California is crumbling under the weight of unemployment – Unions demanding more

Russ Steele

According to an article by Christopher Palmeri at

 “The percentage of working-age Californians with jobs has fallen to a record low, and employment may not return to pre-recession levels until the second half of the decade, according to a research group.

 Just 55.4 percent of working-age Californians, defined as those 16 or older, had a job in July, down from 56.2 percent a year earlier and the lowest level since 1976, the Sacramento- based California Budget Project said in a report released late yesterday.”

 “California’s 12 percent unemployment rate in July, the nation’s second-highest after Nevada, compared with 9.1 percent nationwide. The most-populous state lost 1.4 million jobs during the recession that began three years ago, and has gained back only 226,800, or about 17 percent, according to the report.”

It has taken years of bad policies, bills and regulations to kill the State economy, with a little help from the labor unions, who have bullied legislators to enhance their numbers and power. One of the reasons that green jobs and projects failed is because of the high cost, often the result of the prevailing wage requirements attached to federal dollars. Now the unions want even more mandated labor agreements that will drive up the cost of job creating projects.

There are two last-minute bill in the legislature that will soon be sailing through our labor controlled legislature. related to Project Labor Agreements or (PLAs), that you should know about and contact your legislators and ask them to oppose these bills:

Senate Bill 922.  A new bill that effectively terminates Fair and Open Competition laws and Project Labor Agreement bans enacted by local elected officials and local voters.

This heavy-handed, authoritarian bill shows how unions compel the state government to suppress the rights and powers of local governments and their hapless citizens. It will nullify PLA bans at most local governments and cut off state funding on projects for charter cities that ban PLAs. This bill was created on Friday, September 2 and is authored by the top Democrats in the Assembly and Senate. The bill is here: SB 922 as amended 9/2.


Senate Bill 436. A new bill that requires certain local governments to pay Labor Compliance Program fees to the state – unless they require their contractors to sign Project Labor Agreements with unions. (Unions claim contractors under PLAs don’t violate laws.)

Soon a new union argument for Project Labor Agreements will be “PLAs save money because you don’t have to pay for labor compliance!” This bill was created on Tuesday, August 30. At its first hearing on Thursday, the Democrat committee chairman said he didn’t understand why labor unions wanted less labor compliance, but “if the unions wanted it, he would vote for it.” The 76-page bill is here: SB 436 as amended 8/30.

While you are opposing SB 922 and SB 436 you might want to consider to also opposing Senate Bill 790, a bill about “community choice aggregation” programs. It now includes an obscure and unrelated amendment that authorizes payments in Project Labor Agreements covering utility infrastructure construction to mysterious union slush funds managed by top construction union officials. See Part 5, Section 11 of the bill on pages 27-28 here: SB 790 as amended 8/30. The primary slush fund had $3 million in the bank last year.

Here’s the scheme protected by Senate Bill 790: hold up the permit for a power plant by exploiting environmental laws until the developer or public utility surrenders and signs a Project Labor Agreement. Include a provision in the PLA requiring payments to a mysterious union slush fund. Use the slush fund to fund pet projects, contribute to election campaigns, and support other political activities. When the scheme is exposed, get the state legislature to declare it legal in the Public Utilities Code! For more details about this racket, go here.

Thanks our alert Tea Party Patriot observers for bring this legislations to your attention. Driving up labor costs is not going to help the California economy. These bills will only keep the labor union political slush funds pots full for the next election cycle.


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

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