Yesterday on Democracy Now! we featured a debate on one of two referendums that California voters will weigh in on that could have national consequences — Proposition 227, which would abolish bilingual education programs. Today we’ll hold a debate on Proposition 226, which, if passed, would force labor unions to get permission from individual members before spending their dues on political campaigns — a move that both sides agree could be repeated in other states if California takes the lead. Supporters of 226 say this will hobble what they depict as corrupt “union bosses” that they way are unwittingly financed by workers. But opponents say it is simply a big business ploy to crush the political power of unions, which often come out against Republican candidates.
- Judith Barish, communication director of the California Labor Federation (California AFL-CIO), representing California’s 2,000 unions and 2-million union members.
- Jim Righeimer, is a co-author of Proposition 226, the initiative that would require unions to obtain written consent of their members before using union dues for political purposes. He is the founder and director of the California Foundation for Campaign Reform in Testing, California.