Once again, a ballot initiative purporting to curb the influence of unions and corporations on elected officials has qualified for California’s November ballot. The initiative, pitched by proponents as the “Stop Special Interest Money Now Act,” would ban corporate and labor union contributions to candidates. More significantly, it would also prohibit corporations and labor unions from using funds collected through payroll deductions to be used for political purposes, hence “protecting” employees’ paychecks.
Similar initiatives specifically directed at labor unions were rejected by California voters in 1998 and 2005. But this time around, the initiative’s backers are hoping to sway voters by including corporations in the ban, disingenuously implying that prohibitions that impact all entities will impact them equally. This is misleading and ignores the reality of how unions and corporations currently participate in the political process.
Corporations very rarely use employee paycheck deductions to fund political contributions. Labor unions, on the other hand, rely on paycheck deductions as the primary means for political fundraising. The initiative would cut off the lion’s share of union fundraising while limiting only a negligible amount of corporate funds. The California School Employees Association has put together a fantastic fact sheet that explains how the paycheck deception initiative would silence the voices of public employees and increase the power of big corporations.
The League is joining public safety organizations and other labor forces throughout the state to oppose this measure. In the coming months, you will be hearing a lot more about this issue. We urge you to educate yourself on the deceptively worded initiative so you understand what is at stake. Labor fought and won this battle twice before and together we can defeat this paycheck deception measure once again.
On November 6, vote NO on the “Stop Special Interest Money Now” Act.
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