Unions in the News – Weekly Highlights

Unions in the News – Weekly Highlights

Steve Glazer, Blazing a Trail

By Joel Fox, April 14, 2015, Fox&Hounds

A Democrat will be elected in the Senate District 7 special election next month but depending on which Democrat is elected the result could change the course of California political history. Steve Glazer, the Orinda mayor and former Jerry Brown advisor is a life long Democrat who stands for many issues the California Democratic Party endorses. He was the campaign manager for Jerry Brown’s return to the governor’s office after a three-decade absence, and he helped promote the Proposition 30 tax increase in 2012. Yet, Glazer is more than a candidate for office. He could become a symbol of change in state politics. Glazer has dared to stand up to the powerful public employee unions who have great influence over elected Democratic officials in the legislature. (read article)

L.A. Public Works Okays Hiring Non-Union Trash Collectors

By Mirna Alfonso, April 14, 2015, Patch.com

With city workers threatening to strike, Los Angeles public works commissioners agreed today to give city officials the authority to hire outside contractors to pick up solid waste and perform other critical jobs if necessary. The Board of Public Works Commissioners voted to allow the Bureau of Sanitation to quickly hire contractors in the event that sanitation workers walk off the job. (read article)

Unions central to Brown’s infrastructure plans

By James Poulos, April 13, 2015, CalWatchdog.com

Faced with a restive constituency disgruntled by drought, Gov. Jerry Brown has moved to execute on his plans for California infrastructure — a boon to labor unions, but a point of contention for his political adversaries. As the Los Angeles Times reported, trade workers will benefit from Brown’s aims to refurbish roads and replumb the state’s waterworks. But most of all, they’ll cash in on the construction of California’s high-speed railway, under increasing fire as a misplaced priority amid the water crisis. (read article)

Obamacare Funds Allegedly Used For Union Recruitment

By Connor Wolf, April 13, 2015, California Political Review

According to a letter made public Saturday, federal investigators are looking into whether Obamacare funds were misused to benefit a union. The letter, which was obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, says the Office of Inspector General has been investigating whether Southern United Neighborhoods and its sub grantee, United Labor Unions Local 100, purposely misused federal funds from the Obamacare Navigator program to recruit members. The program was designed to help people enroll in Obamacare. (read article)

Proposed pension initiative targets local changes

By Ed Mendel, April 13, 2015, Capitol Weekly

The leaders of two local pension reforms, former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio, are working with a coalition on a statewide initiative to help local governments make cost-cutting pension reforms. DeMaio called the proposal a “tool kit” for local officials to “fix the problems in a manner that reflects their community’s ability.” (read article)

Legislator takes aim at automated union dues

By Madlin Mekelburg, April 12, 2015, Houston Chronical

A Senate panel on Monday is expected to vote on a bill that would keep most state employees from paying union and other association dues through payroll deductions. Police officers and firefighters would be exempted from the bill by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, who said the measure “keeps state resources from funding political campaigns.” (read article)

Unions fight to preserve Obama’s immigration actions, their members

April 12, 2015, FoxNews.com

Two of the country’s most powerful and politically influential labor unions are backing President Obama in the recent court challenge to his 2014 executive action on illegal immigration, saying they support the president’s effort because “undocumented workers” need more workplace protection and their participation helps the U.S. economy. (read article)

Smear campaign by public-employee union beyond the pale

By Phil Trounstine and Jerry Roberts, April 11, 2015, Contra Costa Times

If you are a voter in Walnut Creek or Concord, San Ramon, Livermore or Pleasanton, you might not want to support Democrat Steve Glazer for state Senate. Maybe you support the right of transit workers to strike, or you don’t want to reform teacher tenure or government pensions. Maybe you just want to support the candidate who will always vote labor’s position on every issue. (read article)

Unions Eyeing 2016 California Ballot for Tax Hike Measures

By Steven Greenhut, April 10, 2015, Reason.com

As California faced massive deficits, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and legislative leaders asked taxpayers to raise sales and income taxes to prevent cuts in funding for public schools and other services. Voters, repeatedly assured that Proposition 30’s increases were only temporary, approved the 2012 measure by a solid margin. “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program,” said free-market economist Milton Friedman. Apparently, there’s nothing as permanent as a temporary tax, either, as many in the same coalition that backed Proposition 30 are preparing another campaign to make it permanent. (read article)

Yearly dose of sunlight for labor unions

By Nathan Mehrens, April 10, 2015, GalionInquirer.com

With the coming of spring, baseball season, and longer daylight hours, another type of sunshine arrives — light on union finances. At the end of March, the financial reports for unions in the private and federal sectors for the previous calendar year come due. (read article)

Teachers unions: wanting the perks of membership without the politics

April 9, 2015, Los Angeles Times

If you’re a public school teacher and you pay your union dues, you get to enjoy whatever salary deal the union negotiates for you. But the union spends part of your dues on political lobbying and campaigning, perhaps for causes and candidates you can’t stand. Then what? Forcing you to pay to advance positions you dislike violates the 1st Amendment. (read article)

Doctor Strike May Be Harbinger of Reform Era Labor Problems

By George Lauer, April 9, 2015, California Healthline

Doctors at University of California student health centers are on strike this week — part of the first full-fledged strike by doctors in the U.S. in 25 years. Is this a harbinger of new labor struggles in the post-health reform era? Maybe, said Stuart Bussey, president of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, which staged the UC walkout. (read article)


By Jon Fleischman, Aprilo 9, 2015, Breitbart.com

A couple of weeks ago a freshman Republican member of the State Assembly said to me: “You were right, this place is controlled lock, stock and barrel by the unions.” It’s no surprise, of course that “Big Labor”–as these immense public and private labor unions are known–controls legislative outcomes in the State Capitol on those issues where they choose to weigh in. (read article)

Teachers union starts legal battle to unionize L.A.’s largest charter school group

By Thomas Himes, April 8, 2015, Los Angeles Daily News

United Teachers Los Angeles has brought its fight to unionize the city’s largest charter school organization to the state’s top labor authority. In a complaint filed Monday evening, the teachers union alleges Alliance College-Ready Public Schools has interfered with efforts to unionize more than 500 teachers. Los Angeles-based Alliance’s 26 campuses are located in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, south and east of downtown. Earlier this year, Los Angeles Unified’s school board approved Alliance plans to open a 27th campus in Sun Valley for 1,050 students in grades 6 through 12. (read article)

High Court Urged To Ignore Union Fees Challenge

By Aaron Vehling, April 8, 2015, law360.com

The California Teachers Association and the National Education Association have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reject review of California teachers’ challenge to union fees and a request to overrule the high court’s 1977 Abood ruling, which gave states a green light to require public workers to pay union agency fees. (read article)

Finding common cause in fighting public sector unions-Republicans and Democrats should join forces to face the threat

By Terrence Scanion, April 8, 2015, Washington Times

“If we don’t win this fight, there’s no other fight left.” That’s what New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie said soon after taking office in 2010, when he faced off with the unions representing some 400,000 state employees. Mr. Christie knew what was at stake when he pushed through reforms that included changes in future pensions and greater employee contributions for health care. (read article)

Taxpayer money fuels big labor’s political machine

By Jason Hart, April 8, 2015, Watchdog.org

America’s four largest labor unions spent more than $179 million last year promoting big government, and did so using taxpayer money. Public-sector unions were crucial to the passage of Obamacare, and in 2014 they helped push progressive priorities including minimum-wage hikes and amnesty for illegal immigrants. (read article)

California sides with unions, against charity hospitals

Adam B. Summers, April 8, 2015, Orange County Register

Given the progressive nature of California’s ruling Democratic Party, one might expect politicians to be especially compassionate about the medical treatment of the poor in the state’s charity hospitals, but their recent actions have been anything but sympathetic. (read article)

Forced Union Dues Fuel Billion Dollar Political Machine

April 8, 2015, National Institute for Labor Relations Research

The National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR) has released a new analysis conservatively estimating that Big Labor spent nearly $1.7 billion on politics and lobbying in 2013 and 2014. The NILRR analysis relies on reporting forms filed by union officials themselves with federal and state government agencies. (read article)

San Bernardino County public workers union losing 671 more members to rival

By Joe Nelson, April 8, 2015, The Sun

Service Employees International Union Local 721 dealt another blow to San Bernardino County’s largest labor union when it announced that 671 Superior Court employees would be leaving the San Bernardino Public Employees Association and joining the SEIU. (read article)

Long Beach approves historic agreement with unions for city construction projects

By Eric Bradley, April 7, 2015, Press-Telegram

Union workers will have an easier time getting a job on public construction projects after the City Council approved signing a historic project labor agreement Tuesday more expansive than any other city in California. The five-year deal with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council applies to projects costing more than $500,000, and is worth an estimated $28 million annually. (read article)

Three Labor Union Members Plead Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to Accepting Bribes in Exchange for Labor Union Memberships

U.S. Attorney’s Office, April 7, 2015, Feceral Bureau of Investigation

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CHRISTOPHER LUPINO and KELWYN BENJAMIN pled guilty today, and ADAM FORESTA pled guilty on March 31, 2015, each to participating in a conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud in connection with their accepting bribes in exchange for memberships in Steamfitters Local 638, a New York City labor union. (read article)

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