The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 26, 2012
Report says unions have big money advantage in politics

Here's one side of the argument you'll be hearing for the next seven months over the so-called "Stop Special Interest Money Now Act" the political-committee funding measure on the Nov. 7 ballot in California.

"DUES AND DEEP POCKETS: Public-Sector Unions' Money Machine," published by the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, argues that dues withheld by payroll deduction and paid directly to unions, along with rules that force employees to pay for representation even if they aren't members, gives labor "an abundant and reliable source of money, sparing unions the need to spend resources on recruitment, retention, and fund-raising."

Author Daniel DiSalvo says that means civil service unions have a serious advantage over other groups throwing elbows for government resources.

The Stop Special Interest Money Now Act would, among other things, prohibit use of payroll-deducted funds for political purposes by unions, corporations or government contractors. Employees could still contribute to employer or union committees, but they'd have to do it annually and in writing. (Click here to read the measure.)

California unions' will take a big revenue hit if voters approve the as-yet-to-be-numbered proposition, since labor relies on members' payroll deductions to raise money for political spending. Business interests don't.
DUES AND DEEP POCKETS: Public-Sector Unions' Money Machine

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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