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A Five Alarm Threat California Professional Firefighters The Fight Against Paycheck Deception.

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Presentation on theme: "A Five Alarm Threat California Professional Firefighters The Fight Against Paycheck Deception."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Five Alarm Threat California Professional Firefighters The Fight Against Paycheck Deception

2 The National Assault on Labor Nationwide, more than 1,600 anti-labor bills have been introduced in state Legislatures Collective bargaining under direct attack in Wisconsin, Ohio and over a dozen other states Mandatory retirement rollbacks in New Jersey, Florida, and a dozen other states. Union PACS restricted -- corporations untouched Union busting linked to staff/station cuts

3 California... Different, But Not Immune Strong firefighter political action has built a bipartisan, pro-firefighter Legislature Strong labor political action has kept majority of lawmakers who stand up for employee rights, workplace safety and respect for working families Strong, united political voice turned back hostile ballot attacks, such as Arnold’s 2005 Special Election Wisconsin-style curbs on retirement, collective bargaining rights and public safety staffing have been introduced in Sacramento. Strong Political Action is the Only Thing Keeping California from Becoming “Wisconsin”

4 The California Strategy Think Globally, Attack Locally Attacks on Pensions Attacks on Arbitration Privatization Threats Imposed Contracts “Just Say No” Bargaining Wisconsin isn’t “coming to California” … it’s here!

5 Paycheck Deception “What we would like to see is to take the unions out at the knees, so they don’t have the resources to fight these battles.” -- Scott Hagerstrom, Americans for Prosperity

6 History of Paycheck Deception Proposition 226 –Restricted dues deductions in order to silence labor’s voice. –Co-written by Orange Co. activist Jim Righeimer who is currently trying to privatize Costa Mesa fire service. –Promoted by out-of-state special interests (Americans for Tax Reform). Backed by anti-labor Gov. Pete Wilson. –Defeated by voters Proposition 75 –Targeted public sector unions -- firefighters, teachers, nurses etc. with ban on payroll deduction –Promoted by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as part of “reform” agenda. Arnold raised and spent over $20 million –Narrowly defeated by voters

7 Paycheck Deception 2012 Who Is Behind It –Orange Co. Lincoln Club: Pro Tea Party group identified with ultra-conservative anti-labor efforts –Nat’l Tax Limitation Coalition: Major backer of Prop. 75; head of NTLC is consulting for pro-Paycheck forces –Wilson/Schwarzenegger Team: Campaign team for hostile former governors providing communications support What It Does –Bans any payroll deductions for union purposes -- public- and private-sector unions; local as well as statewide –Offers false “balance” by imposing same restriction on corporations (corporations don’t use payroll deduction –Redefines unions as “government contractors” to permanently silence labor voice –Imposes mandated cost (possibly in millions) to enforce

8 Breaking It Down Official Title and Summary: Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates, Initiative Statute What It Says What It Means As a union firefighter, you will no longer have the choice to deduct dues from paycheck, the same provision twice rejected by voters (Prop. 226 and Prop. 75) “Restricts union political fundraising by prohibiting use of payroll-deducted funds for political purposes”

9 Breaking It Down Official Title and Summary: Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates, Initiative Statute What It Says What It Means Since corporations don’t use payroll deduction for politics, the initiative is intended to specifically target only unions. This is a gaping loophole that gives big money all the power. “Same use restriction would apply to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors”

10 Breaking It Down Official Title and Summary: Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates, Initiative Statute What It Says What It Means Before you can even give your PAC any money, your local union will need to get a signed authorization every year. No other individual or group faces this kind of restriction … but you will. “Permits voluntary employee contributions to employer or union committees if authorized yearly, in writing.”

11 Breaking It Down Official Title and Summary: Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates, Initiative Statute What It Says What It Means Even if you jump all the other hoops, your union PAC still can’t contribute to a candidate. The initiative also restricts union participation in ballot measure and independent expenditures. “Prohibits unions and corporations from contributing directly or indirectly to candidates and candidate controlled committees.”

12 Breaking It Down Official Title and Summary: Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates, Initiative Statute What It Says What It Means The billionaires, Wall Street and big corporations can still spend freely on candidates, ballot initiatives and independent expenditures. Only you are restricted from participating through your union. “Other political expenditures remain unrestricted, including corporate expenditures from available resources not limited by payroll deduction prohibition.”

13 Breaking It Down Official Title and Summary: Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates, Initiative Statute What It Says What It Means Who’s a govt. contractor? You! Unions are specifically defined as “contractors”. Practical effect could impact your ability to participate in any local (or state) election... through your union or possibly even as an individual. “Limits government contractor contributions to elected officers or officer controlled committees.”

14 Paycheck Deception 2012 Key Provisions Corporation PACs Labor Union PACs Allowed to Contribute to CandidatesYes NO Allowed to Make Independent ExpendituresYes NO Allowed to Contribute to Ballot MeasuresYes NO Mandatory written consent for PAC participationNone Every Year Paycheck Deception silences the voice of working people but leaves big corporations untouched A “Balanced” Reform? Hardly

15 Deceptive Language Spells Trouble Voters like initiative on first blush Many voters buy idea that it is “balanced” Union households are far from a slam dunk It Starts Out Bad … It Gets Worse … No visible “bogeyman” like Arnold in 2005 Public safety image has taken a hit The opposition is using “class warfare” to drive a wedge between public and public safety

16 A “Make or Break” Fight “What they tried to do was to dry up the money to the unions, to put the unions out of business.” -- Joe Conway, President of Madison (WI) Firefighters

17 A Threat to Your Job... A Threat To Your Future Silence Your Voice... Steal Your Future. Paycheck Deception is part of a two-step process: First, they come after your political and financial strength. They take that away and everything else goes. Public Safety at Risk: Our most effective tool in advocating for staffing and safety is our public voice. If we can’t speak out effectively, nobody else will... and that’s a disaster for public safety. Scapegoating Public Service. The money and messaging is coming from the same people who have attacked your pay and pensions and blamed you for the state’s problems. It’s Not What It Seems: It takes away your right to participate through your union, but leaves a loophole for employers. Management gets an open field... we get trampled.

18 Who Wins If Our Voice Is Silenced? Wealthy Corporate Special Interests. A strong labor voice is a threat to unchecked corporate power, outsourcing and outrageous corporate pay and perks Private Retirement Funds: A privatized retirement system in California means tens of billions in fees and profits for the same investment houses that caused the economic meltdown. Private Fire Service Providers. Private fire companies are openly courting public agencies in California. Under this measure, public firefighters would lose their voice, leaving the field open for privateers. City/county/state management: Labor’s strong united voice -- through politics and bargaining -- has stood in the way of ever-deeper slashing of public safety and services.

19 Silencing Our Voice -- What’s At Stake Public Safety Staffing: Firefighters and police are the public’s voice in making sure that public safety is properly funded. Losing our voice puts public safety at risk. Negotiated Contracts: Wisconsin/Ohio-style bargaining rollbacks have been introduced in Sacramento Secure Retirement Pensions: Pension “reformers” have lined up a series of legislative and ballot proposals. Presumption Laws. Cities and counties have opposed every single presumption law to protect firefighter families from job-related illness and injury. Workplace Safety: Corporations and local management are united in a desire to weaken basic on-the-job safety standards Even Your Job Itself: Private companies are coming, with lower standards, less training, lower pay.

20 A Fight We Can’t Afford to Lose “Anyone who thinks that we’re still ‘America’s Heroes’ and that they won’t do this to us is a fool.” -- Ray Snodgrass, retired firefighter, CAL FIRE

21 The Landscape Heading into 2012 Polling reveals depressed, desperate electorate Voters are angry and frustrated about economy Voters are extremely mistrustful of government Voters increasingly negative toward public workers Hostility is keenest toward any “special interest”... including unions “Class warfare” pits “haves” vs. “have- nots”: Firefighters are being depicted as “haves”

22 Where We’re Stronger Identifying with the Middle Class: If Wall Street is seen as a beneficiary, it helps our cause. Our messengers still resonate: Key players – firefighters, nurses, teachers, cops – still strong. Suspicion of “hidden agenda”: Distrust of Wall St., government confirmed by title and summary Working together: Solidarity with teachers, nurses, police and other workers were the difference in past victories, and will be the difference again. Our best chance to succeed is if we talk to voters first!

23 What It Will Take To Win Money: Defeating Prop. 75 in 2005 cost labor more than $30 million. Overturning the Ohio bargaining ban took a national effort. Winning in 2012 will require a full commitment from all of us. Manpower: The sight of firefighters “Chasing Arnold” in 2005 was a difference maker. Winning will take boots on the ground like never before. Unity and Commitment: This is not just a firefighter fight... it’s everyone’s fight. It’s about our families and our future.

24 Our Statewide Effort through CA Professional Firefighters Leading partner in Alliance for a Better Coalition, as well as pension protection and labor imaging coalitions Legislative support for SB 202, to move all ballot initiatives to November ballot Produced viral video: CPF Firevision – Labor Under Attack (www.cpffirevision.org) Organized 2012 Special Convention to mobilize resources to fight the battle.

25 Alliance for a Better California Labor-backed coalition, headed by CPF, CTA, SEIU United public-private sector labor involvement The coalition is the same one that beat Prop. 75 in 2005 Current Activity: Polling Opposition Research Coalition building Messaging

26 What You Can Do Today Talk to your brothers and sisters in the firehouse, and your neighbors on the street Talk to people about what you do and your value to the community Stand up for everyone... not just firefighters Be mindful of the public’s attention -- you are under a microscope

27 Get Informed... Get Involved Watch for updates from CPF and the Local (www.cpf.org)www.cpf.org Sign up to receive alerts Get involved with local labor campaigns Talk with each other Attend union meetings

28 Paycheck Deception: A Fight We Can’t Afford to Lose Everything you have -- staffing, benefits, everything -- is built on a foundation: your strong voice in political action. Paycheck Deception takes away your voice, so the special interests can take away everything else. It’s that simple. There is no more important issue for firefighters and their families in 2012 than defeating Paycheck Deception


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