FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Californication: Unions Ride Roughshod Over Jerry Brown
California unions spent tens of millions to put retread Governor Jerry Brown back into office. So, it is not all that surprising that he is, once again, doing California’s taxpayers no favors by letting the unions ride roughshod over him in recent budget negotiations.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Brown recently walked into budget negotiations with six different unions with saving $308 million in mind. However, he walked out saving a mere $110 million.
Brown’s spokesman, Gil Duran, says the original number was just “a negotiating tactic. If you say you’re only shooting for a certain amount in labor negotiations, you wind up with less than that.” But that’s thin spin. Brown failed to meet expectations.
An example of Brown’s negotiating…er…acumen was recently provided by Brown in the recent contract he negotiated with the prison guards’ union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, a union that contributed $2 million help get Brown elected.
According to California Watch:
Buried deep within the labor contract recently approved by Gov. Jerry Brown for the state prison guards’ union is a provision that essentially lifts the cap on the amount of vacation those workers are allowed to accrue throughout their careers.
Typically, state workers are allowed to bank 80 days worth of unused vacation, which can be cashed out when they leave state service. That vacation is cashed out at a worker’s rate of pay when they retire, so leave banked earlier in a state worker’s career effectively becomes more valuable over time.
Our investigation last year showed that over a three-year period from 2006 to 2009, retiring state workers cashed out nearly a half billon dollars in unused vacation. At least $100 million of that, and probably much more, was for vacation in excess of the state’s 80-day cap.
The corrections liability is even higher. As the Times pointed out, the average corrections worker has accumulated about 19 weeks of unused leave, creating a cash liability of more than $600 million that is virtually guaranteed to grow.
In January, the question was asked about how Jerry Brown will handle public unions. Well, the question has now been answered. He won’t.
Jerry’s failing to stay tough at the bargaining table has him taking some well-deserved flak. He, however, is standing up for himself:
Brown told me that a few people have “tried to say there was something corrupt” in his union negotiating. But he loudly insisted: “I’m not a jerk, a clown or a crook….
“As God is my witness, I did the best I could.”
Given California’s history of failing to get its fiscal house in order, as well as unions owning California Democrats like Brown, it is little wonder why California’s exodus continues with more and more businesses leaving.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776