Other Voices: Prop 75 not what it looks like on surface | TheUnion.com

Back to: Opinion

Other Voices: Prop 75 not what it looks like on surface

Since the beginning of the labor movement, Democrats and Republicans have battled over employee rights.

The Democrats have fought to establish and maintain a livable minimum wage, the 40-hour workweek and the eight-hour workday. They have fought to guarantee overtime pay, sick leave and maternity leave. Democrats have fought to establish stricter work safety laws to prevent work-related injuries, and they have fought to establish and maintain workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance for injured and displaced workers.

They continue to support the establishment and maintenance of labor unions so that workers can have health insurance, a retirement plan and a better life. If you enjoy any of these benefits at your work place, thank the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has stood in the “working man’s” corner through every battle, while the Republican Party has resisted every advancement the labor movement has tried to make.

After a century long history of being anti-labor, we’re supposed to believe that the Republican Party has suddenly had a change of heart and that Prop. 75 is about protecting workers’ rights. The Republican Party has never cared about workers’ rights and Prop. 75 is not a start. Prop. 75 is a classic case of political propaganda promoting the idea that it is about protecting the rights of workers, when the real intent is to weaken and lessen the amount of money that is donated to the Democratic Party via labor unions.

The propaganda begins with the very title that proponents have given the bill: “The Paycheck Protection Plan.” It’s as if these poor workers are getting money stolen from their paychecks by their big, mean union bosses.

The propaganda continues: “There’s a fundamental unfairness in California. Union members are forced to contribute their hard- earned money to political candidates or issues they may oppose. We owe them a huge debt for the work they do on our behalf. That’s why it’s only fair that public employees give their permission before their hard-earned dollars are taken and given to politicians and political campaigns.”

They want you to believe that they are looking out for workers and that somehow union members are helpless victims of their suppressing unions. The truth of the matter is that most union workers know exactly where they stand in the eyes of the Democrats and the Republicans. That is why union members have never raised concerns about where their union dues are spent politically. They understand that they democratically elect the union leaders with the idea that the leaders will act in the best interest of the entire union when dealing with collective bargaining and political activism.

Union members understand that their strength is in their unity and that their power is maintained by acting unilaterally, even if some personal disagreements may exist. Prop. 75 is an attempt to divide the unilateral movement of the unions and create an obstacle course of regulations in order to limit the ability and efficiency of union donations.

Because the Democratic Party has always supported labor, almost all union dues used for political activism are donated to the Democratic Party. That is the heart of why Prop. 75 is on the ballot and supported by the Republican Party. If the money was going to the Republican Party, do you think that Prop. 75 would be on the ballot? If it was about people’s rights, Prop. 75 would also be forcing corporations to get written consent from their shareholders before donating their money to political campaigns.

But the majority of corporate donations go to the Republican Party, so there doesn’t seem to be a need for concern for shareholders “being forced to contribute their hard-earned money to political candidates or issues they may oppose.” This proposition is not about rights. It is about money the Republican Party isn’t getting.

Union members are not helpless victims of their tyrannical union leaders. They know that it is their unions that have helped provide them with their middle-class lifestyle, health insurance for their families, and a retirement plan for their golden years. It is their unions that have provided them with a better chance at “the American Dream” and “the pursuit of happiness.” The union members are not victims of their unions; rather, they are victors because of their unions. When their dues are used for political reasons, they are used to support politicians that have always stood by their side and fought to maintain their way of life. If you really care about workers and their rights, vote no on Prop. 75.

Shane Valdez is a teacher who lives in Grass Valley.