UAW's Bob King: 'Serious Wounds Have Been Inflicted on a Lot of People in Michigan'
February 6th, 2013, 6:33 AM
UAW President Bob King talks in a lengthy Metro Times cover interview about the governor, his union's political goals and "a huge mistake" in last fall's Proposal 2 push.
Gov. Rick Snyder doesn't "have any credibility with us," King tells news editor Curt Guyette, because of turnabouts on right-to-work legislation and other labor issues.
"He talks this moderation, but every extremist bill that [the Republican-controlled Legislature] passes -- there are one or two exceptions -- but overwhelmingly, he signs them. . . . There have been serious wounds inflicted on a lot of people in Michigan."
Guyette presses King on Proposal 2, the ballot issue rejected last November that tried to add collective bargaining rights to the state constitution.
"It was our leadership responsibility to try and head this [erosion of union rights] off. So we put together Proposal 2. We knew that we had an uphill battle in terms of polling, but we had a strategy of how to get enough majority votes to win. Obviously we made some mistakes in that process because we didn’t win. . . .
"We made a huge mistake in having three labor ballots. We had the emergency manager measure, we had Prop 2, we had Prop 4. We in labor should have figured out how to have one."
Looking ahead to the 2014 governor's election and legislative races, King -- the auto workers' leader since 2010 -- says:
"Our goal is to have Michigan government be more reflective of the values of Michigan citizens. . . . People don’t like the undemocratic way that they jammed things through and the lame duck session, they don’t like the extremism of the positions, how ideological the governor and the House and Senate have been.
"I think that there’s a real opportunity to recapture Michigan with people’s values. I think that our strategy should be much, much broader than Right to Work. It’ll be about how do we recapture the government, or how do we put in place a government that really is responsive to the values and principles of the broad majority of Michiganders.
"The fact that President Obama won Michigan by nine and a half points is really encouraging. . . .
"So they can spend all that money, but if we do our job of grassroots organizing and the mobilization of our memberships, and from all these different constituencies, then we can win. So I am encouraged and I am optimistic about 2014."