Not content to push through an anti-union “right-to-work” law, new restrictive abortion policies, and an anti-Sharia law, Michigan Republicans are now pursuing a revamp of a law voters rejected at the polls barely more than a month ago.
Michigan’s House Republicans today passed a new version of the “emergency manager” law that voters repealed via ballot referendum in November. The initial version gave broader powers to state-appointed emergency managers who oversee townships that are struggling financially.
Among those powers was the ability to void union contracts and labor agreements. The new version, introduced by state Rep. Al Pscholka (R), makes small changes but still includes the provision granting the manager authority over labor contracts, as the Detroit Free Press reports:
The bill says an emergency manager will have the power to undertake “the modification, rejection, termination and renegotiation of contracts.”
The ability for an emergency manager to break or terminate collective bargaining agreements under certain circumstances was one of the most controversial aspects of PA 4.
But Pscholka said a key difference is that the new bill “gives a choice to local officials … on how to keep their heads above water.”
The new law does make changes that give localities more input with their emergency managers, and it includes a provision that gives local officials the option of choosing mediation or bankruptcy over the appointment of a manager once a financial emergency is declared. It also allows localities to remove the emergency manager a year later by a two-thirds vote from the local government.
But by leaving the broad powers over labor contracts intact in the new version, Michigan Republicans are again taking aim at the state’s unions. And they’re doing so in direct opposition to the state’s voters, given that such powers were “one of the most controversial aspects” of the repealed version.
Just as they did with the “right-to-work” law, Republicans attached an appropriations measure to the bill to make it tougher to overturn with a ballot referendum.