Tag Archives: union-busting

Vote No on Proposition 32: Union-busting

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.


California Nurse’s Association Prevent OH RNs from Joining Union

An Open Letter to CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro

This week, nearly 8,000 nurses and other healthcare workers in Ohio saw their dreams of forming a union derailed after the California Nurses Association (CNA) flooded the state with hostile organizers and bombarded workers with wildly false and misleading leaflets and phone calls urging them to vote against the union.

For three years the workers joined with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members, leaders and staff to form their union. They sent letters to Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) officials, mobilized community support, campaigned for fair organizing rules, and signed petitions saying they wanted to unite in SEIU. The effort resulted in ground rules agreed to by both the workers and CHP that were designed to put the interests of workers first-not the union or employer.  They called for quick elections without delays, equal access to information from both sides, and guidelines to ensure honest discourse.  

Because of the union-busting onslaught by CNA, the ethical, fair and democratic elections scheduled for today and Friday at nine (CHP) hospitals in Ohio have been suspended.

The following is an open letter from those of us nurses who were denied the chance to unite this week for better jobs and healthcare to Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association:

March 12, 2008

Dear Rose Ann DeMoro,

It’s hard for us to imagine how someone who calls herself a labor leader could purposely do what you have done to us and our families. You don’t know any of us. You have never been to our homes or met our children. You have never visited us on our shifts, or walked in our shoes. You don’t know a thing a bout the struggle that brought us to the verge of our dream to have a union. And yet without talking to a single one of us you send your bullying staff to come in and spread terrible lies for no other reason than to destroy what we worked so hard to build.

For three years we have worked with SEIU members, leaders and staff to form our union. We sent letters to hospital officials and mobilized community support for fair organizing rules. SEIU has supported and encouraged us through some very hard times, and helped us stand up for ourselves. We are caregivers-registered nurses and respiratory therapists, dietary and housekeeping staff, lab techs and other employees. SEIU helped us understand how we could do more by speaking with one voice and standing together for our families and our patients. SEIU respected our intelligence and our ability to make our own decisions.

You say you stand for democracy. But then you come in with a goal of destroying our campaign without ever asking us what we think about SEIU and our agreement for fair election ground rules-ground rules we now understand you have made use of many times in California.

You say you stand for justice. But then you deny us our opportunity for a fair vote free of misleading propaganda and scare tactics.

Our efforts to unite for better jobs and health care were not a secret. At any time during those three years you could have come and presented your union, compared yourself to SEIU, and asked us to make a choice. But you didn’t. So it is obvious to us that your sole intention was to destroy what we have built. What kind of organization sets out to destroy the efforts of the very people you claim to stand for, and then tries to pretend it’s a moral cause?

Here in Ohio, union organizers and representatives don’t behave the way yours do. They show respect for hard-working people. We have read all the words about how you try to justify this, but when compared to the needs of our families and the needs of our patients, they show a complete disregard for basic fairness and decency. You have brought harm to thousands of workers and families in Ohio, and you should be ashamed of what you have done.

Click here for a full list of letter signatories.  For more backround on the story you can read today’s articles in the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times.