Brown Embraces the Public Unions

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Ignoring reams of material that suggest dangerous taxpayer liabilities have been created by public employee benefit programs, Jerry Brown appealed to the public unions to back his campaign for governor declaring California’s fiscal problems are not the unions’ fault but that of Wall Street and corporations.

As governor his first time around, Brown created the strength of the modern public labor union in the state by signing into law collective bargaining. He did not shy away from that action this past weekend. As reported by Jack Chang in the Sacramento Bee, Brown said, “I’m very proud to have created this system that gave workers a choice.”

That statement is in contrast to the regret Brown has supposedly expressed in private over the years for his previous action. True or not, he made it clear that it’s his intention to escort the public unions to the big election dance this year. Brown needs the political power of the unions to battle his wealthy GOP opponents and he is embracing his deal with the unions dearly.

Besides trying to frame the election as a battle between corporations and working people, Brown also is hoping the public unions can replicate their successful beat-down of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger when he took on the public sector unions in the 2005 special election.

However, those were different times.

The 2005 election ballot came before the devastating worldwide recession that belted California and government budgets. Perhaps more importantly, that election occurred before the general public became more aware of the obligations placed on them to make good on promises made to public sector workers. When private workers, both unionized and non-unionized, scramble to create retirement savings or cover health care costs for their families, the benefits that these workers must guarantee for the public worker becomes a sore issue. Sympathy for the public sector will not run as high as it did in 2005.

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