Those whose images of Southern California are still influenced by our strong local history of brutally won "industrial freedom" may be surprised to learn that L.A. is bucking national trends by becoming an increasingly unionized town, riddled with various strikes. Public sector bus mechanics have been walking picket lines for a month, screwing over 500,000 working class commuters and making street traffic roughly 37 percent worse. More popularly, 70,000 big-chain supermarket employees have been on a combo strike/lockout since Oct. 11, introducing tens of thousands to the yuppie-hippie delights of Trader Joe's.
For a random case study in how unions are muscling out non-union competitors, at taxpayer expense and via political influence, this Michael Hiltzik column in the L.A. Times is interesting. The punchline: the non-union shop summarily fired was a subcontracted janitorial firm who for the last eight years have been servicing the capitalists over at UCLA's Anderson School.