Two union-backed proposed amendments to Michigan constitution have cleared a potential hurdle to winning a spot on the statewide November ballot.
A state elections panel said the campaigns' petitions won't face technical challenges based on their typeface, paper size, or layout. That clears the way for the campaigns to collect the signatures needed to get on the ballot.
"The response we've gotten from people has been very good and we're going to move forward on getting the message out on making sure that the importance of protecting people's bargaining rights and protecting the middle class is enshrined in the constitution," says Todd Cook, with the Protect Our Jobs campaign - the amendment to preempt a right-to-work law and other restriction on union organizing and fundraising.
Cook says getting the petitions approved now makes sense. Otherwise, there is a bill before the Legislature that could force the campaign to toss out its signatures and start over.
Another proposal would guarantee the rights of home assisted living workers to collectively bargain with the state for their compensation. They have a state-recognized union, even though they are not part of the state civil service system.
"We think people have a right to maintain their independence, to live where they want to live without being forced into more-expensive settings. We think it's a rights issue for people with disabilities and people who are getting older," says Don Hoyle, the campaign treasurer.
The campaigns have until July 9th to gather 320,000 names of registered voters to get a spot on the November ballot.