Paycheck Deception Qualifies for November Ballot

Measure would cripple California’s left

by Brian Leubitz

Back in the Special election in 2005, Gov. Schwarzenegger and his cronies tossed a series of stink bombs onto the ballot.  But for today’s purposes we are looking directly at Prop 75, titled “Union Dues – Political Contributions.”  Basically, it required that unions get written permission, every year, before they can use union dues for political contributions.  In other words, it went right at the heart of the Democratic coalition.  That went down, but not before it picked up almost 47% of the vote.

Fast forward to today, where we have an even more odious measure, both in consequence and sheep’s clothing:

The fight over unions using members’ dues to fund political spending is headed back to the ballot next year.

A proposed initiative to block unions and corporations from using automatic payroll deductions for political purposes has made the cut to go in front of voters next November, the secretary of state announced today.. The measure, backed by GOP groups, also bans labor unions, corporations and, in some cases, contractors doing business with state government, from making contributions to candidate-controlled committees. (SacBee)

This is basically the same thing, except this time it completely eliminates the use of dues money for political campaigns.  This means candidates and initiatives.  No written permission will allow those expenditures if this passes, so this one is quite a bit more powerful.

But to cover that up a bit, they added in a bit about “corporations.”  You know, corporations won’t be able to spend money on candidates.  Sounds great, but in reality, corporations don’t really focus money on candidate-controlled committees these days anyway. They go straight to IEs, where they can choose how the money gets spent while giving unlimited sums.  

And when is the last time that corporate contributions came from payroll deductions.  The idea is simply ludicrous and a total non sequitur.  Corporate money comes from the corporate treasury itself, not from the employees.  This money is coming from shareholders, not employees, so payroll deductions are not even applicable in that case.

Expect to see much interest in this one.  Leaders from business organizations, even supposedly moderate groups, such as the the Bay Area Council, have jumped all over this.  They don’t like unions, and are happy to do whatever they can to get rid of their influence in politics.  And this will do exactly that.

CORRECTION: The Bay Area Council has come to no official position on this measure, rather they endorsed the Governor’s three measures in 2005. I apologize for my imprecision in the previous paragraph.

47 thoughts on “Paycheck Deception Qualifies for November Ballot”

  1. 50% of the CTA’s membership are either Republican or Decline to State but 100% of their political contributions go to Democrats.  This is corrupt, unjust, and needs to be fixed.

  2. As a cursory observation from a lawyer, I followed the links to get the actual language of the initiative, and it seemingly bans a nationwide corporation or labor union doing business in California from making out-of-state political contributions.  Thus, it could become unlawful for, let’s say, AT&T to make political contributions in other states.  Such a state prohibition may run afoul of the U.S. Constitution and the somewhat recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on political related activities of corporations.

    On the other hand, maybe the drafters were being real sly knowing that any “outside of California” prohibition was a “throw away” issue to garner broader support for the initiative.  Perhaps the predominant true goal is forcing employees and/or union members to make any political contributions by separate check which would no doubt generate a lower total receipts than what is “automatically” deducted.  The current recipients of those paycheck deductions may not like it, but it does not seem to be a patently unreasonable prohibition given the coercive workplace dynamics.

  3. How much do Union Leaders think giving will drop if it is not automatic?

    Union Members must be able to opt-out, right?

    I’m sure I sound like a rube, apologies up front.

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