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Defeat Arnold’s Prop. 75: Apply It To Corporations

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Want to see Arnold Schwarzenegger and his corporate cronies flip-flop faster than John Kerry at a gay marriage rally? Want to know what is REALLY behind Prop. 75?

What is good for the goose is good for the gander, right? If the Governator thinks Prop. 75 is such a good idea for unions, ask him whether he supports applying the same principle to corporations, too. Proposition 75, at its core, is designed to hurt the clout of the unions and strengthen the corporate hand, so Arnold and his supporters are hypocrites who will not back this proposal, even though it is the fair thing to do.

Prop. 75 wants to impose internal requirements on the unions to take majority votes of their members before they take political action. Contentious matters internal to the union will become expensive, time consuming, and wasteful. The unions will be hamstrung, frozen in place, and unable to act –when that is precisely what they need to do in certain scenarios.

Whether Prop. 75 passes or fails, the best answer is to begin an all out push in California to impose the same requirement on corporations that Schwarzenegger and his corporate cronies are now trying to push onto unions.

Alphaliberal.comIt is time to take dirty money out of California politics. There is no disconnect between union activities and the best interests of its members that requires majority votes every time the union wants to act. There is a simple solution. If union members don’t like what the union is doing and don’t think the union is acting in their best interest, they are free to leave the union and join up with any employer they want. They are free to join Wal-Mart if they feel that is who will look out for their best interests.

The real problem in California is the influence of corporations, not the strength of the unions. There is a real disconnect between corporate interests and the interests of the people of California. Imagine this, a large multi-national corporation throws millions of dollars into a political campaign to abolish personal bankruptcy for Californians who have hit on hard times — not caring that most of the bankruptcies are caused by catastrophic illness and a lack of affordable healthcare. At the very same time the very same company is pumping millions of dollars into political campaigns designed to weaken the health care for California’s workers.

Do you think the shareholders of that corporation (a large portion of which is made up of union members) should be able to take a vote too, before the company uses their money to fund a campaign designed to harm their interests? Unions are already working to qualify an initiative that would bar corporations from making political donations without prior shareholder approval. As major corporate shareholders, union pension funds could use that power to blunt the political influence of big business in California. Turnabout is fair play.

There is no problem between the interests of union members and leaders that requires a multi-million dollar ballot fight to interfere with the freedom of the union. There is a HUGE problem with corporate money, unchecked, being used to promote politics that hurts ordinary Californians. When these corporations are owned by shareholders and union members you are darn right these corporations should be required to receive approval from their members before throwing millions into harmful political campaigns.

I wont hold my breath waiting for Arnold to do what is right and fair. Luckily the unions aren’t waiting either but are already starting to take action.

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Balletshooz  blogs at Alpha Liberal.

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  • http://www.thebluesmokeband.com Brian Sorrell

    I agree that prop 75 should be defeated, but an important clarification is that it only applies to public service unions. For those not familiar with the proposition:

    Prohibits using public employee union dues for political contributions without individual employees’ prior consent. Excludes contributions benefitting charities or employees. Requires unions to maintain and, upon request, report member political contributions to Fair Political Practices Commission.

    Further information is available here:

    Proposition 75

    The argument in favor of the proposition is weak. A parallel statement could be that I should be able to withhold my tax money when it goes to the salary of an elected official for whom I did not vote. If one does not want to contribute to the position of the public service union, there is always the option of not joining.

    That’s my $.02.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    It is time to take dirty money out of California politics… There is a simple solution…

    It’s time to take the dirty money out of politics, period. California isn’t nearly as crooked as Louisiana, Chicago and Rhode Island. As far as unions go, they’ve lost all credibility in my book. Union leaders have been in bed with crooked politicians for several generations. As a matter of fact, the union that represented the court employees in Rhode Island was very much at the heart of racketeering activities. I don’t know if they still are in control there, but there was a time when that particular union was viewed as a satellite office for organized crime. Union activities in Cook County are legendary. And, unions may not be a very big problem in the Bayou, but we’ve all seen how political corruption has affected the poor folks in New Orleans.

    There is a simple solution. Get informed. Shut off The Apprentice and read the local newspaper. If a local union is solidly endorsing a political candidate, search for the ulterior motive. It’s there, you just have to find it. If you’re a union member, ask questions! Go to the monthly meetings! The rank and file union members are paying for their leadership. Don’t let the union officials baffle you with their bullshit. You’re paying damned good money for these people to represent YOU.

    We’ve dicussed poor voter turnout so much that we glance over those posts these days. Politicians at all levels of government have tried to maintain their strongholds and monopolize the “power”. Knowledge is power, my friends. The more we know, the less they are likely to screw us over.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Thanks for making me aware of Prop. 75. It sounds like a great idea and similar legislation should be pursued nationwide. It’s about time something was done about the stranglehold unions have on their members whose wishes and best interests are often ignored as the union leaders pursue their own profits and dubious political agendas.

    Contrary to your title, rules exactly like this DO apply to corporations. The SEC has requirements which protect the voting righs of stockholders so that the company’s officers are answerable to them.

    Dave

  • Maurice

    Unions need to end now.

    We have such a labor shortage in the tech field that we are now lowering our standards for hiring. All the job postings at my company read ‘…with a 4 year degree or equivalent’. We are importing India one programer/engineer at a time. I have one white guy in my group. We call him ‘token’.

    My claim is that unions foster laziness and lack of ambition. If we abolish unions we will let market condions help people to decide to stay in school longer or get trainning from a vocational school.

    Unions need to end now.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Maurice, we can’t get rid of unions. Anyone has a right to join private groups of their choice. What we have to do is level the playing field and make sure that unions don’t have coercive ability to force people to join them, to close shops to non union workers, and to exploit their members without their consent. Unions are just fine, but they need to be run fairly and openly.

    Dave

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    For that matter I have no problem ensuring corporations and unions both have to live under these rules. I do think the unions need to be checked a little bit.

    Things don’t happen in a vaccuum so unions have interests in the political process but I would much rather see unions focus their efforts on ‘the job at hand,’ if you will.

  • Maurice

    I can dream can’t I?

    American companies are paying a competitive wage that helps to kill union memebership. My company starts people out at over $10 an hour with many opportunities for advancement and trainning on site. We have a bonus program distributed quarterly to every person in the company. We are non-union.

    I stand by my earlier statement that unions foster laziness and lack of ambition.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Unions don’t foster laziness and lack of ambition; rather they perpetuate cronyism, political corruption and the incessant greed for hanging on to immense power. There is a need for collective bargaining in some cases. There’s also a need to demolish the power-mad, corrupt infrastructure of union leadership in ALL cases. In a a commentary last week in the NY Post, there’s talk that the Feds Fear a Mafia Rebirth. I have a more important question, when the hell did the Mafia die to begin with?

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    Unions are (like most things in life) a mixed bag. Yes, I do believe they have allowed some shiftless and incompetent people to linger and at times even flourish. I also believe they helped people find a power they didn’t know they had.

    I also think Silas makes a great point about what power does to a person or organization.

  • Mike Kirchubel

    Equality is Essential for Democracy

    I’ve got to confess, I occasionally yell helpful driving suggestions to others on the road; I often talk back to newscasters and politicians on TV; and I always wish I could add my comments on-line to the letters to the editor. Polite people say that opinions are like elbows, everybody’s got one (or two.) While it’s good to be passionate, small, differing opinions can divide an otherwise cohesive populace. Wedge issues are used by political strategists to splinter us into opposing groups and divert our attention from the big issues that most of us would agree on.

    For example, Americans generally believe in fairness at the polls. Almost everyone would agree that all registered voters should be allowed to vote, their votes should be counted, and there must be a paper trail for verification. Or, how about this: Both sides of a proposition must be allowed to present their case to the voters. That’s pretty much a no-brainer too, but Proposition 75 was put on the November ballot simply to silence some of Governor Schwarzenegger’s harshest critics: our nurses, teachers, police, and firemen, by cutting their political contributions. When you slash funding from only one side of a debate, the other side has a distinct, unfair advantage. Money buys votes.

    I agree that we need to reduce the big buck contributions that fuel our politicians, but let’s be fair about it. I would fully support a proposition limiting the total dollar amount contributed by any individual, corporation, or union to $1,000 per year. With a level playing field, maybe our politicians would start to care more about us, their constituents, than the corporations currently bankrolling their campaigns.

    Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts have all passed clean money legislation and the difference is astounding: In 1998, before clean money, 79% of Arizona’s political races were decided simply by the number of dollars raised. In 2002, after clean money legislation, that number was reduced to 2%. (Google, “clean money.”)

    While the perennial argument from the rich is that limiting political contributions limits their freedom of speech, I seriously doubt that our founding fathers wanted our First Amendment to be used as a pretext so that their children’s children could be subjugated by this aristocracy based on wealth when they fought so hard to free themselves from an aristocracy based on heredity. I think most Americans – past and present – would agree: Equality is essential for democracy.
    Mike Kirchubel

  • http://mtaubenheim@charter.net Michael

    Public employees need to be unionized. Market pressures don’t effect jobs like teaching, nursing and law enforcement. If it weren’t for the strength of these unions all of these jobs would pay far less than they do now because people hate to pay taxes. The problem is there is no product with an easliy determined value that you can associate with most pubic sector jobs. That’s why they have become public sector jobs all over the industrialized world. The private sector cannot do them.
    Stop thinking like children. If you believe public sector employees are overpaid you are ignorant. Teachers overpaid? It feels strange to even think it.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Market forces certainly do effect nursing. Agencies are scouring the country looking for qualified nurses to hire away from their current jobs for higher wages. We’re even importing nurses from other countries to fill the desperate need for them.

    Dave

  • http://mtaubenheim@charter.net Michael

    We are importing nurses because we refuse to pay them what they’re worth. LA Unified and some other districts are importing teachers from the Phillipines. Is outsourcing really the answer if the question is, “How do we provide the best education possible to our children?”.
    A starting teacher where I live after attaining a BA, completing one year of credentialing classes and serving a “you pay to work” six month apprenticeship earns $34,000 a year. Raises are $1,100 per year for the next fourteen years. The median home price here is $600,000 dollars!
    Prop. 75 is about shutting up the union so school funding can be further decreased and our pensions can be drastically cut. We have a nice pensin now but unlike most pensions we are denied social security benefits even if we have enough into it over the years. I put myself through college and have been working since I was fifteen. I qualify for SS but will get zip because I became a teacher.