A website promoting Michigan’s pro-union “Proposal 2,” an initiative that would incorporate collective bargaining rights into the state’s constitution, claims hundreds of small businesses support the ballot measure.
However, according to a new report from Michigan Capitol Confidential, many of the businesses listed on the “Protect Working Families” website are there without the permission or knowledge of the business owners:
The specialty candy store Kilwins, for example, was listed on the website without the owner’s knowledge. This is all the more surprising considering the fact that it wasn’t too long ago Michigan unions were picketing Kilwins for using non-union laborers.
"What's the address that they got that on?" Don McCarty, president of Kilwins Candy Stores, asked in a phone interview with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. "Because that's absolutely not our position."
The MCC report continues:
A check of other businesses found that many had no public presence on the Internet or in web business data bases. One went out of business last year. Several were linked to activist websites, while some had no idea their business was listed on a Proposal 2 website at all. And some businesses that actively support collective bargaining in the state constitution did not want a union in their shop.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, with help from the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, visited a number of businesses on the "Main Street" list over the last couple of weeks. Nearly half were located in Macomb County on only a handful of streets.
To put it in political terms, what the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, with help from the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, found was the equivalent of dead people registered to vote.
"One of the things I could tell just by walking that block was that the Proposal 2 supporter who walked that block went door-to-door-to-door,” said Benjamin Yount of the Franklin Center.
Of the business owners who do recall signing something about ballot initiatives, many of them claim that they didn’t know that they would end up on a pro-union “Proposal 2” website, some say they didn’t know what “Proposal 2” was, and one business owner even claims she changed her mind after she found out what “Proposal 2” stood for.
However, that's not to say every business owner in that area is opposed to "Proposal 2." Some signed up to display a sticker in their shop's window to "support their union customer base."
"A sticker ended up in my window because they came door-to-door to businesses ... and they want you to support the union and everything like that," said tattoo artist Alvin Cardin. "Some things I support on the union, a lot of things nowadays I don't."
But even Cardin has some misgivings about unions.
"The union has gotten out of control and it has cost a lot of people businesses. It has cost a lot of people jobs. It's going to hurt the economy in some ways," he added.
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