Saturday, May 13, 2006

Grinding Meathead - Government Worker Unions Threaten Consumer Boycotts

Capitol and Grounds from the Capitol Mall, California State Capitol in Sacramento, California taken March, 2001. Photo Credit: Les Partridge

In a move that could only be seen as bizzarre, unions that represent the interests of federal, state and county government workers ... issue a threat to organize a boycott.

This consumer boycott would be directed at some niche market clothing retailers because the unions wanted to show their displeasure over these companies support of the defeat of the actor, director, and now shamed liberal political operative, Rob Reiner's preschool initiative, Proposition 82.

These tax payer-paid ingrates want to raise taxes, again, on successful wage earners (those who are classified as upper-income) so that the state would provide universal pre-school to all 4 year olds.

Excerpts from the Sacramento Bee -

Prop. 82: Initiative backers threaten Gap boycott
By Laura Mecoy -- Bee Los Angeles Bureau - Published 2:15 am PDT Friday, May 12, 2006 - Story appeared on
Page A1 of The Bee

LOS ANGELES - Employing a new political tactic, two large labor unions are using the threat of a consumer boycott to try to curb corporate contributions to groups opposing the universal preschool initiative on the June ballot.

The Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees sent a letter last week threatening a national boycott of all of the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores.

They said they would launch the boycott if the Gap, its affiliates or any members of the family that founded the Gap donated to groups opposing actor and director Rob Reiner's preschool initiative, Proposition 82.

"It is our hope that you come to the conclusion that opposing preschool for every child in California is bad for kids and bad for California," said the letter, signed by SEIU's and AFSCME's presidents and SEIU's secretary treasurer. The two unions, AFSCME and SEIU, represent more than 2.7 million members nationwide. They are likely to gain more members if Proposition 82 is approved because it would allow collective bargaining among those working in the preschools the initiative would fund.
Proposition 82 would raise upper-income Californians' taxes to pay for a free half-day of voluntary preschool for all the state's 4-year-olds by 2010.

The California Business Roundtable, the California Chamber of Commerce and several other business groups have said they oppose the measure because it is "badly flawed" and could ultimately hurt K-12 education funding.

Opponents started their campaign against the initiative long after the proponents and have fallen behind in fundraising.
Kathy Fairbanks, "No on 82" campaign spokeswoman, also called the boycott threat and the union's statements "unfortunate," saying the opposition is widespread.

Nathan James, "Yes on 82" campaign spokesman, applauded the boycott threat and said the Fisher family patriarch, Don Fisher, has been soliciting donations for opponents.
"He's not been outspoken publicly," James said. "But in donor circles ... he's committed to fighting it by raising money against it."

Proposition 82's backers have been trying to make an issue of the Fisher family donations for months by distributing leaflets at Gap stores around the state.

John Jackson, founder of the Say Yes to Children Network, said he organized those demonstrations in hopes of discouraging other corporate donors.

He said John Fisher was the first big corporate contributor against Proposition 82, and he hoped others would be discouraged to give if they believed their companies could be picketed.
"The strategy for us was ... that perhaps it would slow down the money," he said.

Bob Stern, Center on Governmental Studies president, said he'd never heard of a group seeking to halt campaign contributions by threatening a boycott.

He said he had mixed feelings about the threat: He was pleased to see publicity about large campaign contributions but troubled by attacks on a company that was staying out of the election.

Bob Witeck, a Washington, D.C.-based public relations executive who has worked with several large corporations facing boycotts, called the union's boycott threat "novel."
[Witeck continues] "The notion of getting into a boycott as a political tactic is very interesting," he said. "But I think it's going to be hard to convince and educate enough people to boycott the stores. ... It's harder than people think."
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Just think, if Rob Reiner was still able to control the government-collected, cigarette tax monies he once had control over ... the "Meathead Money" would be all over the support of this initiative.

Of course, this is why "Sausage" (Rob Reiner) was removed and replaced with "Chorizo" (Hector Ramirez).

Proposition 82 is goin' down.

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