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Battle over union clout draws big money

October 17, 2012 |  4:30 pm

Brown labor

California's powerful unions are backing Gov. Jerry Brown's campaign for tax hikes, but their first priority this year is defeating Proposition 32, which would limit labor's political clout.

The ballot measure would prevent unions from using paycheck deductions for political campaigns, and they have given about $54 million to defeat it. The full story ran in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times.

Labor leaders view the fight as the latest round in a nationwide effort to curb their influence, and more than 9% of their campaign donations come from various union headquarters in Washington, D.C. That includes $700,000 from the International Assn. of Fire Fighters.

Harold Schaitberger, the firefighter group’s general president, said anti-union activists could gain momentum if the measure passes in California.

“It’s a direct attack on the ability of workers to have a place at the table,” he said. “We’re coming to the game with everything we have.”

Proposition 32 supporters said the measure will crack down on the influence of special interests in Sacramento.

“Unions are going to do, say and spend anything to protect the status quo," said Jake Suski, a spokesman for the campaign.


Poll finds voters split on Proposition 32

Arizona political group dumps $11 million into California races

Labor's big-money focus on Prop. 32 may hurt chances of Prop. 30

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown greets union supporters in Los Angeles while on the campaign trail in 2010. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times