Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
July 20, 2015

  • Labor biggest donor to legislative campaigns
  • Dozens of union-backed bills await final action
  • One major measure would enhance contract secrecy

Only a sixth of California’s wage earners are members of labor unions, but they carry a very big stick in politics.

Unions are the largest single source of legislative campaign funds, a recent Sacramento Bee compilation revealed, and among Democrats, their hegemony is even more pronounced.

Not surprisingly, therefore, a Legislature dominated by labor-backed Democrats sees a large number of union-sponsored bills.

This year is no exception, and when legislators return to Sacramento in August for the final month of their 2015 session, they will find dozens of union bills awaiting disposition.

A small sample:

▪ Assembly Bill 219, by Assemblyman Tom Daly, D-Anaheim, would redefine public works projects to include delivery of ready-mixed concrete by outside suppliers. Thus, it would require payment of “prevailing wages” – essentially union scale – to delivery truck drivers.

▪ Construction unions also back Assembly Bill 852, by Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Los Angeles, which would apply prevailing wage law to construction projects at private hospitals when they are financed with “conduit revenue bonds.”

▪ Assembly Bill 1431 would expand “job order contracting,” an alternative to competitive bidding, to all school districts, but only if they adopt project labor agreements that essentially confine bidding to unionized companies. Its author is Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles.

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