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Katy Grimes

New Assembly Bills Offer Union Employees (GASP) Union Choice

Two Assembly bills were just introduced addressing labor union transparency and designed to offer a choice of labor unions, and to force unions to open up their books.

Assemblywoman ShannonGrove, R-Bakersfield, is working with union employees who have been fighting the Service Employees International Union for transparency, and they’ve been educating members of their option to opt out of paying the share of dues that is used for political purposes. This is information the Union does not tell it’s members.

The bills are on behalf of the workers. Most media has reported that the bills are an attack on labor unions, but… Read More

Katy Grimes

Gov. Brown’s Latest Tax Increase May Have Republican Support

“If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

~Ronald Reagan

Despite California’s highest-in-the-nation taxes, a couple of Assembly Republicans have allegedly agreed to vote for Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax on health plans in the State of California.

Even if Brown is able to convince health insurers, he needs a two-thirds majority vote from the Legislature. And this is where Republican votes come in. Currently, Democrats do not have a supermajority, and need to peel off a couple of Republican votes for tax increases.

Predictably, Brown has been trying to convince Republicans his health plan tax is really “tax reform.”

“This is not a tax increase, no matter what anyone tells you,” he said during his State of the State address.

“It will be pretty easy to tell if this is a tax increase, or some sort of revenue neutral swapping of one tax for another,” said Jon Fleischman, publisher of the Flash… Read More

Edward Ring

In Search of a Legitimate Labor Movement

Sarah has worked for a major grocery store chain for the past 25 years. Adjusting for inflation, she makes less now than she did over a decade ago, especially since her hours were cut in order for her employer to avoid being required to offer her health insurance. Even more difficult, she is “on call” most of the week, without a reliable schedule, which makes it impossible for her to take on a 2nd part time job to help make ends meet. Including benefits, Sarah is lucky to make $30,000 per year. Now in her early fifties, she will need to work for as long as there is strength left in her body to do the job.

George works for a fire department serving an affluent suburb on the California coast. Taking into account the vacation time he earns as a 25 year veteran, he works less than two 24 hour shifts per week before qualifying for overtime. Since five day weekends are overkill, he often works one or two extra shifts a week,doubling his pay. When he goes on calls, 98% of the time they are medical emergencies, not fires. Including moderate amounts of overtime and the employer’s payments for his benefits, George makes about $250,000 per year. Now in his early fifties, he… Read More

Edward Ring

Friedrichs vs. the CTA Ruling Could Restore Free Speech Rights of Government Workers

In less than one weekthe U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, to determine whether unions can force public employees to fund speech through collective bargaining with which they might disagree. The case could result in a landmark decision impacting the First Amendment rights of millions of public sector workers nationwide.The California Policy Center joins hundredsof other organizations and millions of individual activists in urgingthe Supreme Court to rule in favor of the plaintiffs.

If the justices rule in favor of Friedrichs, the decision would not only take away government union’s ability to get public employees who do not pay them fired in the half of the states – most definitely including California – which do not have right-to-work, but would allow public workers to opt out of their union without needing to renew their objection every year. Here in California, the decision, which is expected in June 2016, would impact well over 1.0 million state and localpublic employees who are currently unionized.

The Friedrichs case rests on the argument that anything and everything that public… Read More

Edward Ring

Moral Values That Underlie Opposition to Government Unions

Often missing from entirely legitimate criticism of government unions is an accompanying explanation of the moral values that underlie the criticism. Last month we published a post entitled “Deceptive and Misleading Claims – How Government Unions Fool the Public,” which listed ten myths that government unions use repeatedly in their propaganda campaigns. Missing in that post, and added here, are the moral values that underlie the need to expose each of these myths.

TEN GOVERNMENT UNION MYTHS AND THE MORAL ARGUMENTS AGAINST THEM

Myth #1: Government unions are protecting the middle class.

Reality: Government unions are protecting government workers at the expense of the private sector middle class. The agenda of government unions is more wages and benefits for government workers, and more hiring of government workers. To adhere to this agenda, failure of government programs still constitutes success for these unions. More laws, more regulations, and more government programs equates to more unionized government… Read More

Edward Ring

Deceptive and Misleading Claims – How Government Unions Fool the Public

California’s public sector unions collect and spend well over $1.0 billion per year. When you have that much money, you can hire thousands of skilled professionals to wage campaigns, litigate, lobby, negotiate, and communicate. You can hire the best public relations firms money can buy. You can commission research studies that spin facts to support your agenda. You can silence voices of dissent, voices of reason, voices of reform, with an avalanche of misinformation. And it works.

Here, then, for what it’s worth, is a “top ten” list of some of the biggest deceptions and misleading claims made by California’s government unions.

1 – Government unions are protecting the middle class.

FALSE. Government unions are protecting government workers at the expense of the private sector middle class. The agenda of government unions is more wages and benefits for government workers, and more hiring of government workers. To adhere to this agenda, failure of government programs still constitutes success for these unions. More laws, more regulations, and more government programs equates to more unionized government workers,… Read More

Katy Grimes

Pension Day of Reckoning: Taxpayers on the Hook For Outlandish Pension Promises

A public pension crisis of epic proportions is brewing in California. The state’s public pension disaster is the greatest financial challenge California has faced since the Great Depression.

A new book by economist Lawrence McQuillen, exposes the true magnitude of the unfunded liability disaster, and focuses on the critical policy actions that drove California’s public pension debt to these heights. In California Dreaming: Lessons on How to Resolve America’s Public Pension Crisis, McQuillen, Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute, also examines the perverse political incentives of elected lawmakers and pension officials that reward them for not fixing the problem, rather letting it escalate. McQuillen… Read More

Edward Ring

Libertarians, Government Unions, and Infrastructure Development

“Alright, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?” – John Cleese, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, 1979

Any discussion of California’s neglected infrastructure has to recognize the three factors most responsible, libertarians, environmentalists, and government unions. Picking libertarians as the first example is not by accident, because libertarians are perhaps the most unwitting participants in the squelching of public infrastructure investment. By resisting government involvement in any massive public works project, libertarians provide cover to public sector unions who know that public works fundingcompetes for tax revenues with their own pay and benefits.

When it comes to squelching public infrastructure investment, however, nobody can compete with California’s environmentalist lobby. Their lawsuitshave stalled infrastructure development for decades. And the identity of interests between government unions and environmentalists is multi-faceted. The most obvious is that when there is no… Read More

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