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As we noted in 2013, California’s government employee unions are so confident of their power that they demonstrate in front of the capitol chanting “This is our house!” They were right then and are still right now, as a Sacramento Bee editorial explains.
Senate Bill 376 by Ricardo Lara is “a sop to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents many University of California employees.” The bill would ban the University of California from outsourcing full-time jobs to companies “whose benefits don’t match the university’s wage and sweet benefit plans for comparable employment.” The bill would cost $36 million a year, plus another $12 million to $24 million to boost the wages of new employees.
Assembly Bill 1293 by Pasadena Democrat Chris Holden, and Senate Bill 682 by Sen. Mark Leno, “seek to restrict the ability of state agencies and the court system from entering into contracts for services that are or could be performed by court or state employees.” The Bee editorialists charge that the bills are a sop to the AFSCME and a “valentine” to the Service Employees International Union, the SEIU. That’s the government employee union that chanted “This is our house!” outside the capitol in 2013.
When legislators go out of their way to intervene on behalf of government employee unions, says the Bee, “taxpayers end up paying.” They do indeed, but there’s more to it. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, unions represent only 16.3 percent of California workers. A full 83.7 percent of California workers, the vast majority, are not union members. So when politicians go out of their way to intervene on behalf of unionized government employees, they are not exactly representing the people. It’s a case of bad government, and California’s ruling class wants the people to pay more.
The California Teachers Association and other government employee unions are pushing a measure that would extend the 2012 temporary tax hikes of Proposition 30 for 12 years. State education superintendent Tom Torlakson (D-CTA) backs such an extension. So under current conditions, the majority of California’s taxpayers can’t exactly say the capitol is “their house.”