In California, we fiscal reformers will always be swimming vertically up Niagara Falls until we break the back of public employee labor unions. We can do it, but only through the initiative process. NEVER will we achieve success through the legislature.
“Paycheck protection” — ending government payroll deduction of union dues — is is an initiative that should be put before the voters as often as possible. If nothing else, the union will be forced to spend $30-$50 million to block it.
Another initiative should FORCE state and local governments to put government functions out for competitive bid — “managed competition.” No option (except for police, perhaps). Unfortunately it’s hard to keep labor from crippling such a mandate, as happened in San Diego. Still, we know managed competition is a way to reduce union clout and dues — and the proof is the unions’ apoplectic response whenever such a contracting out option is suggested.
Even better would be to return to the 1970’s situation (when everything was great in California, according to liberals), when there were toothless public employee labor unions — before Governor Brown changed the law to essentially mandate that government employees must join labor unions. Again, this change can only happen by initiative, and would be a tough battle, to put it mildly.
All these initiatives would be difficult to pass. But compared to what? Every legislative session, labor will push through numerous laws blocking or crippling reform efforts and solidifying their stranglehold on state and local government. In this day and age, they can pretty much get any legislation passed that they desire. Occasionally a governor will veto it, but not often.
We simply CANNOT win those legislative battles — the unions OWN the state legislatures. We are doomed if we don’t gut the public employee labor unions.
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