UnionWatch recently commissioned a second survey of 800 voters in California to further explore public support for measures to rein in the power of public employee unions. Here are the principle findings and conclusions. The interviews were conducted between December 12th and December 16th, 2010. The margin of error associated with the results is +/- 3.5%.
General voter attitudes towards Sacramento, special interests, and unions:
- 82% of voters believe “major changes” are need in the way state government is run.
- 72% of voters believe public sector unions have more influence then they should because employees are forced to join and pay dues.
- 69% believe public sector unions are a corrupting influence in politics because they elect the legislators who they negotiate with for benefits.
- 69% agree with union critics who say it is a conflict of interest to have government collect dues on behalf of unions who use this money for campaign contributions to influence government decisions.
- 68% believe we need to limit the undue influence of public sector unions which are a special interest in Sacramento.
Voter attitudes towards specific reform options:
(1) A proposition to prohibit state and local governments from collecting union dues used for political purposes through paycheck withholding. Dues used for political purposes like campaign contributions would have to be collected by public employee unions directly from union members.
(2) A proposition to control the process for special interests to fund their political projects, including campaign contributions of unions and corporations. Dues used for political purposes, would have to be collected by public employee unions directly from union members instead of paycheck withholding, and political spending by corporations would have to be approved by a vote of shareholders of the corporation.
(3) A proposition providing that membership in public employee unions is voluntary, that public employees who aren’t union members cannot be required to pay any fees to a union, and prohibiting state and local government from collecting dues or fees used for political purposes, such as campaign contributions on behalf of unions through paycheck withholding.
(4) A proposition requiring that public employee unions need to get the written consent of their members once a year to use any portion of their dues for political purposes, such as campaign contributions, and prohibiting state and local government from collecting dues used for political purposes on behalf of unions through paycheck withholding.