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UAW-Moroun quid pro quo could backfire

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."    

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The Detroit Free Press reports that the United Auto Workers union - no friend to Governor Rick Snyder - is considering a deal with billionaire Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun - also no friend to the Governor.

The deal would involve Moroun helping the union pay for ads in support of Proposal 2, which would enshrine labor organizing rights in the state constitution.

In return, the union would throw its support behind passage of Proposal 6, which would require a vote of the people to build any new international bridge or tunnel.

Governor Snyder wants to see both proposals defeated.  He's pushing for  a new public-private bridge between Detroit and Windsor, that would compete with the Ambassador Bridge for business.

The business-friendly Snyder also doesn't want to see Proposal 2 pass.

But observers think such a deal, if consummated, could easily backfire on the union.

Neither Moroun nor the union have confirmed or denied the report.

Political analyst Jack Lessenberry spoke with Michigan Radio about the reported talks:

It would almost be like, in a way, the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939 -- two people perceived as being diametrically opposed to each other, making a deal for cynical calculations. 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."

Lessenberry wonders if Bob King, UAW President, is trying to send a message to Governor Snyder that the union can still be a formidable political enemy, despite its vastly reduced ranks.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.