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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Labor Ponders New Governor

When Republican John Engler was elected governor, he took his right
hand off the Bible after the swearing-in and Michigan Democrats
immediately went after him as a mean-spirited ogre who would destroy
the state.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder lowered his right hand, and Democrats
went, "We'll give him the benefit of the doubt."
The reason the D's did not go after the new GOP governor is that he
made noises that he wanted to foster bi-partisanship and get away from
the R's vs D's mentality that normally engulfs this town.
Even though the Democrats lost, the governor sat down with them and
instructed his top aides to do the same thing.
Hey, how can you beat up a guy who is willing to talk?
You can't and so far labor has not.
So far.
Mr. Snyder earned more respect from labor when he declared that
Michigan was not Wisconsin, nor did he want it to be. He said he was
for collective bargaining and he proved it with his budget.
Instead of telling state government union workers where he wanted to
cut their benefits by $180 million, he invited them to help him find a
way at the bargaining table.
Unions had been demanding that and they got it.
But then came the Emergency Financial Manager legislation which the
governor embraces. Under the worse case scenario the EFM could cancel
union contracts, benefits, and who knows what all.
The governor contends he does not want to do that, but unions are
not so sure.
He says the legislation is designed to keep cities and schools, that
employ union workers, out of bankruptcy court.
Unions are not so sure.
So the feeling-out process continues between the two sides. There
is not mutual trust just yet.
One labor leader put it this way. The governor gets an "incomplete"
grade from us but there is "great potential for him to be an A-Plus
But this leader quickly adds, "He won't get an A if he signs the EFM


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