Prop. 32: Striking fear in the hearts of union bosses

Sept. 24, 2012

By Katy Grimes

California voters have plenty of reasons to push for serious political reform: a statewide foreclosure crisis, unfunded pension debt of more than half a trillion dollars, and cities filing for bankruptcy. But the many elephants filling the room are the labor unions and special interests manipulating politicians like a masterful ventriloquist.

Just in the last 10 years, the California Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union, two of the most powerful and omnipresent labor unions, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying and political contributions.

But have no fear; voters have a chance this November to let their voices be heard. For many years politicians have sought political contributions from corporations and public employee, government unions, and then voted the way those special interests told them.

With California laboring under record budget deficits, rampant public employee abuses, five-star public pensions and bad public employees that voters can’t get rid of, Proposition 32 is looking like a knight in shining armor.

Pay attention to this proposition

Prop. 32 would prohibit corporations and public employee unions from making direct contributions to political campaigns. And, it would ban automatic payroll deductions by corporations and uninos of employees’ wages to be used for politics.

This would level the playing field of politics and give grassroots organizations and voters a political voice once again.

But expect a very nasty war with the unions and government-related businesses fighting this change. Opponents have already thrown more than $37 million into the campaign to defeat Prop. 32.

Total campaign cash Invest.png
Circle thum up.pngSupport: $8,800,000
Circle thumbs down.pngOpposition: $37,600,000

 

Monkeying with ballot language

After three different versions and a lawsuit, here is the final Prop. 32 ballot language, written by a California Superior Court Judge:

“Prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. Prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees. Prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees.”

The judge’s version is a far cry from the second version, given to Prop. 32 after it qualified for the ballot:

“Restricts union political fundraising by prohibiting use of payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Applies same use restrictions to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. Prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees. Prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees.”

It has become standard operating procedure for the California Attorney General to write grossly misleading ballot language on initiatives.

Brown and unions

It was then-Gov. Jerry Brown who first approved collective bargaining for state and local government employees. In 1975, he signed the Rodda Act for teachers’ unions. And in in 1978, he signed the Dills Act for other unions. Since then, public employee unions have become the most organized, powerful political force in California. And they dominate all Democrats in the Legislature, as well as Brown.

Yet Brown is proud of this, despite unions pushing government spending on benefits and pensions to the breaking point. “I’m very proud to have created this system that gave workers a choice,” he told members of the Service Employees International Union while running for governor in 2010.

Unions and Prop. 32

“Taking such payroll deductions for political purposes without consent is patently immoral,” Larry Sand, a retired teacher and school-choice proponent, recently wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed. “Why should a worker have some of his forced union dues spent on candidates or causes that he doesn’t agree with?”

Ironically, public employee union bosses are spending members’ union dues again trying to defeat the very reforms that voters want. As Sand explained, these union bosses aren’t spending millions of dollars because they’re worried that the elected officials negotiating their benefits will become accountable to rich people. They’re worried that politicians might become fiscally accountable to the taxpayers.

Unions have operated unaccountably in California for 34 years. The thought of voters ushering in accountability must surely strike fear in the hearts of union leaders. Otherwise they wouldn’t have already spent $37 million trying to defeat the proposition which would end the era of employee paycheck heists.

This is a list of the $100,000 and over donors to the “no” campaign as of September 17, 2012, according to Ballotpedia:

Donor Amount
California Teachers Association $16,452,509
SEIU/California State Council of Service Employees $6,788,969
California Professional Firefighters $2,601,580
AFSCME $1,634,725
California Labor Federation (AFL-CIO/Change to Win) $1,372,431
Peace Officers Research Association of California PAC $1,276,846
California School Employees Association $1,050,000
California Faculty Association $1,027,471
California/American Federation of Teachers $800,000
International Association of Firefighters $500,000
Professional Engineers in California Government $500,000
Thomas Steyer $500,000
California Statewide Law Enforcement Association $426,552
California State Pipe Trades Council $250,000
Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Public Safety First PAC $250,000
Peace Officers Research Association $250,000
Million More Voters (AFL-CIO) $245,516
Northern California District Council of Laborers’ Issues $150,000
State Building and Construction Trades Council of California $129,718
United Transportation Union $105,000
San Bernardino County Safety Employees’ Benefit Association $100,000
John Perez Ballot Measure Committee $100,000
United Domestic Workers of America $100,000
Union of American Physicians & Dentists $100,000
California Association of Psychiatric Technicians $100,000

The “yes” on Prop. 32 contributors include the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Charles Munger, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, the America Future Fund, and the Lincoln Club of Orange County.

Sand ended his op-ed with a Thomas Jefferson quote: “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.”

Here’s more food for thought from Jefferson: “Law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.”

24 comments

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  1. Douglas
    Douglas 24 September, 2012, 09:48

    “despite unions pushing government spending on benefits and pensions to the breaking point.”

    Even the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation agree that in actual dollar cost of employee compensation, public sector workers earn less in total compensation than equivalent private sector workers. And California has nearly the lowest per capita rate of public workers to population. So how are unions pushing spending on benefits and pensions to the breaking point?

    Very clever of those labor unions “manipulationg politicians” into 15% pay cuts for two years, increased deductions for pensions, and no raises for the last 5 years. Most state workers are taking home less pay today than in 2007.

    In 1998, they tried to ban contributions from unions and “foreign entities”. Didn’t pass

    In 2112, they tried to ban contributions from unions and “special interests”. Won’t pass

    In 2116, ban contributions from unions and same sex couples? What next?

    Reply this comment
  2. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 24 September, 2012, 09:55

    Even the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation agree that in actual dollar cost of employee compensation, public sector workers earn less in total compensation than equivalent private sector workers

    Dp your whoppers never end??? Shouldn’t you be workign at Burger King if you keep tryiung to serve those whopper lies up????
    Educate yourself son;

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/01/chart-day-federal-government-pay-vs-private-sector-pay

    Reply this comment
  3. Douglas
    Douglas 24 September, 2012, 10:24

    “POSTSCRIPT: Just to be clear, this study is for federal workers only, not all government workers. Other studies I’ve seen suggest that state and local governments show similar dynamics (high school grads paid more than private-sector workers, professionals paid less), but the difference isn’t as large and the overall impact on payroll is close to zero.”

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/01/chart-day-federal-government-pay-vs-private-sector-pay

    Reply this comment
  4. Hondo
    Hondo 24 September, 2012, 11:04

    FDR, the god to all democrats, was against public sector unions. And for good reason. Look at Kalifornia and Illinios.
    Hondo……..

    Reply this comment
  5. Douglas
    Douglas 24 September, 2012, 11:29

    “The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry. Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical,…..”

    He wasn’t against public unions, just militant unions. Specifically public union strikes.

    ” It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that “under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government.”

    Reply this comment
  6. Douglas
    Douglas 24 September, 2012, 11:36

    Unconfirmed information: For the last ten years, SEIU averages 10% non-germane membership. 28,000 members last year whose dues were not used for political purposes

    “payroll deductions for political purposes without consent” is not entirely true.

    Reply this comment
  7. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 24 September, 2012, 13:10

    Again, the truth!!
    Pay special attention KATY GRIMES!!
    Prop 32 was written to limit the voice of union workers and create special exemptions for corporate interests, giving the wealthy and well-connected even more political power to write their own set of rules.

    Prop 32 exempts secretive Super PACs and corporate front groups, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporate special interests and billionaire businessmen to support their candidates or defeat their enemies. The measure does nothing to prevent anonymous donors from spending unlimited amounts to influence elections.

    Prop 32 is NOT campaign finance reform, as its backers claim. The wealthy supporters of this initiative created exemptions for Wall St. hedge funds, real estate investors, insurance companies and other well-heeled special interests allowing them to continue contributing directly to the coffers of political candidates.

    Prop 32 would severely restrict union members in both the public and private sector from having a voice in our political process. As a result, teachers, nurses, firefighters, police and other everyday heroes would be unable to speak out on issues that matter to us all—like cuts to our schools and colleges, police and fire response times, patient safety and workplace protections.

    This measure would give corporate CEOs and their lobbyists even greater influence over our political system. Corporations already outspend unions 15-1 in politics. This measure would effectively clear the playing field of any opposition to big corporations’ agenda, which includes outsourcing jobs, gutting homeowner protections, slashing wages and health benefits and attacking retirement security.

    Non-partisan groups like the California League of Women Voters, California Common Cause, Public Citizen and Public Campaign, who advocate for policies that curb special interest influence, are urging voters to REJECT Prop 32. Public Citizen calls it “an attack on labor masquerading as campaign finance reform”. California Common Cause says it “will do more harm to California’s democracy than good.”

    The primary financial backers are retired CEOs and millionaires associated with the extreme right-wing Lincoln Club of Orange County. All of the primary funders of the measure would benefit personally from the exemptions created for certain companies and organizations.
    VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  8. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 24 September, 2012, 14:16

    Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop the public unions scams!

    Reply this comment
  9. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 24 September, 2012, 15:58

    Michael Holtzik, business columnist for the LA times wrote in so many words, “The perpetrators of this initiative must think you are stupid–really, really, stupid!” If the shoes fits, put it on, Katy Grimes and Rex the Wonder Dog!

    Reply this comment
  10. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 24 September, 2012, 15:59

    Name correction: Michael Hiltzik…….

    Reply this comment
  11. Luis Alvarado
    Luis Alvarado 24 September, 2012, 16:06

    The one the are most vulnerable to the power of Special Interest are the Latino community. They have to suffer for the unjust policies and laws that the Union controlled Democrats dish out from Sacramento. I agree, this proposition will equalize the playing field For all Cali residents, especially the Latino Community.

    Reply this comment
  12. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 24 September, 2012, 16:13

    Right on Luis!

    Reply this comment
  13. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 24 September, 2012, 21:52

    The unfunded pension figures are sky falling false spin—– your mortgage is due today in full—– oh noooooooo

    0 for 10 ™

    Reply this comment
  14. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 24 September, 2012, 23:23

    Pensions are not mortgages Teddy Steals, I know you like to spin, but you need to know what a mortgage is (actually it is called a trust deed in CA) and what pension is, they are mutually exclusive and your dumb comment is, well dumb, but we all know that already 🙂

    BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  15. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 24 September, 2012, 23:24

    $100 bucks Teddy- put up or move to MS

    Reply this comment
  16. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 25 September, 2012, 09:13

    he hates this –0 for 10 ™

    Reply this comment
  17. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 25 September, 2012, 10:05

    18-0 baby! Nov 6 🙂

    Reply this comment
  18. Accounting Avenger
    Accounting Avenger 25 September, 2012, 10:29

    It’s hilarious – and a bit depressing – to read all the comments from government union shills. Of course you’ll believe what your unions tell you. They can afford to hire the best academic studies money can buy, and the best propagandists on the market to spread the lies. Public sector workers enjoy TOTAL compensation that currently averages TWICE what private sector workers earn. Easily TWICE as much, by any honest analysis of the data.

    Sorry, guys. You aren’t worth twice as much as the people who pay you. Unions in the public sector should be illegal. And you are not “working people.” You are grossly overpaid professionals who, because of your unions, are unaccountable for your job performance and economically exempt from the financial challenges facing the rest of us.

    Reply this comment
  19. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 25 September, 2012, 11:33

    Accounting ave says,
    Public sector workers enjoy TOTAL compensation that currently averages TWICE what private sector workers earn. Easily TWICE as much, by any honest analysis of the data.
    =================
    Ahhhh, but when the economy is good and on track the private sector workers compensation is 20 times more than any public employee!! Like my realtor neighbor who was making 500k a year doing nothing! People like you avenger were probably looking down on public employees snubbing your nose at us while things were booming for ya,huh!! Sounds like you should take your fight to the corporate world who is raping you and the workers while they continue to prosper. So go join a union or take a look in the mirror at your own decisions that led you to the bitter state your in!!!

    Reply this comment
  20. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 25 September, 2012, 13:56

    LOL Poodle– prove you’ve won 18 by posting the archives out here as I did for most of your famous losses! 0 for 10 ™

    Remember your 3 predictions that the cops and firemen would lose the OC case?? I think you may have forgotten those…little fela

    Reply this comment
  21. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 25 September, 2012, 14:08

    18-0, 19-0 on November 6, 2012 BABYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!
    🙂

    Reply this comment
  22. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 25 September, 2012, 14:13

    Ahhhh, but when the economy is good and on track the private sector workers compensation is 20 times more than any public employee!!
    Totally 1005 false ntheoc.

    Median private sector salary has not been over $31K in the state-EVER. From 2000 when it was $31K-2011 where I think it is now $29K, it has NEVE been higher than the average trough feeder.

    In fact the LOWEST comped employee working for UC are paid 33% MORE, $39K, than the states median pay, $29K-$31K.

    You troughies have no clue about the real world b/c you have lived in Fantasyland your whole entire life.

    Reply this comment
  23. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 25 September, 2012, 14:13

    100% false-wish we had an edit button.

    Reply this comment
  24. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 25 September, 2012, 14:16

    Like my realtor neighbor who was making 500k a year doing nothing!

    My 17 year old neighbor made $1.5 million doing loans, working part time=only 10 hours per week, your neighbor MUST have been lazy 🙂

    Everyone in CA real estate made at least $1 million from 2000-2008, all 500,000+ PLUS brokers and sales persons in this state. I know it must be true b/c ntheoc says it is 😉

    Reply this comment

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