For Release: May 28, 1998
Contact: Roderick Conrad at 202/543-4110
California voters will go to the polls on June 2 to decide the fate of a paycheck protection ballot initiative. California members of the African-American leadership network Project 21 point out that the practices and tactics used by organized labor opposing the initiative provide ample proof of the need for such a safeguard.
Labor unions regularly use mandatory member dues to finance political activity. Proposition 226, the "Campaign Reform Initiative," would require employers and labor union leaders to obtain annual permission from workers before using mandatory paycheck deductions to fund state and local political activity. It would also ban foreign contributions to state and local political activity.
Financial disclosure figures released last week found opponents of Proposition 226, mainly labor unions, spent almost $20 million so far during the campaign. Initiative supporters, however, have spent only $2.1 million.
"The fact the campaign against giving workers a choice in how their wages are spent is being paid for out of worker paychecks without their permission is reason enough to have paycheck protection," said C. Mason Weaver of the Committee to Restore America in Los Angeles. "Organized labor has abused its ability to deduct membership dues from member paychecks to create a political war chest in which only the goals of union leaders are considered."
Project 21 member Jesse Peterson of Oceanside, California, added, "Organized labor in California has used union dues to oppose the 'three strikes you're out' initiative and to support the legalization of marijuana use - two positions that were very unpopular in the black community. To know so many black union members either unknowingly supported these stands or had no choice because the union used their dues wihtout giving them a choice shows the system must be fixed. There needs to be a check on union fundraising power just like there is on any other candidate or cause."
Project 21 has been a leading voice in the African-American community since 1992. For more information on the group, please contact Roderick Conrad at (202) 543-4110 or [email protected], or visit Project 21's website at http://www.Project21.org.