Bluff Called on Corporate Deception in California

by Allison Padgett  |  May 23, 2012

Corporations and the super-rich are pushing a California ballot measure that they say is about good government reform. Of course it’s really just another attempt to silence the voices of working families. A leading, good government organization in that state, California Common Cause, opposes it and urges citizens to vote no on the measure in November.

The Special Exemptions Act bans union members from making voluntary payroll deductions for politics, while still allowing unlimited political spending by corporations. It’s about tipping the balance of power in state government even further in favor of big business, at the expense of working men and women.

“This initiative would result in significant undue advantages for one set of interests over another that we believe will do more harm to California's democracy than good,” California Common Cause said in a statement. “We urge voters to vote ‘No.’” 

Nationally, Common Cause is a key player in exposing the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a shadowy organization that’s a corporate-friendly, bill-drafting machine. Common Cause is currently challenging ALEC’s tax-exempt status granted because it is allegedly a charity.

AFSCME members across California are talking to their co-workers, neighbors and family members about how the Special Exemptions Act would roll back the progress working people have made over decades. That includes winning minimum wage, overtime provisions and funding for life-saving safety equipment on the job. 

Stephen Williams, an engineering technician for the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles and president of Local 1902, is one of the AFSCME members fighting back in California.

“Every day we make sure that 19 million people in Southern California have safe and reliable drinking water,” Williams said. “We aren’t going to let our voices be silenced.  If only corporations have a say, it will not be in the best interest of the public that we serve.”

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