, 2000

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3, 1998
11:09 AM
(202) 637-5000
Statement by John J. Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO On Defeat Of California Proposition 226
WASHINGTON - June 3 - A modern political miracle, the defeat of California Proposition 226 by an overall 54 to 46 percent margin, sprang from voters’ strong sense of fairness and union members’ unprecedented mobilization against a right-wing effort to silence the voices of working men and women in our nation’s political system.

Union members rejected the proposition with a resounding 71 to 29 percent vote. Even more, we gained new strength and momentum for a pro-working family agenda heading into the fall elections. More than 24,000 new union member political activists emerged in California in the course of the campaign.

This vote shows that the nationally coordinated effort by Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist and Pete Wilson to take working families out of the political process is a clear loser.

When voters learned who backed and funded the deceptively named "Campaign Reform Initiative" and the agenda behind it, early support disintegrated.

Working families and our unions are fed up with phony campaign reform schemes and ready for the real thing. Instead of challenging the participation of working women and men in the political system through our unions, we need real campaign reform that challenges too-powerful corporate special interests and helps restore the participation and confidence of ordinary Americans.

We hope yesterday’s vote sends that message, and that elected leaders throughout our nation are listening and ready to act.


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