Paycheck Deception

Thumbnail image for Yvonne_Walker_small.jpgWealthy interests want to silence our voices

Corporate Power Grab initiative undercuts union power, gives strength to big private donors

By Yvonne R. Walker
President, Local 1000

Once again, public employees and our families are under attack.

Giant corporations, billionaires and their high-paid lobbyists are unhappy that unions keep fighting for the middle class - and often win. Now they want to tie both hands behind our backs with a cynical, misleading initiative on the November ballot.
The "Corporate Power Grab" initiative, which has also been called "Paycheck Deception," is part of a well-funded national war on working families. We've seen similar versions of these attacks in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, New Jersey and Colorado. In each case, wealthy corporate donors have put forward misleading so-called "reform" legislation that makes it almost impossible for unions to fight back politically on behalf of their members while leaving wealthy political players untouched.

The California ballot measure is untruthfully named the Stop Special Interest Money Now Act--a title designed to fool voters into believing it affects all sides. In reality, the measure does virtually nothing to limit donations from business interests and corporate political action committees, while it cripples the ability of Local 1000 and other labor unions to raise money from members for political action.

No limits on corporate money

As the Sacramento Bee points out, the so-called "Stop Special Interest Money Now Act would stop labor money. But don't expect it to stop corporate money." This initiative would impose strict restrictions on the money that union members contribute, making it nearly impossible for us to organize politically to fight political attacks - furloughs, pay cuts, pension reductions - that directly affect our members and their families.

Imagine if Arnold Schwarzenegger or Meg Whitman had used their own millions to put a measure on the ballot to cut our pay to federal minimum wage - but we could not spend money from payroll deductions to fight for our members. There is no such restriction on corporations or wealthy executives because they almost never use payroll deductions "for political purposes." They use corporate profits to write checks that bankroll a web of shadowy front groups, big business associations and corporate Super PACs.

Corporations outspend labor 15-1

Wall Street banks and their corporate partners already outspend labor unions 15-1, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The "Corporate Power Grab" initiative just gives the wealthy even more political advantages. They already operate freely because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that it is illegal to limit political donations by corporations.
Big money interests, who have bankrolled previous unsuccessful anti-labor efforts, wrote this ballot measure. The initiative's backers include multimillionaires who made their fortunes in banking, real estate and oil and have a history of contributing to political candidates and campaigns. None of their activities would be limited by this initiative.

Failed Schwarzenegger rerun

The "Corporate Power Grab" is really just a rerun that voters have previously rejected. In 2005, Governor Schwarzenegger called a special election to push a similar effort to silence our voices. We stopped him. In the 1990s, they tried the same thing - we stopped that too.

Join us in fighting this latest effort to gut our power. In the coming months, we will be asking you to help us organize against this measure in your communities. Don't let Wall Street big shots silence working families.

To learn more about the "Corporate Power Grab" initiative go to or