Election 2012
1:18 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Teamsters local throws support behind Proposal 6, the bridge vote

Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun has secured the support of Michigan’s 5,000-member Teamsters Local 299 for Proposal 6.

Proposal 6 would amend the state Constitution to require a statewide vote before Michigan constructs or finances any new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles.

The Moroun-backed amendment is opposed to Governor Snyder’s New International Trade Crossing.

The Teamsters support comes after a promise from Moroun to use union labor if a second Ambassador Bridge is built.

The Detroit News has the story:

Teamsters Local 299 president Kevin Moore said Wednesday he is siding with the Ambassador Bridge owner because Snyder won't guarantee the use of union labor on the New International Trade Crossing that would be built under an agreement he brokered between Michigan, the United States and Canada.

The move is in contrast to an official announcement earlier this week by Bob King, president of the United Auto Workers, that the union would remain neutral on building a bridge between Detroit and Windsor.

King’s announcement came after reports that the UAW would support Proposal 6 if Moroun would help finance ads backing Proposal 2—the union’s attempt to enshrine collective bargaining rights in Michigan’s Constitution.

As Michigan Radio’s Tracy Samilton reported last week, the UAW received criticism for its suspected quid pro quo with Maroun.

Political analyst Jack Lessenberry suggested the move could backfire:

“A lot of progressive groups, a lot of people that normally support the UAW would be very appalled and turned off by this.  The union risks angering the auto companies, which have taken no stand on Proposal 2.  It's a very, very risky proposition.”

But for Teamsters Local leadership the agreement was a simple proposition.

From the Detroit News:

"I've asked the governor's staff if you're going to build the bridge is there going to be a labor agreement, and there's no commitment," Moore told The Detroit News on Wednesday. "I've met Matty Moroun and said: 'Will you make (a second Ambassador Bridge) a project labor agreement?' And he said, 'Yes.' I'm not getting that same agreement from the Canadians and U.S."

"There are 20 locals (and) they're all standing with me on this," Moore said about other Michigan locals willing to support Proposal 6.

Snyder spokesperson Geralyn Lasher said the Governor would not have the authority to decide who works on the new bridge and that Moroun cannot promise the union a second bridge.

From the Detroit News:

"Canada will not give (Moroun) permission, because the property where (the Morouns) want to do it is in a residential part of town," Lasher said. "If you can only build one side of a bridge, you don't have a bridge."

Lasher said any project's labor agreements would have to be negotiated with the concessionaire hired to build the bridge, or with the bridge authority that will hire the concessionaire.

- Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom