Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Union Busting Comes To California In The Form Of AB 961

Mansoor introduces bill to stop pension bargaining

The Costa Mesa state assemblyman's bill would end collective bargaining of pension benefits for state employees.

COSTA MESA — Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, who never shied away from a policy battle as mayor of Costa Mesa, now is proposing state legislation that would remove collective bargaining for public employee pensions in California.
Mansoor's office announced Tuesday that he's proposing Assembly Bill 961, which would end collective bargaining for pension benefits for state employees.
"As a former deputy sheriff and union member, I know how the process works," said in a phone interview from Sacramento.
"The public employee unions have all the power to influence politicians and it's the taxpayer with no one at the table advocating on their behalf … it's gotten way out of control and the taxpayer should not have to pay increasingly higher amounts," he said.

See More at the Daily Pilot


  1. I saw this:

    On May 2nd, 1933, the day after Labor day, Nazi groups occupied union halls and labor leaders were arrested. Trade Unions were outlawed by Adolf Hitler, while collective bargaining and the right to strike was abolished. This was the beginning of a consolidation of power by the fascist regime which systematically wiped out all opposition groups, starting with unions, liberals, socialists, and communists using Himmler’s state police.

    There is more at the link.


  2. Thanks, Tom. Asking public employees to not get raises is reasonable. Asking them to give up their right to bargain is asking them to commit suicide.

  3. Because it worked so well in Wisconsin...

  4. The "right" to bargain?? That is not an enumerated constitutional right.

    Imagine walking into your bosses office, stomping your foot on the ground and proclaiming your right to bargain. The only bargaining that will be done is with a security as you are escorted out.

    Consider this: Trade unions are OK but public employee unions are not. Think about it. All of those factors which gave rise to the unions do not exist within government agencies. Also, there are numerous stop-gaps, checks and balances, and whistle-blower protection laws to protect the rights of workers even without a collective bargaining unit.

    You also have to keep in mind that public employee unions are not leveraging for a piece of corporate profit. Public employee unions are leveraging public tax dollars. If GM (bad example, I know) raises the price of cars to cover labor costs, people will stop buying the cars and they will go out of business (unless they get another bailout!). The same is not true with public agencies because they do not sell a product or a service for profit. Instead, public agencies rely on taxes collected from property owners and retailers. That creates a very fixed income for the agency to use. They cannot simply raise taxes to cover all of the costs that are demanded of taxpayers through the negotiation process. We have seen what happens when workers got greedy in the City of Bell. Management got caught doing exactly what the public employee unions have wanted to do for years and that is raise taxes to pay for more benefits and perks. At some point tax payers run out of money. That is the point we are at.
    Raising taxes will compel even more corporations (oh those evil corporations) to head to Nevada or Florida and take the jobs with them. High labor costs and taxes gave HP plenty of reason to outsource manufacturing.

  5. OK first, GM got a loan not a bail out! The banks got the bail outs.

    Second, the first sentence of the Preamble to the US Constitution does say "in order to form a more perfect union."

  6. Belioeving that current laws, or the state itself, will "protect" workers from abuse from the state is naive at best. Although I no longer work for the state...retired now...I can not count the amount of times the union had to take the state to court to force it to follow, bot only the contract which it had negotiated, but the laws in general. The state is not an employee friendly employer...never has been. When I first went to work for them in 1977, I was working a 120 hour shift with no overtime. Any "extra" hours worked, in excess of that 120, were "paid" out as comp time. All that and the pay scale was abhorrent to begin with.

    I am in complete agreement that changes are in order, but to eliminate the ability of a public union to exist, or bargain for wages and benefits, is ensuring that those workers slowly retreat to the dark ages of employment.

    Quit giving prisoners Cadillac health care options, quit paying for the never ending treatment of illegals, and quit paying for never ending entitlement programs for people who refuse to be productive and we wouldn't be having this conversation now.

  7. Thank you for bringing us the news on this potential legislation, Tom. This is the first I've heard of this. Equally startling in conjunction was Kym's recent news here that "House Republicans just voted to do away with government funding for The Corporation for Public Broadcasting which sponsors, among other vital programming, Sesame Street, PBS, NPR and, of course, (our local) KEET TV."

    Your opening comment was very illustrative. Thank you. Greg countered with an equally good point of taxation, a better climate for business, and the horrible example of Bell running amok. Well taken.

    I suspect we're in for a slow erosion of democracy, collective bargaining, union representation, labor standards, wages, and public media given these developments, Wisconsin events, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Citizens United decision, and... a whole host of other things.

    We've shipped jobs, profits, sheltered taxes, and our economy overseas, imported cheaper stuff sold in big box stores to increase our purchasing power for declining incomes, and decreased personal allowance of bankruptices while allowing banks and the financial service sector to be bailed out when their economic machinations, devices, and experiments greedily failed.

    What's next? Busting unions and driving down wages while increasing corporate profits. After all, we have to compete with those other countries we sent everything off to.

  8. Thanks Skippy. I didn't write that kick off but it did get my attention enough to pass it along.

    People are turning this around and saying that the workers are the reason we don't have jobs anymore. Workers and regulations.
    Regulations like the Glass-Steagall ACT that kept banksters from gambling with peoples homes and retirement savings but was repealed by Graham-Leach-Bliley ACT. in 1999. That single regulation gone or amended to the point that it no longer served a purpose caused more economic havoc over the next 12 years than any single other factor. The unions were doing well when their retirements were fluffed up into a bubble. Times were so good that George W. Bush wanted to put all the Social Security money into the private sector.

    This is what happens when we go strictly private for our retirements. Social Security is funded for the next 37 years or so but this private pool of money has evaporated for many people. A few have done well, mostly banks that believe that they are people but the real people suffer.

    Our Republic is set up so that we elect people to represent us. When they represent the corporate person more than the real ones and allow their funders to write laws that allow our futures to be auctioned off, we have no freedom. We are oppressed by entities that by their nature have no morals and are chartered such that they are required to make a profit over anything else.

    One solution is to loose the Republic and form a Social Democratic form of government.

    The other is to overturn Citizens United and Union Pacific verses Santa Clara and tell corporations that they are corporations not people.
    A simple way to do this is to insert the word Natural before citizens into the current laws.

  9. Well said. I'm familiar with all you mentioned-- except Union Pacific vs. Santa Clara. I'll be looking that up. Thank you, Tom.

  10. I've worked directly for two massive agencies in California and found that the agencies, as a whole, were quite willing to follow all of the the laws. There is the occasional rotten apple supervisor but a call to HR usually helps shed light on the situation.

    Also, there are whistle-blower laws posted in every HR office, pay office, break room, or other gathering place for workers throughout California. The union offers little that the individual employees cannot do for themselves, save collective bargaining.

  11. Skippy this is from Wikipedia:

    The decisions reached by the Supreme Court are promulgated to the legal community by way of books called United States Reports. Preceding every case entry is a headnote, a short summary in which a court reporter summarizes the opinion as well as outlining the main facts and arguments. For example, in United States v. Detroit Timber Lumber Company (1906), headnotes are defined as "not the work of the Court, but are simply the work of the Reporter, giving his understanding of the decision, prepared for the convenience of the profession."[4]

    The court reporter, former president of the Newburgh and New York Railway Company, J.C. Bancroft Davis, wrote the following as part of the headnote for the case:

    "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does."[5]

    In other words, corporations enjoyed the same rights under the Fourteenth Amendment as did natural persons.[6] However, this issue is absent from the court's opinion itself.



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