Big Labor Tightens Its Control Over California

Union bosses undoubtedly spent tens of millions of dollars, mostly workers’ money, to protect Gavin Newsom. (Credit: Brittany Hosea-Small/Reuters)

Recall Outcome Keeps Government Union Bosses in Driver’s Seat

Whatever its attractions, California is clearly a hard place to be an ordinary private-sector wage or salary earner with a family to take care of. And the lot of the state’s embattled middle class has not improved under the tenure of Big Labor Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom. As California pundit Joel Kotkin outlined in a commentary first published on September 15, the day after Mr Newsom beat back a recall attempt with ample help from union-boss money and manpower, the Golden State is in trouble.

It has America’s “highest cost-adjusted poverty rate,” the “second lowest homeownership rate among the states,” and the “greatest concentration of overcrowded housing in the nation.”

But as far as union bigwigs are concerned, California is, if not perfect, definitely preferable to Right to Work states like Arizona, Texas and Georgia. 

In these states, employees are far more likely to be able to afford to own a home. But Big Labor lacks forced-dues privileges, and monopolistic unionism in the government sector is relatively rare.

California’s status as a Big Labor mecca is exemplified by A.B.5, a law signed by Mr Newsom in 2019.

This highly unpopular measure forces independent contractors to be reclassified as employees so union chiefs can grab monopoly-bargaining and forced-dues privileges over them.

Californians Manifested Opposition to Big Labor Agenda Just Last Fall

In November 2020, Californians overwhelmingly voted in favor of Proposition 22, a challenge to A.B.5 that exempted hundreds of thousands of drivers for ride-share and delivery companies from the law’s onerous provisions.

The lopsided 59%-to-41% victory for Prop.22 is now in legal limbo as a consequence of an August decision overturning it issued by a Big Labor-“friendly” Alameda County judge. An appeal is expected.

Regardless of how the legal battle over Prop.22 turns out, the vote demonstrated that most Californians don’t support corralling workers into unwanted unions.

“Big Labor bosses know full well that, in order to retain California as an incubator for pro-union monopoly policies, they must dig deep into their forced dues-stocked treasuries again and again to protect the politicians who do their bidding,” said National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix. 

“This is exactly what happened after 1.7 million California citizens signed recall petitions against Gavin Newsom.”

Lavishly Funded Big Labor Messaging Campaign Worked Exactly as Planned

Mr. Mix continued:

“Despite what Mr Newsom’s media enablers tout as his ‘landslide’ recall victory, he actually received more than two million fewer votes than did Prop.22, which rolled back a forced-unionism law the governor had rubber-stamped.

“Union strategists understood that, in a low-turn out mid-September election, their forced-dues-fueled political machine could prevail simply by getting the governor’s core supporters to the polls.

“To make sure Californians who would vote for a Democrat governor under any circumstances cast ballots, top bosses of unions like the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union deployed thousands of union professionals to make millions of phone calls and knock on hundreds of thousands of doors.

“The SEIU hierarchy alone admits to having spent $6 million to protect Mr Newsom. Big Labor’s combined 2021 expenditures on his behalf certainly ran into the tens of millions of dollars.

“And union officials’ massive anti-recall campaign was funded primarily with dues and fees taken out of California workers’ pockets, even though, according to a poll analysis cited by the Los Angeles Times, roughly half of union household members rejected Big Labor’s claims and supported Prop.22.

“Congress is culpable in this matter. It’s federal law that authorizes private-sector union bosses to force employees across the country to bankroll a union, or be fired, unless the employees are protected by a state Right to Work law.

“To end this abuse, National Right to Work Committee members are lobbying to build support for and ultimately pass S.406/H.R.1275, the National Right to Work Act.

“This bill would fully protect the freedom of employees in every state, including California, to join or not join a union. It would thus empower millions of workers to stop financing a forced-unionism agenda they oppose.”

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