Prop 75 Requires Consent for Unions to Use Fees Politically
October 20, 2005 9:11 PM
According to John Travis, president of the California Faculty Association, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger does not plan on young people voting in this November's election, even though the decisions could have serious impacts on their education.
"Proposition 75 makes it more difficult for public employee unions to argue for an increased budget, if we have to ask for money to speak on behalf of the CSU." Travis said.
If Proposition 75 passes public employee unions, like the CFA at SF State, would be required to get consent from its members before using any of their fees for political purposes. Critics of the initiative, such as the CFA and the Alliance for a Better California, claim that its passage will make it difficult for faculty unions to negotiate for better contracts or raises in pay.
Supporters of Proposition 75, such as Californians for Paycheck Protection, say that union members who do not agree with the politics of the union are involuntarily paying for political stances or candidates they may not support. Dues and fees collected for health care and charitable contributions would not be affected by the proposal, called the Paycheck Protection Initiative by its authors.
The proposition's main supporter and author Lewis Uhler, president of the National Taxpayer Limitation Committee, has a long history of trying to reduce union influence in California, according to the committee's Web site. He has authored many initiatives aimed at spending over the past thirty years, and has been consulted by every republican governor in California since Ronald Reagan.
Milton Friedman, who won the Nobel Prize in 1976 for economic science, also supports the bill, according to the voter packets mailed to millions of Californians a few weeks ago.
According to Corey Cook, associate professor of political science at SF State, the people behind the current initiative, whom he called a well interconnected policy network of people, have long tried to decrease union influence in California and have been fundamental in everything from term limits to the recall election that ousted Gray Davis. A similar bill went to the polls during the 1998 California primary election. Called Proposition 226, it was narrowly defeated, and Cook expects that this time may be no different.
"Given that people are energized about (Proposition 75) it will probably be a similar result," he said.
Graduating students looking for jobs in the public sector, such as teaching and law enforcement, may have fewer protections under the new provisions than have been enjoyed in the past, according to Travis.
Cook said that if the initiative passes, the unions would lose a lot of political power and that a lot more organizing on behalf of the unions would be necessary. He is optimistic that SF State voters are informed and organized enough to make an impact.
"I hope that by the time the election rolls around, (students) avail themselves of the information," he said. "Many of my students tell me 'I feel like I'm being lied to all the time.'"
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