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Old September 2nd, 2012, 01:36 PM   #1
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Default Constitutional Amendments on Ballot This Fall

Michigan is one of the few states that still allow "initiated constitutional amendments", that allow constitutional amendments to be made via ballot proposals. I won't get into the pros and cons of this here.

Inserting legislation into the constitution is rarely a good idea, as it is extremely difficult to change as times change. The state constitution is designed to provide general guidance, with specific details to be provied by legislation codified into state law.

While Obie vs Romney occupies the limelight, the sx MI constitutional amendments on this fall's ballot have some serious impact. I'll describe them in no-BS terms.

"Michigan Home Health Care Amendment"

What it says:
The language describes this as "placing features of the Michigan Quality Community Care Council in the state constitution, in addition to providing home health care providers with limited collective bargaining."

What it is:
A constitutional amendment to protect a shameful scam where the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) collects union dues from the state for everyone that receives financial assistance for caring for a family member in the home. The SEIU has declared all of these caregivers to be "employees" of the state and has further declared that they "represent" these folks, and our state legislature and "blow you away" ex-Governor signed off on this. Well, this scam has been made public, and the SEIU is pitching this to protect the gravy train. It is NOT about quality of life or health care, despite the obfuscation smokescreen.

Note that the SEIU outsourced many of their own internal staff to cut costs - sending many jobs offshore.

"Renewable Energy Amendment"

What it says:
The initiative would mandate that by 2025, 25% of the state's electricity must come form renewable resources. Michigan law already calls for 10% renewables by 2015.

What it is:
Eco-Nazis and wind turbine manufacturers joining forces to sell more wind turbines and solar panels. In states like MI with regulated utilities, utility charges are a function of cost plus a designated profit margin. When costs go up, rates go up. When rates go up, businesses move elsewhere and low income residentials need subsidies and bill relief further raising rates.

Wind energy has a higher MWH cost than coal, gas, or nuclear, period. And reliability requirements mean that utilities will need to maintain fossil and nuclear generation for days when the wind doesn't blow or sun doesn't shine.

So, basically, this is a case of out-of-state interests dangling promises of thousands of "green jobs". You see all of the new MI wind turbine factories that the "10 by 15" rule has made spring up all over the place - especially now that the Chinese got into the business. Not to mention the success of companies like Solyndra and First Solar. Bad idea.

Protect Our Jobs

What it says:
The initiative would add the right to collective bargaining for public and private sector employees to the state Constitution.

What it is:
A specific constitutional amendment that provides protection for unions against MI moving to be a Right To Work state, as IN recently did. Union leadership has realized that workers don't feel the need for unions like they once did, and that economies and employment in Right to Work states have grown - while businesses avoid MI like the plague. They're looking to insert themselves into the state constitution to eliminate worker choice - permanently. This would sacrifice the 83% of MI's workforce that is not represented as well as the 17% that is to protect union leadership. Bad idea.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 11:40 PM   #2
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Thanks for the info and heads up. Isn't it funny how the titles never match the content.

That first one is shameful as you stated.

I'll be voting against these. I'm a public employee forced into SEIU a few years back, before that we just had a small union that did a decent job. Unions now are just a big fat fundraisers for the DNC.

Public employees shouldn't be collective bargaining anyway. I mean really, I work for the taxpayers of Michigan, yet in our bargaining they don't have a seat at the table.
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 05:22 AM   #3
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Sounds like a bunch of bad ideas.
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 06:38 AM   #4
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great info, thanks for the cliff notes!!
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 07:03 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info and heads up. Isn't it funny how the titles never match the content.

That first one is shameful as you stated.

I'll be voting against these. I'm a public employee forced into SEIU a few years back, before that we just had a small union that did a decent job. Unions now are just a big fat fundraisers for the DNC.

Public employees shouldn't be collective bargaining anyway. I mean really, I work for the taxpayers of Michigan, yet in our bargaining they don't have a seat at the table.
moron
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 07:57 AM   #6
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My wife was forced to be an SEIU member for a while, and wow what a bunch of bozos. They were literally so wound up over who was going to campaign for their selected politicians (they were pushing Bonior over Granholm at the time) that they had no time for actual union business.

I agree on the public employees and unions. In the current form, they drive California behavior, where Gray Davis agreed to one ridiculously gold-plated contract after another in exchange for the army of public employees voting for him. CalTrans dump truck drivers getting $120K+ pensions with built-in inflation adjustments and zero out-of-pocket health/vision/dental for life.

I can support public sector unions, with the following adjustments:
1) Public sector unions cannot in any way, shape, or form - directly or indirectly - participate in, endorse, contribute, or make recommendations about the political process. Or in other words, the unions don't get to select or have influence over those with whom they negotiate.
2) Any form of compensation that exceeds the norm for the private sector (pay or benefits) must be approved by the voters at large in a referendum. Yes, defining the "norm" will be tough, but there's plenty of benchmark data available.
3) Public contracts must include language that allows for reductions in compensation and/or benefits in response to sustained reductions in tax revenues, meaning that when the economy cycles downward and compensation is reduced in the private sector, the public sector is affected as well - taxes are not raised in a bad economy to avoid impacting public employees.
4) Annually, pay for all public employees is to be published - including direct pay, and indirects like pensions and insurance costs. While names should be omitted for sake of privacy, the taxpayers need to have ready access to see what public employees make, to address persistent fallacies such as poverty-stricken schoolteachers and cops who are barely scraping by. Since they're paying the taxes, the taxpayers need to see where that money is going.
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 08:23 AM   #7
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My wife was forced to be an SEIU member for a while, and wow what a bunch of bozos. They were literally so wound up over who was going to campaign for their selected politicians (they were pushing Bonior over Granholm at the time) that they had no time for actual union business.

I agree on the public employees and unions. In the current form, they drive California behavior, where Gray Davis agreed to one ridiculously gold-plated contract after another in exchange for the army of public employees voting for him. CalTrans dump truck drivers getting $120K+ pensions with built-in inflation adjustments and zero out-of-pocket health/vision/dental for life.

I can support public sector unions, with the following adjustments:
1) Public sector unions cannot in any way, shape, or form - directly or indirectly - participate in, endorse, contribute, or make recommendations about the political process. Or in other words, the unions don't get to select or have influence over those with whom they negotiate.
2) Any form of compensation that exceeds the norm for the private sector (pay or benefits) must be approved by the voters at large in a referendum. Yes, defining the "norm" will be tough, but there's plenty of benchmark data available.
3) Public contracts must include language that allows for reductions in compensation and/or benefits in response to sustained reductions in tax revenues, meaning that when the economy cycles downward and compensation is reduced in the private sector, the public sector is affected as well - taxes are not raised in a bad economy to avoid impacting public employees.
4) Annually, pay for all public employees is to be published - including direct pay, and indirects like pensions and insurance costs. While names should be omitted for sake of privacy, the taxpayers need to have ready access to see what public employees make, to address persistent fallacies such as poverty-stricken schoolteachers and cops who are barely scraping by. Since they're paying the taxes, the taxpayers need to see where that money is going.
1) agreed
2) wholly agreed!! All this data you have shows public workers gettign paid more than the private sector is false anyways, so yes, bring the publng sector on par with the private!! I'm all for it!! Whats the going salary for a Master degreed worker in the private sector right now?
3) agreed, however once you start down the road of reduction in wages, expect a reduction in service, sorry but people shouldn't be forced to work for free, nor should they be forced to do more for less.
4) you can do that already...wages are public information and are posted, you just have to look for them
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 09:01 AM   #8
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3) agreed, however once you start down the road of reduction in wages, expect a reduction in service, sorry but people shouldn't be forced to work for free, nor should they be forced to do more for less.
generally I agree - having worked for local/regional government for most of my adult life, I know of a few people that should be forced to do more, for less
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 09:06 AM   #9
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generally I agree - having worked for local/regional government for most of my adult life, I know of a few people that should be forced to do more, for less
not only that, how do people that have never worked these type of jobs tell the people that do what they should be earning?
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 09:28 AM   #10
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not only that, how do people that have never worked these type of jobs tell the people that do what they should be earning?
well... if the State actually followed the Headlee amendment and actually fully funded all of their mandates to the local/regional/schools then it probably wouldn't be as much of an issue (other than the State would be more broke than it is)

that being said, a lot of Government jobs are viewed by HR types as administrative/clerical. EMT, Mechanic and Water Sewer guys all have a private equivalency or close enough match.

But yeah, there are definitely a few positions that require specialized certification, experience or both that have a limited pool of qualified applicants.

I'm to the point where my next step may again be private sector consulting.
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 12:52 PM   #11
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moron
Really, how so? No discussion, I'm just a moron? Oh wait, I get it, just berate and marginalize people with a differing opinion than yours. Seems I've seen that tactic somewhere else.

So I'm guessing then that you're for your tax dollars being bargained by unelected people who really report to nobody? Now you can see why public sector employees have such great benefits and retirement packages that the state can not afford. Think about it, you have state employees sitting across the table from SEIU representatives bargaining for the wages and benefits of state employees. Duh!

And this is coming from a 25 year state employee with a sweet ass retirement package. In less than 5 years I'll retire and draw a really nice pension and health insurance for the rest of my life. I can even pass that on to a surviving spouse.

Unions in general only do one thing anymore, make sure everybody is paid the same. It really hampers the ability of excellent employees to reap the benefits of excelling in their field without leaving where they are and trying to find a non-union shop.

And the only thing public unions should be are watchdogs for our safety, conditions and any unfair labor practices.
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 01:00 PM   #12
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3) agreed, however once you start down the road of reduction in wages, expect a reduction in service, sorry but people shouldn't be forced to work for free, nor should they be forced to do more for less.
Well, if people were forced to work for free they would be finding other work, come on.

Your job is not a right, nor is it guaranteed. You are performing a service for someone and being compensated for it. If the employer requires more of you then you either do it or find another job. Nobody is "forcing" anyone.
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 01:09 PM   #13
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My wife was forced to be an SEIU member for a while, and wow what a bunch of bozos. They were literally so wound up over who was going to campaign for their selected politicians (they were pushing Bonior over Granholm at the time) that they had no time for actual union business.

I agree on the public employees and unions. In the current form, they drive California behavior, where Gray Davis agreed to one ridiculously gold-plated contract after another in exchange for the army of public employees voting for him. CalTrans dump truck drivers getting $120K+ pensions with built-in inflation adjustments and zero out-of-pocket health/vision/dental for life.

I can support public sector unions, with the following adjustments:
1) Public sector unions cannot in any way, shape, or form - directly or indirectly - participate in, endorse, contribute, or make recommendations about the political process. Or in other words, the unions don't get to select or have influence over those with whom they negotiate.
2) Any form of compensation that exceeds the norm for the private sector (pay or benefits) must be approved by the voters at large in a referendum. Yes, defining the "norm" will be tough, but there's plenty of benchmark data available.
3) Public contracts must include language that allows for reductions in compensation and/or benefits in response to sustained reductions in tax revenues, meaning that when the economy cycles downward and compensation is reduced in the private sector, the public sector is affected as well - taxes are not raised in a bad economy to avoid impacting public employees.
4) Annually, pay for all public employees is to be published - including direct pay, and indirects like pensions and insurance costs. While names should be omitted for sake of privacy, the taxpayers need to have ready access to see what public employees make, to address persistent fallacies such as poverty-stricken schoolteachers and cops who are barely scraping by. Since they're paying the taxes, the taxpayers need to see where that money is going.
Agreed.

On #4, there's been a lot of info published on the state's website in the past few years. It's not complete yet but they're getting there. Base salaries have always been public, what's harder to find is overtime and benefits. I've seen technicians get more in overtime than their base salary. Now depending on the department that may or may not be justified.
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 01:18 PM   #14
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Well, if people were forced to work for free they would be finding other work, come on.

Your job is not a right, nor is it guaranteed. You are performing a service for someone and being compensated for it. If the employer requires more of you then you either do it or find another job. Nobody is "forcing" anyone.
do you want your doctor earning minimum wage? do you want your teachers earning that too? I'm all for cutting everyones salary but don't bitch when you get a crackhead teaching your kid how to add...and yes I think you are a moron if you think that people reguardless of where the work shouldn't have a right to collective bargining
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 02:13 PM   #15
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I didn't know doctors had their salaries bargained for, must be a damn good union. And of course I don't want my teachers earning minimum wage, don't be a moron.

Collective bargaining brings everybody to a middle ground, it doesn't reward the exceptional. There in lies the problem, we don't pay our teachers nearly enough to keep the really good ones in public schools, there are exceptions to that of course. Yes, unions make sure everyone has a decent wage but why should we settle on decent teachers or any public employee for that matter. Shouldn't we be striving to have the very best working for the public?

We're at the point now where we have enough labor laws to protect workers from a myriad of things. So now the only thing unions have left to bargain on are wages and benefits. Why not get rid of the wage cap that the unions have set and let performance be our guide.

I guess we'll just have to disagree..
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 03:23 PM   #16
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I'm all for performance based pay. IMO, Lumping everyone into the same pay scale promotes laziness. And I know that when I took my 10% pay cut years ago that if I had dropped my performance 10%, I would have lost the other 90%. Instead I chose the attitude that I would not make more money till the owners did and low and behold, after some time, I got my pay back and then some.
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 04:13 PM   #17
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I'm all for performance based pay. IMO, Lumping everyone into the same pay scale promotes laziness. And I know that when I took my 10% pay cut years ago that if I had dropped my performance 10%, I would have lost the other 90%. Instead I chose the attitude that I would not make more money till the owners did and low and behold, after some time, I got my pay back and then some.
public sector doesn't work like that...how do you base pay on performance of lets say teachers? Kids in Clarkston that some from a good background, stable family life, tend to have a need or desire to succeed. Kids that come from lets says Ponticrack, where they MIGHT have one parent, and I stress might, because who’s to say they are doing any parenting, anywho these kids who don't have any real desire to succeed, do you think they are going to do good at school? Is it a lack of effort on the teachers end? Should their pay suffer because they work in a district full of shit heads? How about your Police or Fire? What do those guys do that could be based on performance? How do you judge it? You are talking about paying based on performance when their performance is tangible. However try and live without them and you'll see exactly how important they are.
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 04:41 PM   #18
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I think any job description can fall into a pay scale range. Within that range a person can be graded based on attitude and skill. I don't believe that anyone should be paid top dollar just because they are the longest on the job. Using the example of Clarkston vs Pontiac, judging the quality of the teacher does not need to be based on the grade scales of the student. You said it yourself, it should be based upon a teacher's efforts and attitudes.

RE fire and police, I'd much rather have a young energetic problem solver working for me than an old frumpy guy who thinks he got passed by unfairly and holds a grudge. I don't claim to have all the answers but I'm a firm believer that a person shouldn't be paid the highest amount just because he has the highest seniority. There are people who are willing to go the extra mile and there are people who won't go an extra step because "that's not my job".
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 05:02 PM   #19
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I think any job description can fall into a pay scale range. Within that range a person can be graded based on attitude and skill. I don't believe that anyone should be paid top dollar just because they are the longest on the job. Using the example of Clarkston vs Pontiac, judging the quality of the teacher does not need to be based on the grade scales of the student. You said it yourself, it should be based upon a teacher's efforts and attitudes.

RE fire and police, I'd much rather have a young energetic problem solver working for me than an old frumpy guy who thinks he got passed by unfairly and holds a grudge. I don't claim to have all the answers but I'm a firm believer that a person shouldn't be paid the highest amount just because he has the highest seniority. There are people who are willing to go the extra mile and there are people who won't go an extra step because "that's not my job".
Going the extra mile is not always worth it, in fact you start doing that too much and people will begin to think that you SHOULD be going the extra mile. I'm not afraid of work, far from it...however I WILL not go the extra mile, I will do exactly what is expected of me. If I start picking up the slack where others left off, it promotes laziness on their parts, because they know someone will take care of what they were supposed to do for them, and secondly people will start expecting me to pick up the slack. And just because I won't go the extra mile, doesn't mean I have a bad attitude. What it means is I will do the job you pay me for. It will be done in an proficient manner, with little to no supervision, and it will be done right the first time. Why? Because I take pride in MY work..
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 06:22 PM   #20
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Going the extra mile is not always worth it, in fact you start doing that too much and people will begin to think that you SHOULD be going the extra mile. I'm not afraid of work, far from it...however I WILL not go the extra mile, I will do exactly what is expected of me. If I start picking up the slack where others left off, it promotes laziness on their parts, because they know someone will take care of what they were supposed to do for them, and secondly people will start expecting me to pick up the slack. And just because I won't go the extra mile, doesn't mean I have a bad attitude. What it means is I will do the job you pay me for. It will be done in an proficient manner, with little to no supervision, and it will be done right the first time. Why? Because I take pride in MY work..
I'm with Whiterhino on this one. While going the extra mile my bring more 'work' to your self, it also sets you apart from other people. In a non-union, performance based work place that means you go up the ladder. If your fellow employees don't want to go that extra mile they have no reason to complain when they don't get promoted.

IMO, a person that only does what they 'have' to do is lazy. I'd much rather have someone working for me that I ask to do something more and get a "yes sir, I'd be glad to" rather then "that's not part of my job, you're going to have to pay me more". Part of that is having the right kind of boss though. One that won't take advantage of you. But then there is the simple answer of "I'm sorry Sir, I don't want to add to much to my plate and sacrifice quality". And I honestly think that if you're the aforementioned 'set apart' employee, any smart employer would be willing to work with you.
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