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Davis, California

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Proposition 32 elicits labor worker protests on campus

Labor workers are up in arms over Proposition 32, a self-proclaimed “Paycheck Protection” Initiative, more commonly known as the Stop Special Interest Money Now Act.

Opponents refer to Proposition 32 as the Special Exemptions Act due to its supposed initial purpose to create special exemptions for billionaire businessmen. The purpose of the proposition, according to the California Secretary of State’s Office, includes banning both corporate and labor union contributions to candidates, prohibiting government contractors from contributing money to government officials who award them contracts, prohibiting corporations and labor unions from collecting political funds from employees and union members while using the inherently coercive means of payroll deduction and making make all employee political contributions strictly voluntary.

The Constitution guarantees citizens the right to contribute to political campaigns in a voluntary manner, thereby making employee political contributions voluntary an unnecessary additive of Proposition 32.

“It is imperative that people get registered to vote because there are very important things for students on the ballot right now, like Proposition 30, which will very well determine whether education [will] remain affordable for many students on this campus,” said John Rundin, president of the local 2023 chapter of the University Council – American Federation of Teachers (UC AFT), a union that represents librarians and lecturers. “Prop. 30 simply must be passed for so many reasons, but from the students’ perspective, perhaps the most important thing is that theoretically it will help keep down the cost of higher education. I also hope people will realize that Proposition 32 is a scam; it appears to eliminate special interest money from politics, but in fact, all it does is eliminate our voices from politics.”

Proposition 32 allegedly aims to remove the power from special interest groups, stating that public interest is second to special-interest spending. The full text, published by the California State Secretary’s Office, specifies that corporations and unions contribute millions of dollars to politicians, pushing special interest agendas forward and burying public interests in the background. Opponents state that the measure provides special exemptions to corporate special interests and super PACs, which is in opposition to what Proposition 32 aims to achieve.

“The latest initiative to qualify for the 2012 ballot is thick with the earnest rhetoric of white-hat-wearing good-government reformers. It’s also dripping with cynicism. This may come as a shock, but the ‘Stop Special Interest Money Now Act’ won’t do anything of the kind — at least not in any way that is balanced,” said Dan Morain in a Sacramento Bee article.

“After decades of physical labor, workers who work on campus in [the] UC’s dining halls, dorms and hospitals deserve to retire with dignity and financial security. At age 60, after 20-plus years of hard work, they will retire with permanent injuries, unaffordable health care and an average retirement income of $18,000 per year. By contrast, UC President Mark Yudof can retire after just seven years of service to UC on more than $350,000 per year, with decreased health insurance costs,” said Nicole Rivera, Local 3299 Political Director. “Each year workers pay into their retirement account so that they can afford to stop working when they are old. The money is there for retirement security for all of us — stashed away in [the] UC Office of the President, hospital profits and the private fortunes of the Wall Street types who sit on the UC Board of Regents. It’s time for them to pay for a better university — students and workers have already paid too much. The UC can and should do better,” said Nicole Rivera, Local 3299 political director.

Proposition 32 claims to limit corporate and union political giving and offer a fair and balanced solution to curb political corruption. In actuality, the act does not prevent anonymous donors from forcing their hand in political outcomes, nor does it hinder the creation of front groups from making unlimited expenditures in support of candidates. Proponents maintain that Proposition 32 removes special interest money from politics.

GHEED SAEED can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


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