2012 was a strong Democratic year but was it good for labor? Unclear. Since President Obama did not really make union issues central to his first term agenda, much less his argument for reelection, neither private nor public unions can claim any mandate from the national results. At the state level, unions won big in California, successfully persuading the public to pass Prop 30 and vote down Prop 32. The irresistible force of unions getting their way when it really matters thus overcame the immovable object of Californians' reluctance to raise taxes on themselves by initiative.
In Michigan, there was a split decision: unions successfully rolled back "Public Act 4," the law which empowered state-appointed city managers to override collective bargaining contracts (among other things). But they failed to persuade voters to pass Proposal 2, and make collective bargaining a constitutional right. The latter would have had massive legal implications, since the constitution of course trumps statute every time.
Public Law 4's repeal means that we may never get to know whether a truly aggressive state takeover policy works. The recession years are not the first time that fiscal crisis has been visited upon cities. What was special about Public Act 4 was Gov. Rick Snyder's effort to craft an intervention policy that was both general (as opposed to case-by-case) and which had teeth. But so much for that.
As for the good news, the 2012 Michigan results demonstrated voters' ability to decouple state and national issues. According to the most up-to-date information from the office of the Michigan Secretary of State, Proposal 2 lost with a 2,178,882 "no" vote. Mitt Romney lost with 1,790,256 votes. Thus, 389,000 voters who did not vote for Romney also voted against Proposal 2.