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This is the third part of a series of posts analyzing California's propositions:

What Does Proposition 32 Do?

It kills unions.


More below.

It's pretty simple. Proposition 32 is mainly aimed at weakening unions. It's billed as a campaign-finance reform proposition, but it's pretty clear that the main target is labor unions.

One facet of Proposition 32 aims to permit "voluntary employee contributions to employer-sponsored committee or union if authorized yearly, in writing." California unions mainly depend on automatic union dues. By making those automatic union dues voluntary, this clause would greatly weaken unions. That is, of course, the point of the proposition.

Another part of the proposition prohibits funds deducted from payrolls to be used for political purposes. As it turns out, about the only organizations that use payroll-deducted funds in politics are unions. The legislative analysis states that, "Other than unions, relatively few organizations currently use payroll deductions to finance political spending in California." Corporations don't use them. So while Proposition 32 supporters state that both union and corporate political spending will be limited by the proposition, in reality only unions are affected.

There are reasonable-sounding parts of Proposition 32. It limits, for instance, political donations by government contractors, which seems to make sense. Although the legislative analyst notes that those government contractors could be "public sector labor unions with collective bargaining contracts." So perhaps that clause is just another way to gut unions.

Even If You Don't Like Unions, You Should Still Vote No on Proposition 32

Most people reading this post, I suspect, are highly in favor of unions. Still, even a person who isn't a big fan of unions ought to vote no on this proposition.

It is true that there's a lot to complain about with respect to unions. Unions are very powerful in California, and it's understandable when conservatives dislike that fact. State pensions seem to have some hard-to-defend practices, for instance (which this proposition doesn't address). In researching for this proposition, I was shocked to discover that some workers (such as teachers) have to pay union dues even if they hate their union.

But there's a time and place to address these grievances, and that's not the proposition system. Propositions are meant for egregious wrongs and things which can't be fixed by the normal system. This purpose unfortunately has been subverted in recent years by the explosion of senseless propositions. Unions may be bad, or they may be good. But even if they do more harm than good, the proposition system isn't the place to kill unions.

So even if you're not the biggest fan of unions, like me, you should still vote against Proposition 32.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)

    by Inoljt on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 02:30:44 PM PDT

  •  Went down to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ParkRanger, rebel ga

    Fallbrook last weekend. I saw some 'No on 32' signs there (along with the Romney-Ryan signs). Nothing for the Congressional candidates, though.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 03:21:15 PM PDT

  •  One thing really confuses me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rebel ga

    Would that mean no payroll deductions at all for political activity, even if the employee authorizes or requests it?

    My spouse was an active member of the Amalgamated Transitworkers Union (ATU) for nearly 30 years until his retirement a year ago (he's now a retiree member). In addition to the monthly union dues, he also had $5/month deducted to go to the ATU-COPE fund, which was the fund used for political purposes; he authorized those deductions in writing every year. So would those separate deductions be disallowed?

    Also want to address this part:

    In researching for this proposition, I was shocked to discover that some workers (such as teachers) have to pay union dues even if they hate their union.
    Standard union dues are never used for political activity; they are used for the operation and administration of the union. IIRC, a small portion does go to the national (or international) office to pay for their administrative costs, but most remain at home to cover operations such as contract negotiations, filing grievances, ensuring proper safety practices, etc. (My background is mainly in the transportation sector, through my spouse; the local's Safety Committee worked with the transit district to find and retrofit buses with better driver's seats so that there would be lower incidences of drivers having to take early retirement due to back problems, for example.) It's only fair that if people are benefitting from the work of the union, they should help support it...and if they don't like the way the union is working, they can attend the board meetings and maybe even run for union office themselves.

    We're definitely planning on voting NO, but I just want to have some info to help educate his 80 year old mother when we get together to discuss election stuff in the next week or two.

    "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

    by Cali Scribe on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 04:46:42 PM PDT

    •  I'm posting voting info for anyone who needs it. (0+ / 0-)

      And some social service links (below).

      Vote And Encourage Others To Vote.  And; Please Vote Democratic, Of Course! Voting Info By State Registering to Vote and Voting Frequently Asked Questions ie Absentee Voting, Questions for Uniformed Services/Family Members, Questions for Overseas Citizens and many more.

      Polling Place Finder And Voting Info League Of Women Voters

      Verify Your Voter Registration Status. Rock the Vote's mission is to engage and build political power for young people in our country. Frequently Asked Voting Questions

      Voting Info From
      [Updated] Just The Links Man New And More Social Services Links For Civilians And Veterans

      [Continually Updated] Links For Our Marines All Our Troops And Veterans

      Okaciyap A food pantry and youth development program on the Cheyenne River Reservation.

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 07:19:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately, I don't know (0+ / 0-)

      the answer to your question. I would guess that even if the employee requests it the deductions for political activity wouldn't be allowed, knowing the main motive of this proposition is to kill unions.

      But I'm not entirely sure.

      by Inoljt on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 09:40:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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