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This article is written on behalf of Ms.Tammy Sperle, former unionized State Employee. Ms. Sperle, who was a Mother to two young children, loss her life in late morning of February 5, 1996 while at work.

The public for the most part are unaware how all our public servants, whether those workers unionized or not, literally put their lives on the line daily to protect the public at large, deserve all our respect for the job performed.

On Tuesday, December 11th in lighting speed, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder with assistance of the State's Republican controlled House and Senate, signed  the "Workplace Fairness and Equality" Act, or otherwise known as the Right to Work for Less Law. Two versions of this statue was passed in the House and Senate, unilaterally applying to Public and Private Sector Workers.

Calls to give proper time for review of the "Right to Work for Less" bills by Michigan's House and Senate Democratic Caucus were completely ignored, along with a Republican plea by House member, Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R). Representative Lyons' husband is a State Correctional Officer.

Ms. Lyons gave a speech on the House floor Tuesday, pleading for her Republican House "leaders" adopt her amendment, seeking to shield her spouse and other State Correctional Officers from the "Workplace Fairness and Equality/Right to Work for Less" Law. Representative Lyons declared for the dangerous job Correctional employees perform, they should be exempt from the House Bill. Governor Snyder demanded Police and Fire Workers not be subject to the provisions of this law.

From M-Live December 12, 2012:

"State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto, was among right-to-work supporters quoted in The New York Times on Tuesday, Dec. 11, saying “this is the day that Michigan freed its workers.” But she also proposed to add corrections officers to the list of public employees - including police and fire - not covered by the right-to-work law. 

The amendment was gaveled down and did not come up for a vote. 

“When we talk about the brave women in police and fire we need to remember people in corrections,” said Lyons, whose husband, Brad Lyons, is a corrections officer. “These guys work in conditions that we can’t even begin to imagine. 

"It's not financial. It's philosophy. I am saying we need to treat our corrections officers that way we treat our police men and women and firefighter men and women.”
Ultimately, Ms. Lyons voted in favor of the "Right to Work for Less Law" for her Husband's and other State Correctional employees. Yet, it turns out if Rep. Lyons fellow House Republicans took just a moment and listened to 'tea-leaves' in her speech, they would've saved Governor Snyder and each of them personally, from years of lawsuits that will surely come.

As referenced in the Politicus USA article, it appears neither Governor Snyder, Michigan Republican House or Senate members, or any other elected official had inherent rights to dedicate collective bargaining terms of employment for unionized Civil Service Employees. Instead, Michigan's Constitutional Document of 1963 apportions the States' Civil Service Commission sole rights to set rules of employment for State Government Workers.


The commission shall classify all positions in the classified service according to their respective duties and responsibilities, fix rates of compensation for all classes of positions, approve or disapprove disbursements for all personal services, determine by competitive examination and performance exclusively on the basis of merit, efficiency, and fitness the qualifications of all candidates for positions in the classified service, make rules and regulations covering all personnel transactions, and regulate all conditions of employment in the classified service."
Michigan Civil Service Commission further defined its' authority over all State Governmental  Employees, in section 6 of the Commission Rules Booklet.

"6-1.2 Constitutional Authority
The civil service commission recognizes that there are fundamental economic, political, and legal differences between employer
 -employee relations in the state service and those in the private sector and other public sector employment. It is the view of the commission that constitutional provisions do not prohibit the commission from establishing a form of collective bargaining analogous to that in other public sector employment, so long as the collective bargaining agreements are subject to review, modification, and approval by the commission.
Uh Oh! We're not lawyers - nor do we play one on T.V.- but by reading the language above Governor Rick Snyder, Republicans in Michigan's House and Senate might have overstepped their authority implementing the "Right to Work for Less" law, with language contained in our States' Constitution.

Less than two months ago, Republicans across the state -including one who formerly ran for Governor and loss, Dick Devos- financed a defeat of Proposal 2 quest to Collective Bargaining as a Constitutional Right for Michigan workers. 
Governor Snyder, so angered by State Unions lobbying for passage of Proposal 2, he boldly cried this action played a primary role in "flip-flopping" his nearly two and one-half year position against advocating for Right to Work legislation in Michigan. 

The Governor has a law degree. Many Republican State and House Representatives are highly educated judicial counselors. One would think these highly educated attorney's and State Elected Executive and Legislative officials, should be able to read Michigan's Constitution along with the States' Civil Service Commissions' rules and statues just like we did, right?

Another important point we're compelled to express in this article is Governor Snyder's insistence of keeping police and fire employees out of his "Workplace Fairness and Equality" Act. Turns out at least for State Police Officers, he had no choice but to do so.


"State police troopers and sergeants shall, through their elected representative designated by 50 percent of such troopers and sergeants, have the right to bargain collectively with their employer concerning conditions of  their employment, compensation, hours, working conditions, retirement, pensions, and other aspects of employment except promotions which will be determined by competitive examination and performance on the basis of merit, efficiency and fitness; and they shall have the right 30 days after commencement of such bargaining to submit any unresolved disputes to binding arbitration for the resolution thereof the same as now provided by law for public police and fire departments."
Imagine the lawsuits that would have been immediately filed if Governor Snyder demanded his"Workplace Fairness and Equality" Act applied to all Police Officers, including State, County, City, Township or Village Law Enforcement personnel. The above language more likely than not be used to counteract Governor Snyder's perceived authority, hereby launching workplace discrimination lawsuits far and wide across Michigan. 

And what if local communities have rules or charter statues similar to Michigan Civil Service Commission; regulating exactly which entity control rules of employment for governmental workers? 

Does the words Eminent Domain ring a bell?

From Columbia University:

"Traditionally the power of eminent domain has been exercised for the construction of large public projects, but its use is beginning to be broadened to projects involving not ‘public use’ but ‘public benefit.’ The decision in Kelo v. City of New London, a case that came before the US Supreme Court in 2004, set a precedent for property to be transferred to a private owner for the purpose of economic development. The court found that if an economic project creates new jobs, increases tax and other city revenues, and revitalizes a depressed or blighted urban area it qualifies as a public use. 

This expands on a prior decision in Berman v. Parker (1954) which argued that the problems of large-scale urban blight need to be addressed with large-scale redevelopment plans and that land can be confiscated, and transferred to a private entity for a clearly defined public use."
Key term from the above paragraphs are 'Public Use and Precedence'. State income taxes, collected on the public behalf, pay salaries and benefits of nearly all State, County and Local government employees. These Employees in turn, service needs of the public and for work on behalf of the public use.

Eminent Domain is a term Governor Snyder, along with Republicans in the State House and Senate voting for the "Right to Work for Less Law" might be subject to in lawsuits filed on behalf of public governmental employees within Michigan's State, County and Local branches of Government, for years to come.

Will Michigan's Civil Service Commission use the authority this State Government Agency has apparently, protecting State Workers from Governor Snyder's "Right to Work for Less Law"?

Time will tell. Let hope for all State Employees who work for, and at times give up life as we know it servicing the public's will, the Civil Service Commission rightly stands up against Governor Snyder's highly questionable "law".
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    Michigan based Citizen Journalist Owner/Podcast host at Independent Underground News at and our weekly radio show Independent Underground LIVE at

    by kayla9170 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 05:30:06 AM PST

  •  PPP poll is tweeting that a new Michigan (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Gooserock, buckstop, kayla9170, Sylv, jacey

    PPP poll that it is in the field is showing that "Right to work" would LOSE in a referendum and Snyder's approval ratings have gone SOUTH.

    I hope that the Unions decide to go for the statutory initiative approach and put this before the voters in 2014.  It would LOSE.

    President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

    by Drdemocrat on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 05:40:47 AM PST

    •  They Can't Can They, Because of the Spending (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      provisions attached to the bill ?

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 07:15:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Citizens can try a Proposal Approach to Overturn (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sylv, jacey

        The law. It takes a minimum of 8% of the population signatures to place a proposal of this nature on the ballot.

        Michigan based Citizen Journalist Owner/Podcast host at Independent Underground News at and our weekly radio show Independent Underground LIVE at

        by kayla9170 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 08:45:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Right to Mooch! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, 88kathy, kayla9170, Sylv, jacey

    This is a travesty and an attack on our democratic rights.

    I hope legal reasoning that the law could be in jeopardy and ultiamately removed due to blocking debate and bloking people from learning about it has some merit.

  •  I don't see how the exemptions work either. (7+ / 0-)

    Exempting specific groups seems to me violate both equal protection under the law and bills of attainder. Am I wrong in that thinking? How can they legally exempt only police and firefighters?

    We were not ahead of our time, we led the way to our time.

    by i understand on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 05:49:02 AM PST

  •  I skimmed some MI SC cases yesterday, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kayla9170, Sylv, jacey

    and it looks like the legislature can't encroach on the authority of the MI civil service commission, which means that the law will be a nullity as applied to public employees.

    eminent domain is a different and inapplicable ball of wax, though.

    •  "public employees" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sylv, jacey

      s/b "employees covered by the commission."

      •  Exactly! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sylv, jacey

        The article clearly explains that Public Employees in this case are State of Michigan Employees. But, if County, City Villages and Townships have similar language (as the Civil Service Commission) in Charter Documents for their public employees; Governor Snyder has another problem implementing this "law" in those communities also.

        Michigan based Citizen Journalist Owner/Podcast host at Independent Underground News at and our weekly radio show Independent Underground LIVE at

        by kayla9170 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 08:50:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Putting the cart before the horse (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Step 1: Make prisons a whole lot safer for both guards and inmates through rational administration and sane policies.

    Step 2: Everything else.

    Why not make it safer for guards, rather than simply paying them more to put up with the current insanity?

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 06:02:21 AM PST

  •  Fact is that the original source of money is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kayla9170, jacey

    the U.S. Congress.  If there is not enough money to pay for public purposes and projects, then it's not because citizens haven't sent enough back, but because Congress hasn't appropriated enough in the first place.
    The schema which calls for the Treasury to distribute currency to the Federal Reserve and for the Federal Reserve to distribute the currency to subordinate banks so the Treasury can "borrow" it back, leaving a "cut" for the banks, is a charade.
    What purpose is served by this charade? It lets the Congress pretend that currency, which it is tasked with managing, is out of its hands, at the same time that it rations the distribution of money to reward friends and penalize the populace.
    This brings us to the question why the Congress is in a punitive mode, sequestering and rationing the currency. And the answer is quite simple. Rationing the currency is like restricting access to public information. It makes the legislators feel powerful.
    We may think of them as public servants, stewards of our public assets and resources.  But that's not how they prefer to see themselves. Congressmen, in particular, see themselves as rulers, wielders of two instruments to exert their will: money and the law.
    Since the purpose of money is to facilitate trade and exchange and the purpose of the law is to promote justice, using both or either to manipulate the economy to the detriment of the general population is clearly abusive. However, and this is what we have been slow to realize, our only recourse is to fire them. It's why we have elections every two years and it's also why the candidates for legislative office go to such lengths to disguise what their true intentions are. Who would be elected if they promised to waste public assets and reward their friends? No, instead, they have fallen into the habit of identifying some extraneous threat which they then propose to "fight," just so the electorate forgets that's not what they're being hired for.
    The promise to "fight" for grandkids who aren't yet born is most disingenuous. But, it also smacks of desperation. It means that the traditional "enemies" are no longer working as convincing targets.

    State legislatures are, btw, less blameworthy.  States do not issue their own currency. Indeed, our United States are now serving Europe as a model of what can happen when political jurisdictions don't issue their own currency. The Euro experiment is really radical. One hopes they soon figure out that disbursing the currency should be a purely ministerial function, like making sure weights and measuring devices are accurate and certified. After all, official currency is nothing more than a certified IOU--not unlike a marriage certificate, only much more numerous.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 06:11:25 AM PST

  •  Right to a living wage. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kayla9170, jacey

    Right to unite.
    Right to be an asset not an expense.

    Hey, GOP - Get In, Sit Down, Shut up, & Hang On!

    by 88kathy on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 07:55:16 AM PST

  •  Lightning speed? The true backstory. (0+ / 0-)

    "On Tuesday, December 11th in lighting speed, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder with assistance of the State's Republican controlled House and Senate, signed  the "Workplace Fairness and Equality" Act" -- kayla9170

    I live in Michigan, Kayla and here's what you neglected to tell readers:

    This whole thing started when the unions tried to pass Proposition 2 this year. This proposition was crafted by the unions and would have amended the state’s constitution to guarantee public and private-sector employees the right to organize and collectively bargain. Labor spent $21.5 million promoting it, and yet it lost by a margin of 58% to 42%. The people spoke. The unions lost. THAT’S what brought this issue front and center. And THAT’S what prompted Governor Snyder to do an about face on passing right to work legislation after pleading with the unions not to proceed with proposition 2. The only reason it was passed in a lame duck session was because Republicans had to wait to see whether or not Prop 2 would pass on November 6th.

    In essence, the unions were hoisted by their own petard. As for Michigan labor vowing 2014 election year revenge against Snyder and other Republicans, may they have as much success as they did with Proposition 2, and may they spend another $21.5 million of their members dues in the process. It will help encourage members to stop paying dues altogether.

    Btw, Governor Snyder has lead Michigan out of the deep dark deficits that were commonplace during the Democratic Governor Jennifer Grandholm’s tenure. In fact, he has created a $457 million surplus here in Michigan. God bless him.

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