AFSCME District Counclil 36 representing 60 Local Unions and 20,000 union workers Join Growing Coalition to Oppose Proposition 26

AFSCME Local 773, Local 3624, and Local 3947 Also Join in Opposition Measure could Result in $500 Million in Lost Tax Revenue for California Communities

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (July 20, 2022) – Opposition to Proposition 26 continues to grow as American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District Council 36, an affiliate of the AFL CIO in Southern California representing 60 autonomous local unions and 20,000 union workers across California, announced their opposition to Proposition 26 – the only sports betting measure being contemplated for the November 2022 ballot that harms local communities. Joining District Council 36 in opposition to the initiative are AFSCME Local 773, AFSCME Local 3624, and AFSCME Local 3947.

“Proposition 26 puts $500 million in local tax revenue at risk due to the poison pill that will bankrupt community cardrooms. And when city revenue is slashed, public employee jobs like mine are on the line. This is not just some hypothetical statement. I can tell you from experience what happens to city workers when cardrooms are forced to shut down. I myself got laid off when our local cardroom had to close during the pandemic. And I don’t want any more of my union brothers and sisters to suffer that same fate – especially when it can be avoided.”

-Shavon Moore-Cage, Member, AFSCME Local 36 Management Chapter.

Prop 26 proposes to amend the State Constitution to guarantee tribal casinos a near monopoly on all gaming in California – adding exclusivity over roulette, craps and sports wagering to their current monopoly on slot machines — while weaponizing the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) so it can be used against tribal casino operators’ legally-operating competition. 

Specifically, this change in the State Constitution allows tribal casinos to hire private trial lawyers and replace the role of the Attorney General to sue their non-tribal competitors. As a result, the measure puts more than 32,000 jobs, $1.6 billion in wages and $5.5 billion in total economic impact at risk. Cities rely on this revenue for resident services such as public safety, housing and homeless programs. 

AFSCME District Council 36, Local 773, Local 3624, and Local 3947 joins a growing number of leaders and organizations in opposing Proposition 26 including California Contract Cities Association representing over

70 cities, Gateway Cities Council of Government, and many mayors and elected officials representing communities across the state.

BACKGROUND ON THE MEASURE:

It threatens to destroy local jobs. The eligible tribal gaming measure changes the Constitution and sets a dangerous precedent that could result in the loss of tens of thousands of quality jobs in minority communities. Tribal casinos have a history of unsuccessfully challenging the legality of local cardrooms. Now, they’re taking it a step too far by exploiting the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) that was originally meant to protect workers. The measure expands PAGA into new territory by allowing tribal casinos to sue their competitors — forcing cardrooms out of business with unlimited, meritless lawsuits. Local communities will lose more than 32,000 good-paying jobs that generate $1.6 billion in wages annually. 

It deprives local governments of revenue for vital services. The eligible tribal gaming measure contains a poison pill for local cardrooms, which are a significant source of tax revenue and economic activity for many local governments. The measure will force cardrooms out of business and result in a loss of $500 million in local tax revenue statewide — meaning fewer funds for public health, homelessness services, senior centers, and after-school programs. California and local communities will lose $5.6 billion in economic output generated by cardrooms.