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ccmanuals
06-21-2012, 08:22 PM
So seven of the Supreme Court Justices, including all of the ones who voted for corporate free speech in Citizens United (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission), have decided that unions aren't the same as corporations and don't have the same political rights.
The court ruled 7-2 that unions can't use their members' dues for political campaigns unless they ask first (http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-supreme-court-union-donations-20120621,0,2860404.story). That doesn't sound so awful; gee, if you're going to take my money and spend it on a candidate I don't like, shouldn't I get a chance to say no? (Of course, that's already the case, and this ruling is pretty narrow -- the union wanted to raise the money and offer refunds to members who asked. The court says you have to ask first.)


But the distinction here is interesting. Corporations don't have to ask their shareholders in advance before they donate money to political campaigns. In fact, they don't have to ask shareholders -- who, in theory, are the members of the corporation, the owners, the ones whose financial interests are most directly at stake -- at all.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. can use millions of dollars of its shareholders' money to support candidates and causes -- and if you're one of the poor retired workers who holds PG&E stock as part of your pension, you think you have any say? No, you don't.

Uncle Duke
06-22-2012, 09:10 AM
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. can use millions of dollars of its shareholders' money to support candidates and causes -- and if you're one of the poor retired workers who holds PG&E stock as part of your pension, you think you have any say? No, you don't.
PG&E can also use millions of "shareholders' money" to purchase new equipment, enter into long-term energy trade contracts, open or close facilities, etc. Those all fall into the category of "things which improve the business and we don't have to poll all shareholders each time". Donations in support of a possible future "improved business climate" fall into the same category.

Having said that, denying the same rights to unions doesn't make any sense, especially since it is easier (not the same thing as easy, note...) for union members to vote in/out management than it is for shareholders to do the same. That imbalance means that union members are more likely to see management decisions which they would agree with....

Paul Pless
06-22-2012, 09:14 AM
Having said that, denying the same rights to unions doesn't make any sense, especially since it is easier (not the same thing as easy, note...) for union members to vote in/out management than it is for shareholders to do the same.

It makes sense because if I, as a shareholder, don't agree with the direction that a company that I am invested in is taking, especially with respect to political contributions, I can ultimately sell my stock. Whereas, a union member has no recourse, he often can't leave the union without quitting his job.

Uncle Duke
06-22-2012, 09:35 AM
It makes sense because if I, as a shareholder, don't agree with the direction that a company that I am invested in is taking, especially with respect to political contributions, I can ultimately sell my stock. Whereas, a union member has no recourse, he often can't leave the union without quitting his job.
Correct, except that you can't sell the stock if it is part of a mutual fund (for example) in which you have retirement savings - the situation for most people. You can, of course, drop that fund and move your monies to another but that may have the same issues for you. And, given the anonymity for donors to "social cause" organizations, you might not even know if a company in which you hold some shares is donating to causes you don't approve of.
(For the record, I think that all donations should be transparent and public.)

htom
06-22-2012, 04:06 PM
You're required to pay the dues, but not to belong to the union. So the union has to ask you if you approve of their political spending (not being a union member, you didn't vote on it.)

skuthorp
06-22-2012, 04:26 PM
It's only fair htom, if you want the benefits of union negotiations you should have to pay the ante, no ones forcing you to accept them. And your SC has been tainted for years, it's just another politically influenced organisation.

John Smith
06-22-2012, 04:32 PM
Your point is valid.... but consider the long term implications. Very large and powerful corporations now have a tremendous incentive to politicize.... since influence peddling is the surest way to achieve whatever legislative result is in your favor. Stockholders don't really have much of any influence in corporate management, and the tax laws force stockholders to pay a penalty for 'voting' by selling their stock and moving to a different investment.

Perhaps this is fantasy, but it's not outrageous fantasy: a future in which corporations openly identify with political movements, just like they like to identify with NASCAR cars, baseball stadiums, and other public venues. Imagine Apple, for example, dropping a couple of billion on their preferred Presidential candidate because he's promised (perhaps not publicly, but nonetheless, promised) to push for tax-free repatriation of offshore profits. We could see BP or Koch industries dropping hundreds of millions of dollars for some similar promise.... or maybe that's already happening?

Go ahead and laugh, if you like.... but unless you can propose a reason why this WOULDN'T eventually happen........

The unions created the middle class that created this nation. As go the unions, so goes the middle class, and so goes the nation.

The middle class IS the tide on which all boats float.

htom
06-22-2012, 09:10 PM
It's only fair htom, if you want the benefits of union negotiations you should have to pay the ante, no ones forcing you to accept them. And your SC has been tainted for years, it's just another politically influenced organisation.

You're missing the point. That part of union dues spent on organizing, negotiating, ... the union doesn't need this consent. The part of the dues that goes to political purposes did. And now still does.

Tom Montgomery
06-22-2012, 11:17 PM
From the article:

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court dealt a defeat Thursday to public employee unions in a case from California, ruling that unions must win approval in advance from dissenting members before they collect extra dues in mid-year to pay for a political campaign.

Extra union dues to pay for a political campaign?

Give me a break! I've been dues-paying member of the UAW for going on 36 years and find this outrageous.

I voluntarily donate monthly to the UAW CAP.

I agree with the Supremes on this one.

Paul Pless
06-23-2012, 08:09 AM
The unions created the middle class that created this nation. I thought that it was those post WWII top marginal tax rates of 90% and above that created the middle class. . .

wardd
06-23-2012, 08:17 AM
I thought that it was those post WWII top marginal tax rates of 90% and above that created the middle class. . .

you thought wrong

it was in the 30's that the middle class was germinated

Paul Pless
06-23-2012, 08:19 AM
So we can blame Keynes then!

wardd
06-23-2012, 09:51 AM
So we can blame Keynes then!

you can blame whoever you want

walter, keynes, hitler, roosevelt, me

ccmanuals
06-23-2012, 10:45 AM
If you are a part owner of a company and that company wants to donate some of your money to something that does not affect directly the running of that company wouldn't you want to be asked first?

Paul Pless
06-23-2012, 10:51 AM
If you are a part owner of a company and that company wants to donate some of your money to something that does not affect directly the running of that company wouldn't you want to be asked first?Its not really that hard is it? For example, If I invest in Exxon Mobile, isn't it reasonable to assume that they have a generally anti environmental, pro-drill, pro capitalism political agenda to advance? Walmart will want no barriers to expansion, a lessening of import duties, reduced workers rights, etc?

wardd
06-23-2012, 10:52 AM
I don't see the "union dues payer" to "corporate shareholder" comparison at all.
In a union, my LIVELIHOOD REQUIRES me to pay dues to the union (I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate THAT idea).
As a shareholder, I'm basically gambling that a corporation (and note I get to pick which corp(s) and can jump from dozens to other dozens as I please) will improve it's profit margin with little to no direct involvement in the day to day activities of said corporation(s)....
The comparison is like night and day.

as a union member you can also vote

ccmanuals
06-23-2012, 10:55 AM
Its not really that hard is it? For example, If I invest in Exxon Mobile, isn't it reasonable to assume that they have a generally anti environmental, pro-drill, pro capitalism political agenda to advance? Walmart will want no barriers to expansion, a lessening of import duties, reduced workers rights, etc?

But what if you believe that the the party they are giving money to does not advance the ideals of the company? Shouldn't the company respect it's owners enough to provide them the choice or at the very least inform them what their choice is?

Paul Pless
06-23-2012, 11:09 AM
But what if you believe that the the party they are giving money to does not advance the ideals of the company?I can make it even more simple for you. With few exceptions, most companies in most industries that make large political donations, give about equally to both parties to hedge their bets.

wardd
06-23-2012, 11:11 AM
I can make it even more simple for you. With few exceptions, most companies in most industries that make large political donations, give about equally to both parties to hedge their bets.

in your dreams

ccmanuals
06-23-2012, 11:14 AM
I can make it even more simple for you. With few exceptions, most companies in most industries that make large political donations, give about equally to both parties to hedge their bets.

I get it. My point is if you are part owner of a company you ought to have a say in how they donate to political campaigns. And to go one step further, the company should also inform it's owners as to who they are donating their money to. That's all I'm saying.

Paul Pless
06-23-2012, 11:24 AM
My point is if you are part owner of a company you ought to have a say in how they donate to political campaigns.

I understand what you are saying, but to an extent you do have a say, by who you give your proxy vote to, by selling your stock if wish, by registering a formal complaint with the board, etc etc. Union members lack the ultimate recourse of leaving the union if they disagree with its politics.

wardd
06-23-2012, 11:29 AM
I understand what you are saying, but to an extent you do have a say, by who you give your proxy vote to, by selling your stock if wish, by registering a formal complaint with the board, etc etc. Union members lack the ultimate recourse of leaving the union if they disagree with its politics.

those that don't understand the commons and the social contract or even democracy will never be made to understand why unions have that right

and a little history would help

ccmanuals
06-23-2012, 11:36 AM
I get proxy votes all the time for all kinds of company stuff from several corporations. I have yet to see any kind of proxy asking me to vote on what party the company should give money to. As one of the company owners I think I would like to have this opportunity.

hokiefan
06-23-2012, 01:23 PM
I can make it even more simple for you. With few exceptions, most companies in most industries that make large political donations, give about equally to both parties to hedge their bets.


in your dreams

In the old days when PAC contributions were limited, what Paul says was basically true. I'm guessing the Citizens United changed that in a fundamental way.


I get it. My point is if you are part owner of a company you ought to have a say in how they donate to political campaigns. And to go one step further, the company should also inform it's owners as to who they are donating their money to. That's all I'm saying.

And IIRC, in the old days before Citizens United, companies could not donate directly. It had to be through a PAC of the company's employees. Which we were always encouraged to join and donate to. And I never did.

Cheers,

Bobby

ChaseKenyon
06-24-2012, 04:04 AM
The unions created the middle class that created this nation. As go the unions, so goes the middle class, and so goes the nation.

The middle class IS the tide on which all boats float.


once again Smitty

when you are on

you are dead right!!!!!!


That saying goes back to Ike IIRC

I don't know if he started it but he did use it.

Ron Reagan used to use it now and then as well.

As a two time president of the largest performing arts union in the world of course he used it.


:D:D:D

beernd
06-24-2012, 11:24 AM
Correct, except that you can't sell the stock if it is part of a mutual fund (for example) in which you have retirement savings - the situation for most people. You can, of course, drop that fund and move your monies to another but that may have the same issues for you. And, given the anonymity for donors to "social cause" organizations, you might not even know if a company in which you hold some shares is donating to causes you don't approve of.
(For the record, I think that all donations should be transparent and public.)

I totaly agree with that Y>