Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Debate Over Public Workers’ Rights Comes to California

Over the past couple of days, the debate over the rights of public workers in America to collectively bargain has spread from Wisconsin, where GOP Gov. Scott Walker proposed tough union legislation last week, to Indiana and now California, where Republican state assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) introduced a bill on Tuesday that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for California’s public school teachers, nurses and every other public worker in the state.

The bill proposed in California likely faces an early death, because the state’s legislature leans heavily Democratic, and Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has already vowed not to target public workers to help solve the state’s monumental budget woes. Many of California’s Republican lawmakers, however, are calling for dramatic public pension reform as a component of the state’s budget negotiations. Despite the numerical advantage enjoyed by state Democrats in the legislature, Brown still needs a handful of Republicans to cross the aisle before his budget can pass, notes Reuters.

The Commonwealth Club of California has often examined the role of unions in California and across the country, and below are some examples of related material:

–By Ella Arnold


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