We recently noted that government employee unions call the California capitol “our house.” Evidence is mounting that government unions do indeed own the place.
Their mass rally in June was for a pay raise and to the surprise of nobody the politicians they worked so hard to elect gave them exactly what they wanted on the pay side. But they still want more fringe benefits and Senator Ellen Corbett is happy to go along. Her Senate Bill 556 bars anybody from wearing anything that could “reasonably be interpreted” as implying that the person is a government employee, unless they also display a sign reading “NOT A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE.” This also applies to the person’s vehicle, so busses driven by contract drivers would have to bear a sign reading “THE DRIVER OF THIS VEHICLE IS NOT A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE.”
This measure provides taxpayers with no service, corrects no financial impropriety, imposes costs and inconvenience, and does nothing to improve government. But it’s more than the latest piece of junk legislation.
Government employee unions believe they should perform all tasks in the state. Through SB 556 they want to slap a scarlet letter on independent contract workers and send a message to the politicians they own to stop contracting out, which saves taxpayers money. So the bill is more evidence that politicians will do virtually anything government employee unions tell them to do. This is not a new trend.
California once hired employees to run automatic elevators in the capitol. The administration of Pete Wilson trimmed costs by contracting out the cleaning of government buildings. The administration of Gray Davis halted that and gave the work to government employees, raising costs in the process.
Government employee unions are often described as “labor” but that is misleading. A full 82.8 percent of California workers are not union members, who account for only 17.2 percent of workers statewide. Nationally, union members accounted for only 11.3 percent of workers, so 88.7 percent of American workers, the vast majority, are not union members.
Government employee unions are a special interest that wields considerable power because politicians will give them anything they want. That is why legislators abuse taxpayers with wasteful measures such as SB 556.