Ten Years of Union "Ugly" in California

So, who have been the top two political donors in California over the past decade, accounting for around one-third of all political donations during the period when the Golden State went from the envy of the world to the laughingstock of the nation? According to the L.A. Times,

--The California Teachers Assoc., which spent $211.8 million.
--The California State Council of Service Employees, $107.4 million.

We've seen what the teachers unions have done to public education out west. But what is the California State Council of Service Employees? It's the state version of the national Services Employee International Union, the labor juggernaut headed up by the Obama White House's most frequent visitor, Andy Stern. More than 350,000 of its members are California state employees. Which may help explain why Obama put Stern on a conference call with the Schwarzenegger administration to discuss how the state wouldn't get stimulus money if it followed through on the governor's meek threats to maybe fire a couple of state employees. Gee, I wonder what Stern is going to recommend in his new role as a member of the administration's fancy new deficit-reduction panel?

Never forget: When confronted last year with his wretched impact on California governance, Stern said: "Democracy is an ugly thing at times." Now he's poised to inflict that ugly on the rest of the country as well. Good thing that President Obama, in the words of spokesman Robert Gibbs yesterday, has been so busy "reducing the undue influence of special interests and their lobbyists over government."

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  • Mo||

    I'm really surprised the prison guards' union isn't on the list.

  • Xeones||

    That alt text is racist.

  • sage||

    Geez, Matt. Is that the best you could do? Eight lousy links to back up your comments? Go sit in the corner.

  • ||

    "Which may help explain why Obama put Stern on a conference call with the Schwarzenegger administration to discuss how the state wouldn't get stimulus money if it followed through on the governor's meek threats to maybe fire a couple of state employees."

    If this had been anywhere else but Reason, I might have thought they were burying the lead...

    That should be the headline across every newspaper in California for weeks! That should be the lead story on every third rate local television news broadcast!

    Well, okay, maybe it's a little wordy for a headline, but still!

  • jester||

    The worst part is that the International Union of Union Bosses protects the jobs of union bosses should anyone decide it's time for THEM to go.

  • LibertyBill||

    As I said in the last union thread, no public service jobs should be unionized.

  • sage||

    This. And I would put teachers at the top of that list.

  • ||

    Agree with LB.
    sage - Fucking cop unions would be at the top of my list if only because teacher don't regularly bust down innocent folks' doors and beat the crap out of them.

  • sage||

    OK, maybe we could put a few of them in a cage and shoot the ones that come out.

  • Mad Max||

    Let the winner come out of the cage.

  • LibertyBill||

    I have no problem with unions per sey but they shouldnt be on the tax payer dime. Private sector only

  • ||

    Been saying this for years, since the San Diego cops were the first in California to unionize.

    It makes no sense for a "collective bargaining" unit to "bargain" with an employer that has no incentive (or even any means) to "bargain" over employee salaries and benefits.  The only way a gov't entity can work out the math is by raising taxes, which they have no reason NOT to do; after all, they have all the badges and guns (literally).

  • ||

    North Carolina and Virginia (I'm not sure how many other states) don't allow state employees to collectively bargain, though they can join sort-of union associations. The new (Dem, like always) governor of North Carolina is pushing to allow it.

  • ||

    Approx. half of that decade, McCain-Feingold was the law of the land.

  • Tapeworm||

    "The California Teachers Assoc., which spent $211.8 million."

    And yet they claim to be grossly underpaid.

  • jester||

    Teacher's need raises so they can keep their standard of living as union dues go up.

  • Spartacus||

    Gee, I wonder what Stern is going to recommend in his new role as a member of the administration's fancy new deficit-reduction panel?

    I didn't really believe you until I checked the link.

    Jesus. H. Fucking. Christ.

  • Corduroy Rocks||

    I missed that the first time I read it.

    You have got be f'ing kidding me.

    That takes the cake. Next up, he appoints Sean Penn as ambassador to Venezuela (which actually wouldn't be so bad, it would get him out of the country)

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Odd how govt workers would need unions. They work for the benevolent govt, which can be trusted to protect us all.

  • ||

    +A

  • jester||

    The unions are for those evil spells when Republicans run the show.

  • ||

    Didn't you get the memo?

    They are all just pawns of the robber baron corporations.

  • ||

    The "underpaid" teacher meme is the worst misnomer out there.

    A) you're paid what you are worth. If you are so underpaid, go work at another, better paying school. They are out there. Districts in my area pay some teachers $80G. Some start at $30G or $40G. That ain't bad.
    B) their pay is comensurate with their essentially lay-off proof, termination proof, nice fat pension position.

    I'm guessing lots and lots of people would trade $10,000 a year, or even $20,000, in salary for virtual gauranteed employment with possible early retirment on a big, fat pension.

    I know a retired Spanish teacher who is retired, and living comfortably. She's 56. Not many occupations outside the auto unions can say that.

  • ||

    You know? If instead of talking about illegal immigrants, if LameLacko said all the stupid things he says about public employee unions? He might actually make some sense!

    Who needs illegal immigrants to blame for destroying California when you have the public employee unions pushing the envelope way over the line?

    I imagine little guys running around, accusing the public employee unions of everything under the sun--callin' 'em liars. Taking the media to task for not giving it enough coverage--or trying to cover up the truth!

    If only the anti-immigrant folks hated public employee unions instead! If only.

  • anonymous||

    Immigrants are individuals considered in aggregate. Unions are organizations, and many of their nominal members have no real involvement in their politics outside of paying dues -- since joining is either a requirement or a clearly beneficial choice when getting a public sector job.

  • ||

    My new mantra:

    Teachers should be "at will" employees; no tenure, no union. Get the job done, or GTFO.

  • ||

    No unions, huh? Surely you aren't suggesting that teachers should be prohibited from getting together and saying "if you move the start of the day back any more, we'll all quit".

  • ||

    They should absolutely be free to do that. And the schools should be free to ignore their demands, or even fire them for making them.

  • ||

    Public schools firing people for exercising their right to assemble? Hmmmm.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    "Anyone who ever f-ed an El Ed major knows what's wrong with American education"
    -- PJ O'Rourke

  • ||

    I don't get it. What's wrong?

  • ||

    When confronted last year with his wretched impact on California governance, Stern said: "Democracy is an ugly thing at times." Now he's poised to inflict that ugly on the rest of the country as well. Good thing that President Obama, in the words of spokesman Robert Gibbs yesterday, has been so busy "reducing the undue influence of special interests and their lobbyists over government."

    Does it really matter what the Obama! administration says? That's including the words 'and,' 'but' and 'the.'

  • ||

    When confronted last year with his wretched impact on California governance, Stern said: "Democracy is an ugly thing at times."

    I don't see why you're giving him such a hard time over that statement. That, and everything he said around it, was true: our elected representatives are normally controlled by special interest groups, with the possible exception of periods of acute voter anger immediately preceding an election.

    I certainly don't think it was in his best interest to tell the bitter truth there, but that doesn't mean I'm going to criticize him for dishing out something beside the usual pablum.

  • ||

    I was once a member of the SEIU, but it was, in my opinion, a scam: The low budget law offices of a nationally-known firm were so incredibly cheap that they didn't want to pay for employee health plans, not even the attorneys. The employees were required to be members of the SEIU and had the option of buying coverage from the SEIU. It turns out, the firm chose the SEIU because the union rep was a childhood buddy of one of the partners, and the union never did a single thing to help the employees. So, in essence, I had to pay union dues for a union that was a total fake, i.e., set up for the purpose of offering overpriced health insurance and not for the purpose of defending employees. Ever since then my position has been: if your union isn't a total scam, then prove it.

  • ||

    In Greece, 40% of all workers get a civil service type pension plan.

    Like California, this is not working out well.

  • ||

    Once I kept getting letters from SEIU saying that they had a collective bargaining agreement with my employer and that I had a choice. Pay them dues or pay them administrative fees that were 85% of the dues. I would just chuck the letters in the trash. After a while they stopped coming.

    But the thing is, they were worded as if I had no choice and that I should be paying them back for getting me my job. They never got me the job, I did. They never negotiated my pay, I did.

    But the wording of the letters made it seem as if there were severe penalties for not playing along.

    When you get letters like this, just throw them in the trash.

  • ||

    I don't know if I'd recommend the ostrich head approach to letters like that. As labyrinthine as labor laws tend to be, it might be better to talk to a lawyer or someone else in the know.

    I bet a lot of those guys who got letters from DCFS claiming they were the father of some ho's child threw them out thinking they were absurd also.

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