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California Ballot Proposition 32: limits on union campaign contributions

November 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Proposition 39 is one of many controversial ballots Californians will be asked to vote on this Election Day. Proposition 32 would eliminate union's primary fund raising tool and deduct from members' paychecks for political campaigns. It would curtail unions and corporations contributions to political candidates. Unions strongly oppose it.

At the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor headquarters, volunteers prepared for the final push to defeat Proposition 32. They are stuffing folders, putting together lists to defeat a measure they feel is anti-labor.

"The only way we have a voice is if we can pool our money together and make donations in a way that will allow politicians who care about working families get elected," said Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner Steve Vetter.

Businesses and supporters of Prop. 32 don't deny that it's aimed at unions.

"This is frustrating," said John Kabateck, National Federation of Independent Business Executive Director. "Its gridlock that unions have created or that big corporations who get these special exemptions have created and the little guy is not being heard."

"If we don't go after how the money is spent, we will never turn around Sacramento," said Gloria Romero, State Director of Democrats for Education Reform.

But the unions and their supporters say they are under attack. They vow to fight Prop. 32. At the same time, they are urging support for Governor Brown's tax hike initiative Prop. 30.

"Unions can basically only collect money through payroll deductions whereas corporations can write checks because they have the money," said Johnny Harris of The National Association of Letter Carriers. "We're hourly wage earners. We don't have that kind of money."

More than 30,000 union members have volunteered to knock on doors, make phone calls, or otherwise work to defeat Prop. 32. By Election Day, they hope they will have contacted 3 million people.

In the next four days, there will be 400,000 door knocks in Los Angeles County alone from people against Prop. 32. That could also benefit Gov. Jerry Brown and his Prop. 30.


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