Massive L.A. Union Mobilization Helps Defeat Proposition 32 and Approve Proposition 30

November 20, 2012
Diane Cohen, LaborPress Washington Bureau

LOS ANGELES – Because of a mammoth grass-roots mobilization by L.A. Labor, Los Angeles County racked up 1,406,707 million votes or 28 percent of the 5,086,590 million-vote statewide margin by which Californians rejected Proposition 32, the anti-union measure on the November 6 ballot, according to figures posted by the Secretary of State’s office. The same labor-backed endeavor contributed 1,351,925 million votes or 27 percent of the 4,959,206 million-vote statewide margin by which voters approved Proposition 30, Gov. Brown’s tax measure for schools and public safety.

In the final 12 weeks before the fall election, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and its affiliated local unions coordinated a massive campaign to defeat Prop. 32 and pass Prop. 30. More than 20,000 union members and labor activists made phone calls and walked door-to-door, targeting four million registered county voters. Those combined efforts produced 500,000 one-on-one conversations with voters.

“Yes, we helped raise money so labor could compete with television ads because L.A. and California are so big,” said Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the county federation. “But we also put much of our resources into mobilizing rank-and file union members who walked the precincts and made the phone calls. The triumph against 32 and for 30 demonstrated what a local labor movement could do to change the way unions do politics.

Instead of simply acting as an ATM machine for political candidates, L.A. Labor dedicated itself to educating union members, registering them to vote, getting them to work in the campaigns and getting them to the polls. That helped make the difference in L.A. County, and the state.”


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