Big Labor Wall Crumbling in California?

Big Labor Wall Crumbling in California?

California is a long ways off from becoming a Right to Work state as the union bosses hold incredible sway over elected officials throughout the state. But Forbes' Joel Kotkin argues a new reform wind is blowing that threatens the old way of doing business: As with the old party bosses in Russia, [Jerry] Brown’s distinct lack of courage has only worsened California’s lurch toward fiscal and economic disaster. Yet as the budget woes worsen, other Californians, including some Democrats, are beginning to recognize the need for perestroika in the Golden State. This was most evident in the overwhelming vote last week in two key cities, San Diego and San Jose, to reform public employee pensions, a huge reversal after decades of ever more expansive public union power in the state. California’s “progressive” approach has been enshrined in what is essentially a one-party state that is almost Soviet in its rigidity and inability to adapt to changing conditions. With conservatives, most businesses and taxpayer advocates marginalized, California politics has become the plaything of three powerful interest groups: public-sector unions, the Bay Area/Silicon Valley elite and the greens. Their agendas, largely unrestrained by serious opposition, have brought this great state to its knees. California’s ruling troika has been melded by a combination of self-interest and a common ideology. Their ruling tenets center on support for an ever more intrusive, and expensive, state apparatus; the need to turn California into an Ecotopian green state; and a shared belief that the “genius” of Silicon Valley can pay for all of this. Now this world view is foundering on the rocks of economic reality. Californians suffer from a combination of high taxes and intrusive regulation coupled with a miserable education system — the state’s students now rank 47th in science achievement — and a rapidly deteriorating infrastructure.

How California Unions Hijacked the Golden State

How California Unions Hijacked the Golden State

Liz Peeks at the Fiscal Times looks at the political and economic damage big labor has done to the once Golden State: President Obama raked in a hefty $15 million from Hollywood’s elite at George Clooney’s home last week. The $40,000 per plate star-studded crowd cheered the president’s just-in-time conversion to same-sex marriage; are they equally enthused about Mr. Obama’s economic prescriptions? Californians should know better. Their state, best known for red carpets, is awash in red ink, just like the federal government. Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown announced that the state’s budget deficit will approach $16 billion this year, up from $9.2 billion projected just a few months ago. Years of misguided financial policies have led to this: stifling taxes and savage cuts to public services – including Medicaid, childcare and welfare programs. Even movie stars occasionally venture out. What do they find? A state with 12 percent of the country’s population and one third of its welfare recipients. A state with the nation’s lowest bond ratings, the second-highest marginal income tax rate and the third highest unemployment rate. Most important – a state that CEOs rank the worst in the country for doing business. Dead last! For the eighth year in a row. The upshot? Businesses are leaving California. Spectrum Location Solutions reports that254 California companies moved some or all of their work and jobs out of state in 2011, an increase of 26 percent over the previous year and five times as many as in 2009. According to the Labor Department, California’s private employment actually shrank 1.4 percent over the past decade, while Texas added 1.15 million jobs.

California -- Worst Abuser of Union Monopoly Power & Most Abused Taxpayers in America

California -- Worst Abuser of Union Monopoly Power & Most Abused Taxpayers in America

From mob connections to corruption, many unions could compete for the title of "worst union in America."  But to Troy Senik, writing at City Journal, the title goes to the brazen California Teacher's Association: In 1962, as tensions ran high between school districts and unions across the country, members of the National Education Association gathered in Denver for the organization’s 100th annual convention. Among the speakers was Arthur F. Corey, executive director of the California Teachers Association (CTA). “The strike as a weapon for teachers is inappropriate, unprofessional, illegal, outmoded, and ineffective,” Corey told the crowd. “You can’t go out on an illegal strike one day and expect to go back to your classroom and teach good citizenship the next.” Fast-forward nearly 50 years to May 2011, when the CTA—now the single most powerful special interest in California—organized a “State of Emergency” week to agitate for higher taxes in one of the most overtaxed states in the nation. A CTA document suggested dozens of ways for teachers to protest, including following state legislators incessantly, attempting to close major transportation arteries, and boycotting companies, such as Microsoft, that backed education reform. The week’s centerpiece was an occupation of the state capitol by hundreds of teachers and student sympathizers from the Cal State University system, who clogged the building’s hallways and refused to leave. Police arrested nearly 100 demonstrators for trespassing, including then–CTA president David Sanchez. The protesting teachers had left their jobs behind, even though their students were undergoing important statewide tests that week. With the passage of 50 years, the CTA’s notions of “good citizenship” had vanished.

California -- Worst Abuser of Union Monopoly Power & Most Abused Taxpayers in America

California -- Worst Abuser of Union Monopoly Power & Most Abused Taxpayers in America

From mob connections to corruption, many unions could compete for the title of "worst union in America."  But to Troy Senik, writing at City Journal, the title goes to the brazen California Teacher's Association: In 1962, as tensions ran high between school districts and unions across the country, members of the National Education Association gathered in Denver for the organization’s 100th annual convention. Among the speakers was Arthur F. Corey, executive director of the California Teachers Association (CTA). “The strike as a weapon for teachers is inappropriate, unprofessional, illegal, outmoded, and ineffective,” Corey told the crowd. “You can’t go out on an illegal strike one day and expect to go back to your classroom and teach good citizenship the next.” Fast-forward nearly 50 years to May 2011, when the CTA—now the single most powerful special interest in California—organized a “State of Emergency” week to agitate for higher taxes in one of the most overtaxed states in the nation. A CTA document suggested dozens of ways for teachers to protest, including following state legislators incessantly, attempting to close major transportation arteries, and boycotting companies, such as Microsoft, that backed education reform. The week’s centerpiece was an occupation of the state capitol by hundreds of teachers and student sympathizers from the Cal State University system, who clogged the building’s hallways and refused to leave. Police arrested nearly 100 demonstrators for trespassing, including then–CTA president David Sanchez. The protesting teachers had left their jobs behind, even though their students were undergoing important statewide tests that week. With the passage of 50 years, the CTA’s notions of “good citizenship” had vanished.