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Union Dues for Political Action

March 25, 1998

Re "Union Foes Use State as Key Battleground," March 22:

Unions already allow members to "opt out" of paying the portion of their dues that goes to political action, upon joining the union or any time after they have already joined. What Prop. 226 does is put into place a mass of bureaucratic red tape that makes union members sign a form printed by the government every year authorizing payment for political action, thus wasting union members' dues money collecting authorizations. Prop. 226 would effectively eliminate the voice of the working people of California, union and nonunion workers alike, from politics. The political process works better if there is an informed dialogue.

What about the fairness of the proposition? Is it fair that big business silences working families in the political process, while big business (which outspends unions in political campaigns by 11 to 1) is given free rein to oppose legislation that affects all working people, like minimum wage, overtime, Social Security, Medicare, retirement benefits, etc.? Proposition 226 supporters--and most of the support money is coming from out of state big business interests--are not interested in fairness.

HUBERT LLOYD

Vice Chair, Bargaining Unit 9

California State Employees Assn.

Long Beach

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I think Prop. 226 is forcing the union representatives to show their true colors. Since the union is set up to represent the workers, you would think the last thing it would want to do is force members to contribute their hard-earned money for things they do not agree with. It's hard to imagine the condescending attitude that must exist to want to continue this practice, which never should have existed in the first place.

The members who do agree with the union's political objectives and who feel that their dues money will be spent in a way that represents their interests will gladly give the OK. This is the way it should be.

CLAY BOCK

Garden Grove

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Prop. 226 would require unions to get worker/member permission before using dues for politics. It would seem only fair to also require corporations to get stockholder approval before using profits for political activities.

SIDNEY KASH

Manhattan Beach

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Re "Gore Rallies Troops at Party Convention," March 22:

I almost had to laugh (if not cry) in reading of Al Gore's "strong opposition to Prop. 226." The vice president stated, "We will not let any . . . so-called campaign reform take away the right of workers to have their voices be heard in the political process."

Does he really think all union members are that stupid? After more than 30 years of having my California Teachers Assn. and National Education Assn. dues going to support candidates and propositions I didn't, I for one welcome the democratization of the process.

DON RUH

Walnut

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