Voters twice rejected initiatives to silence our voices. Now, the billionaires are back with Prop. 32.
Proposition 32 may seem like a remake of a bad movie to many voters. Voters have twice rejected other versions of this same effort to cripple the ability of working people to organize.
In 1998, then-Gov. Pete Wilson supported Proposition 226, which was defeated when 53 percent of the voters cast “no' ballots.
In 2005, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called a special election to ram through a series of measures, including Proposition 75. Again, that measure was rejected by 53 percent of voters.
Both times in the past, there was an anti-labor governor who raised money from wealthy conservative political donors and business leaders. In 2012, those same wealthy special interests, including out-of-state billionaires, are supporting Proposition 32.
As the League of Women Voters and other good government groups point out, Proposition 32 is deceptively written to appear as if it promotes political reform. In reality, Proposition 32 cripples the ability of working people to raise money for political purposes but leaves wealthy donors, trade groups and other special interests and the super PACs untouched.
Yvonne R. Walker, Local 1000 President:
Let's make this election strike three for the special interests. Proposition 32 is a misleading power grab by wealthy, powerful people and groups who want to rewrite the rules in their favor.
Over the years, state employees have won at the ballot box, in the Legislature and at the bargaining table, but our gains can all be lost if Proposition 32 passes and state workers lose the ability to compete politically.
Margarita Maldonado, Vice President for bargaining:
We need to stop Proposition 32 now because if we don't these same wealthy special interests will most likely try to use the electoral process to cut our pensions in 2014.
State workers have always been active in politics. For more than 80 years, state workers have joined together at election time to support initiatives that help the state operate more efficiently and benefit working families. In 1930, state workers won voter approval for the measure that created CalPERS. Two years later, California voters approved a measure to create the civil service system so that all state workers no longer had to depend on the whims of politicians for their jobs.
This article originally appeared on the SEIU 1000 website.