Public unions targeted

Proposal would end collective bargaining
Will Bigham, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Created: 10/30/2011 10:22:53 PM PDT

Petitions are being circulated for a ballot measure designed to end collective bargaining for California’s public- employee unions.

The End Public Sector Bargaining Act would eliminate collective-bargaining rights for public employees such as teachers, nurses, police officers and firefighters. It is similar to a Wisconsin law passed this year.

The measure would apply not only to state employees, but to employees at local government agencies such as counties, cities and school districts.

The measure’s sponsor, a UC Santa Barbara economics lecturer, must gather more than 800,000 signatures by Feb. 3 for the measure to qualify for the the Nov. 6, 2012, presidential ballot.

Jack Pitney, a political-

science professor at Claremont McKenna College, called the measure “dead on arrival” because of the state’s left-leaning politics and strong union presence.

“I’d be surprised if he can even get it qualified,” Pitney said. “I doubt he can get enough signatures.”

The measure’s sponsor, Lanny Ebenstein of Santa Barbara, could not be reached for comment.

Ebenstein is a former board member at Santa Barbara Unified School District and an author who has written biographies of free-market economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.

In a recent commentary article on the Cal Watchdog website, Ebenstein called public-sector employees overpaid and blamed collective bargaining for their “inflated” compensation packages.

“Ending public-sector collective bargaining would enable each local government agency in the state, and the state itself, to establish the pay cut-backs and benefit reductions that will make sense for it,” Ebenstein wrote.

“The status quo is unsustainable. In a democracy, it will not be the case that programs for seniors, children, the environment, the ill, the unemployed, the infirm and the homeless will be eviscerated to enable the remaining public servants and public-sector retirees to live in luxury.”

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