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Home health care proposal draws support, concern

Associated Press Published: November 3, 2012
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The measure is a bid to counter the law passed earlier this year that spurred a lawsuit by Service Employees International Union Healthcare Michigan, which had been the bargaining unit for home health care aides before the law was enacted. A federal judge sided with the union and protected the contract until it expires in 2013. Organizations such as the Midland-based free-market think tank Mackinac Center for Public Policy have argued the home health care workers aren't public employees and often are caring for family members.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has said the proposal as well the four others that change the Michigan Constitution are bad policy.

The independent, nonpartisan Citizens Research Council said the primary question for voters as it relates to Proposal 4 is whether such remedies should be enshrined in the state constitution or through a referendum on the state law, such as the one on the ballot pertaining to state-appointed emergency managers running struggling cities and schools.

The signature union-backed initiative is Proposal 2, which also would amend the constitution to guarantee the right to organize for the purpose of collective bargaining with public and private employers. Supporters fear Michigan's GOP lawmakers eventually will make a push for right-to-work legislation, which bars unions from collecting mandatory dues from workers, while opponents contend the measure would make union leaders more powerful than elected officials and impose rollbacks of state and local governments' ability to set employment terms and get budgets under control.

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