Wisconsin Comes To California: Republican Bill Bans Collective Bargaining

On the heels of Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Tennessee, Florida and other states, California Republicans have introduced a Wisconsin-style bill to strip public employees of the right to union bargaining.
San Francisco Chronicle, yesterday, Showdown brewing over CA state employee pensions,


On Tuesday, Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, R-Costa Mesa (Orange County), introduced a bill that would strip public employees of their ability to collectively bargain for retirement benefits.

But what else would you expect? What is interesting is the rest of the story

The recent Speak Out California post, Discover The Network Out To Crush Our Public Workers looked into who is behind the attack on public employees, tracing back from an LA Times op-ed by Marcia Fritz of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. Fritz pops up again in the Chronicle story,

That [pension reform] “isn’t just a state problem, it’s far worse in cities,” said Marcia Fritz, president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, a nonprofit pension reform group. … “We need the leader of California to stand up and lead on this issue,” Fritz said. “And if he doesn’t, we’ll go around him, just like people did on Proposition 13 (in 1978 during Brown’s first stint as governor). And I don’t think he wants that.”

Also popping up in the Chronicle story,

“I don’t think Brown wants to take on his union pals,” said Steven Greenhut, author of “Plunder! How Public Employee Unions Are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation.”

From Speak Out California’s Discover The Network Out To Crush Our Public Workers,


The Pacific Research Institute has a mission to “champion freedom, opportunity, and personal responsibility for all individuals by advancing free-market policy solutions.”
The Director of PRI’s Journalism Center wrote a book called, “Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation.”

In the “Network” post I wrote about “Cookie-Cutter Think Tanks,”


These are just a few of the network of conservative “institutes,” etc. around the country. Just a very few. (Here is a list of 185 organizations purporting to be conservative state think tanks, a list of 40 conservative national organizations with state networks and a list of 306 organizations purporting to be conservative national think tanks and 65 conservative “family policy” organizations. There are other lists with other criteria.) 

As you follow these threads you discover layer upon layer of corporate/conservative front groups, masking their activities and funders with more layers of front groups. They all have similar mission statements, have similar people on their Boards with similar backgrounds, cover the same issues the same way, and even use remarkably similar language. They seem to be not just connected but interconnected. The sheer number of these similar “think tanks” make it appear that there must be a machine somewhere that stamps these things from a template. That machine is named “Scaife/Coors/Koch…” (Please read also and spend some time here.)

I haven’t written Part II of the post yet, but in the research I found a “think tank” that had no purpose except to release one “study” by Lanny Ebenstein of the California Center for Public Policy, which is not to be confused with with the California Public Policy Center, of Pension Tsunami, which is discussed in the post.
In today’s Santa Ynez Valley Journal story, END APPROACHING FOR PUBLIC UNIONS?, Ebenstein pops up, with a new organization:


… a new group called Californians for Public Union Reform has spearheaded an effort to place an initiative on next year’s state ballot that would end employee collective bargaining, the behind-closed-doors process by which unions negotiate salaries, health care and other retirement benefits on behalf of employees. 

Lanny Ebenstein, chairman of the group and a professor of economics at UCSB, said the proposal to curtail collective bargaining is a key component to fiscal reform, and one that he believes will help solve California’s budgetary woes the same way Walker thinks the decertification of all public-sector unions will balance Wisconsin’s budget. … 

 “Something is fundamentally wrong with the system, and it’s obvious what the elephant in the room is: Public sector employees are receiving too much compensation,” he said.

That’s the ticket, public employees — teachers, police, DMV workers — caused the recession. THEY are the reason states are out of money. Tax cuts for the rich had nothing to do with it.

Right. Blame the workers, who have already taken pay cuts, increased retirement age, foreclosures, etc.  Certainly not Wall Street or the wealthy who are taking an ever greater share of the country’s income and wealth

P.S. There is a Rally to Save the American Dream in Sacramento this Saturday, being organized by MoveOn.org and others to support working people, details here.

2 thoughts on “Wisconsin Comes To California: Republican Bill Bans Collective Bargaining

  1. When employees form a union in a private industry they have to deal with two factors. The first is, of course, the company. But, the second issue is are their demands reasonable so that they can be met by the company without destroying its economic base. Afterall, it does not good for a union to sign a great contract if, in getting that great contract, they impoverish the company. Examples of this abound. The UAW and the auto companies. Great labor agreements but the labor force is less then half of what it was. The steel workers had great labor agreements but the steel industry is gone. I could continue, but you get the point. The marketplace is the force that makes the company and union reach reasonable accords.
    However, public employee unions are in a quite different situation. I was once on a schoolboard and watched as the union funded individuas in its membership to run for office. In a small town, having the union give you cash and money is basically an insurmountable advantage. Soon, the union had “packed” the schoolboard and, not so surprizing, the next contract negotiation gave the teachers a very favorable contract. This meant, of course, a string of property tax increases for the city until they could not be passed. At that point the system pretty much melted down (see California budget crisis).
    Public employees have the power to influence the elections. The conflict of interest is obvious. It is, in fact, one of the reasons why California’s budget is in such a mess. Caifornia has a huge income tax rate and huge sales taxes and, yet, the unions keep demanding more in income and benefits. Since the unions control the democratic party, their demands drive the govenment budgets. However, we are reaching the point where the state no longer functions.

  2. Would you trade one tyrant 3000 miles away, for 3000 tyrants one mile away. You blame Wall Street, but don’t see the damage that’s being done by these unions that ALSO have no fiscal responsibility. Both are responsible.
    Prison Guards and School teachers making 6 figures, and then they have massive pensions at the end. While the majority of the private sector is on its knees.
    I love the video going around from the progressives that talk about all the “corporate breaks”. how ever they didn’t mention that Harley was the talk of the state for more then 6 months because they are talking about moving out of state.
    and the same is happing here. i have a small business, a few million in revenue. i make less then most of my employees right now. and im looking at Austin, and Greesboro NC to relocate the entire company. its not much but our little company pays a lot of payroll tax.

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