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Labor tries new tactic after setbacks in Michigan

Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – Rust Belt labor unions that have suffered defeats in recent years hope a November ballot referendum in Michigan will help reverse their fortunes.

The measure would place collective bargaining rights for public and private employees in the state constitution.

Several other states have similar constitutional guarantees, but this is the first time it’s been attempted by ballot initiative.

If successful in Michigan, supporters say the measure could provide a model for activists elsewhere.

Backers are unhappy about recent moves by Republican-controlled legislatures to curb union power, including a Michigan law enabling emergency managers to void union contracts in financially distressed cities.

Opponents say labor wants to undo elections that didn’t go its way.

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