Special Interests vs. Fiscal Reform

It is impossible to easily summarize all of the efforts government worker unions have mounted in California to consolidate their power. But the efforts by these unions to disrupt reform initiative efforts, as well as undermine the initiative process itself, is worthy of special mention, and is the focus of this post.

As Californians realize that unions stand firmly opposed to reducing government worker pay and benefits as one way to reduce government deficits, and further realize that their elected officials are controlled by these unions and unable to enact reforms, the citizens initiative has become their tool of last resort. Across the state, grassroots organizations have mounted initiatives designed to reduce government expenditures – through banning Project Labor Agreements, or right-sizing government worker pensions, or through campaign finance reforms that target unions alongside large corporations. These measures constitute a profound threat to government union power.

Here are some of the ways government worker unions have spent millions of dollars over the past six months to fight reform through the initiative process:

MISINFORMATION TO THEIR OWN MEMBERSHIP: In mid-July the SEIU created a “think before you ink” flyer filled with misinformation and distortions regarding a major threat to their power, the “Stop Special Interests” initiative that would ban corporations or unions from withholding money from paychecks to finance political activity. The flyer claims, for example, that “business donates more to politics than unions by a ratio of 15-1.” Actually in California the unions spend more than business on politics, […] Read More