SAG-AFTRA Mobilizing Members Against Prop. 32 (Exclusive)

4:50 PM PST 09/26/2012 by Jonathan Handel

The union urges a No vote on the measure, which opponents say would obstruct unions’ right to free speech while leaving corporations essentially unaffected.

SAG-AFTRA is making a push to defeat California Prop. 32, setting up a web page and, The Hollywood Reporter has learned, sending an e-mail blast set to go out Thursday morning to about 70,000 of its California members urging them to vote No on the measure.

The message labels the proposition “the most anti-worker measure to appear on the California ballot in recent years” and says it “threatens the jobs, wages, retirement and contracts of workers statewide [by seeking] to restrict unions’ rights to speak out on behalf of their members.”

The e-mail is being sent on behalf of the boards of directors of the union’s Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco locals.

Opponents of the proposition say the “Stop Special Interest Money” initiative would muzzle labor while giving corporations free rein to spend in the political process. Advocates disagree.

Key language in the measure says that “no corporation, labor union … shall deduct from an employee's wages, earnings or compensation any amount of money to be used for political purposes.” The latter term is defined to include “a payment made to influence or attempt to influence the action of voters for or against the qualification or passage of any measure.”

Although the language includes “corporations,” opponents say companies don’t fund their political advocacy by payroll deductions, whereas unions do use such methods to collect union dues.

They argue that the measure therefore would prevent them from using any portion of dues for advocacy for or against other ballot provisions.

On Sept. 20, a contingent of delegates from SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and American Federation of Musicians Local 47 joined a thousand other labor activists in a rally against the proposition at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The three-hour rally included a skit by SAG-AFTRA board members Jason George and Jenny O’Hara and IATSE Local 706 (makeup and hair stylists) president Sue Cabral-Ebert.

The rally was organized by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Among the speakers was AFL-CIO international president Richard Trumka.

Bookmark The Hollywood Reporter’s Labor Page for the most in-depth coverage of entertainment unions and guilds.

Email: jhandel@att.net; Twitter: @jhandel

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