A Predatory and Misleading Campaign: Vote NO on Prop 32

Prop 32 is not what it seems. Find out why Eleanor Roosevelt would consider the campaign "predatory and misleading."

Many friends and neighbors who live or work on the Coastside are members of labor unions.  The airplane pilot at United, the check out clerk at Safeway, the nurse at Seton Medical Center, the teacher at the high school, the custodian at Hatch, the mail carrier, the electrician, our police officers and fire fighters all have a voice in their workplaces through their unions. Should these union members also be allowed to have a collective voice in our political process through their unions?  

Proposition 32 says “no.”  This proposition exempts powerful corporate interests, but imposes formidable barriers to unions.  It bans money raised through voluntary deductions from a workers paycheck from being used for political purposes.  Only unions rely on voluntary paycheck deductions as their source of funding, however.  Members of the one percent or the ten percent use profits, interest, dividends, salaries, and bonuses.

While dressed in the guise of “campaign finance reform,” Prop 32 will have virtually no impact on the campaign contributions of corporate executives, independently wealthy individuals, law firms or real estate trusts.  Corporate contributions to super pacs will be business as usual.

There is also a second shoe to drop.  If Prop 32 passes, then next year we can expect to see other anti-labor propositions like the Indiana right-to-work law further weakening private sector unions and the Wisconsin legislation to end collective bargaining for the public sector.  The workers’ ability to fight back will be stopped in its tracks by Prop 32.

In the US, workers having a collective voice in the political process is firmly rooted in the New Deal.  Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt believed that workers had a right to a voice at work as well as a voice in politics.  They also saw the two as strongly intertwined. They worked closely with the labor movement from local races in New York City to the presidential campaigns.  Mrs. Roosevelt saw unions as fundamental to the democratic process. She thrived on educating union members and rallying them to register people to vote, participate in conventions and campaigns, and get people to the polls on election day.

Unions began to contribute money to political campaigns, but then, as now, they were outspent by the anti-union forces.  By 1947 Mrs. Roosevelt concluded in her My Day column that while “labor today is stronger than it used to be, it is no stronger than organized capital.” In Prop 32 we have a fine example of what Mrs. Roosevelt would call a “predatory and misleading campaign.” 

Labor is joined in opposing this proposition by an alliance of organizations including the California League of Women Voters who say it is “unfair and unbalanced, restricting unions while not stopping corporate special interests.”  As a neighbor and friend on the Coastside and a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, I urge you to vote no on Prop 32.


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Quiptographer November 05, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Please vote YES on Prop 32 and STOP THE PAYCHECK THEFT by union bullies. This is what I personally experienced for many years: Against my will, every year as a union member (university technical staff), I watched the union take extra money out of my paycheck to be diverted to candidates or issues I might or might not agree with. The excess money withheld is called "monies non-germain to the bargaining process" and workers are legally allowed to reclaim them by law (1948). However the very act of asking for your refund pits the union against you. And if you tell your co-workers how to request their own refund you're labelled a trouble-maker by the union bosses, who aren't exactly known for being upstanding, friendly citizens. They ask you to "trust" them for a correct accounting (there's no entity overseeing this), and you might receive your refund six months later following a major ordeal chasing them down and risking your job security. So what it boils down to is unstoppable paycheck theft by union bullies, given to candidates you don't want to support. Any argument against this theft is pure boloney. There's nothing stopping employees from contributing money to a candidate. The only difference is that it will be the candidate of their choice!
Kevin November 05, 2012 at 03:20 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444443504577601664135014368.html I thought this article about prop 32's roots was very eye opening. Gloria Romero, a democratic reformer, is spearheading the movement.
Brigid O'Farrell November 05, 2012 at 04:30 PM
People vote to be represented by a union. The majority wins. If you don’t like the way your union is run than you run for office or support others who would better represent you. If you don’t want your dues money used for political purposes you can sign the form to stop this use. But if the majority wants their union to represent them in the political process then the majority rules. Corporations and wealthy individuals band together for political voice. They are not stopped by Proposition 32. Working people should not be stopped. Democracy is hard work on the job, in the community, and across the county. Brigid
Brian Ginna November 05, 2012 at 04:53 PM
National Writer's Union? That is actually pretty funny. Ms. O'Farrell is one who is for breaking the rules over and over. No surprise she wants groups like the Teachers Union to continue to ruin the state. Why do the Coastside Democrats do endorsements in non-partisan races? Because folks like Ms. O'Farrell use their control of a local group to do things that are not proper. Because they can. What a mockery of democracy.
Quiptographer November 05, 2012 at 06:48 PM
The unions are using forcibly-taken, additional paycheck money to guarantee their ability to keep forcibly taking it! CORRUPTION AT ITS WORST! I could use my $100-200 or more that they stiff me for every year to pay bills! California SEIU, as just one example, spending over $13M of excess withheld workers' money to defeat Prop 32. If you're an Independent, a Green Partier, a Republican or Libertarian, do you want your own paycheck being used against you to support union hacks? No! Stop the corruption!


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