Labor Research Intern
The proposed state constitutional amendment
known as "Reform Michigan Government Now" is finally receiving much-needed
public scrutiny following the Mackinac Center’s publication yesterday of
a PowerPoint presentation posted online by the United Auto Workers Region 1‑C. The presentation was shockingly blunt in describing how the RMGN proposal borrows populist reforms as a Trojan Horse for "changing the rules of politics in Michigan to help Democrats."
One of the most gratifying aspects of this
incident is seeing the efforts of one of our interns pay off. Jim Vote, a
graduate student at Wayne State University serving as our labor policy intern
this summer, came across the presentation on the UAW Region 1-C Web site while
he was doing background research for a paper on union financial disclosure.
That research was the sort of tedious, though
important work that our interns are sometimes assigned. Jim had the presence of
mind to save a copy of the presentation and remind me of it later during a lull
in the process of researching and writing our union finance paper. His care on
an "off-topic" issue was very fortunate for us: The presentation was removed
from the UAW Web site shortly afterward.
Jim’s take on the presentation and the RMGN is
that it was a partisan effort to distract voters from real reform — an important point
he made in a blog post. When I finally had time to review the PowerPoint
more closely myself, I nearly fell out of my chair at the document’s
forthright description of RMGN as a partisan maneuver. We looked through the
file to check its authenticity and found a cached Web page that verified the UAW
Region 1-C had indeed posted a PowerPoint presentation meant to encourage their
members to support the initiative. A spokesperson for the UAW has since
acknowledged that the document was on their Web site, and the file’s veracity
has not been questioned.
Pat Wright, the Center’s senior legal policy
analyst, and I introduced the document to the people of Michigan
in a radio interview on Thursday, and the rest will soon be a part of
Michigan political lore. But none of this would have happened if it hadn't been
for the efforts of a sharp and diligent intern.
Paul Kersey is
director of labor policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research
and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich. Permission to reprint
in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the Center
are properly cited.