by a team of volunteers who delivered the official petitions to the Michigan Secretary of State.
“Collective bargaining protects our right to negotiate for fair wages and benefits,” said Ashley Forsberg, a registered nurse at Sparrow Hospital. “It gives us a voice to speak up for safe patient care and protects us from arbitrary behavior by our employers.”
More than 85% of the signatures submitted were collected by the more than 41,000 volunteer circulators spanning every county throughout the state of Michigan. The 684,286 signatures submitted reflected support of a broad cross-section of Michigan voters, from young people to senior citizens, Republicans, Democrats and Independents.
“Collective bargaining ensures we have the equipment and staffing necessary to keep people safe,” said Eric Weber, a Lansing firefighter. “No one understands the tools we need to keep our communities safe better than the people working on the ground every day.”
Volunteers attributed the large number of signatures and enthusiasm for the campaign to the support of workers who see the direct benefits of collective bargaining in our community every day.
“Collective bargaining helps teachers keep our class sizes small and focused on educating our kids,” said Eve Ratliff, a speech pathologist at Glen Peters School in Macomb. “Nothing is more important than that.”