Current Editorial: Why Prop 32 must be voted down

Current Staff

“Paycheck Protection Initiative” damages unions’ representation in politics

You’d have to be incredibly naïve to think that money doesn’t dictate politics in California. This year, corporations outspend unions nearly two-to-one in federal elections (254 million and 164 million respectively according to the Federal Election Commission). Which is exactly why California voters should vote no on Proposition 32, otherwise known as the “Paycheck Protection Initiative.”

Prop 32 would make it illegal for unions and corporations to take money directly from their member’s paychecks. This money is the cash flow that allows unions to stay alive.

“Defeating [Prop 32] has got to be the top goal of labor. If they don’t, they could become almost extinct in California politics,” Thad Kousser, political science professor, said on 32.

While the proposition also prevents corporations from giving unchecked money to politicians, the proposition provides plenty of loopholes. It would still let limited liability companies and titans of industry donate huge sums from their personal bank accounts. For example, Kansas based industrialists the Koch brothers; who gave millions to the Gov. Scott Walker led anti-union movement in Wisconsin, have poured $4 million into the Yes on 32 campaign.

Unions are an ever-shrinking entity in America, and certainly in California. While unions are far from perfect, their purpose is to give workers a fighting chance when it comes to fair pay wages and benefits for themselves and their families. To pass Prop 32 would take away their fiscal influence in the state legislature, and with it, their representation. Collective bargaining may even become extinct, echoing the recent labor protests in Ohio.

In a post Citizens United (the supreme court decision that allows for unchecked money to enter the world of political contributions) America, wanting to ban enormous money-based influences in politics is something that all states, and the country as a whole for that matter should endeavor to do. Society needs corporations to provide jobs for the wheels of society to work. But left unchecked, they could become a corrupt entity that will toss aside worker’s wages and benefits in pursuit of profits.

America and any democracy works because of checks and balances. Just as congress and the U.S. Supreme Court keep checks on the president, so too do unions keep checks on corporations and our elected officials. If society needs corporate leviathans, we must match their size and influence with entities representing the little guy, which is why Prop 32 should be voted down in November.