Jerry Brown, the Unions’ Governor

Since their inception, California’s government unions have found no greater ally than Jerry Brown. In fact, it was Jerry Brown who first authorized government employees to unionize in 1978 through the Dill Act. Since then, unions have pushed government spending on benefits and pensions to the breaking point. The self-interested unions have built a political machine of campaign spending that ensures their candidates toe the line once elected.

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When Meg Whitman ran against Jerry Brown for governor last year, her detractors loved drawing attention to the large amount of money she spent in contrast to her opponent. They sought to portray Whitman as a Wall Street billionaire completely out of touch with common folk as evinced by her ability to drop lots of cash into her campaign, while Brown was her thrifty counterpart, spending very little and promising to do the same with the state’s purse. But in reality, Whitman and Republicans were downright paupers compared to the massive spending unions typically pour into their causes. Whitman was the rarecandidate who could try to match the unions’ war chest. It was no secret that Jerry Brown wouldn’t need to raise or spend the same amount of money as Whitman since his union attack dogs would more than match any check she personally wrote.

So it comes as no surprise (although the source is a bit surprising) that the Los Angeles Times has found Jerry Brown to be a very good friend to public employee unions. In fact, according to the article, “When the dust settled on Gov. Jerry Brown’s first legislative session in nearly three decades, no group had won more than organized labor, which heralded its largest string of victories in nearly a decade.” That’s right, it’s payback time for Jerry Brown and he knows exactly which special interest group to thank for his third term as governor.

Brown’s most blatant payback to the union was his approval of legislation that will move all initiatives slated for the June primary ballot to the November general election ballot. Political wisdom holds that turnout is lower in primaries and if the Stop Special Interest Money Now Initiative appeared on the June primary ballot, its chances of passing would be much greater since voter turnout amongst its supporters would be higher. Obviously unions are scared to death that such an initiative would cut their funding at the source since it would prevent corporate and union spending as well as employee payroll deductions for political spending.

This is the most galling example of unions and Democrats bending the political and legislative processes to their will without regard for the public good. It’s a shame Californians aren’t rising up and chastising the majority party and its union puppeteers for such abuse of the system. As long as the unions’ governor sits in the horseshoe and the unions’ lackeys control the legislature, there isn’t much hope the formerly-Golden State will pull out of its nosedive any time soon.

(Meredith Turney is a social and new media political consultant as well as a political commentator and writer.)


  1. Governor Brown has prepared legislature making drastic cuts in pensions. He is proposing to move retirement to 67 instead of 55 except for those that have severe physical requirements. Anyway, that’s just the sample. Of course this will not get far in Sacramento. So more than likely, initiatives will be in the works and when they are passed , again another big block will be an appeal to our courts, which has not done well for sanity in governance.

    This should go to the bankruptcy court and let a judicial(hopefully) judge impose the initiative’s requirements or near that.

    You would think that Governor Brown , his last chance to come out with some kind of lasting remembrance of doing something well, for once.

  2. Yes, the PE unions make out like banditos, but don’t forget the illegales….the illegal Mexicans have stolen tens of Billions of $$$ from the good citizens of the Golden State….in fact California is past the point of no return,…the garbage in the election with Whitman’s illegal and the election of Moonbeam are symptoms of the demise and death of CALI.

  3. We need to decertify public employee unions across the country, fix trade to stop the massive offshoring and outsourcing of American jobs, capital investment, innovation, and E-Verify the nation just as starters. These politicians are worthless. WORTHELESS!

  4. You should take a look at SJ Firefighters pay. It’s really amazing, with an average of $150K per firefighter, retirement at 55, a life expectancy at that age of 85, and 90 percent pensions. Meanwhile, firefighters aren’t as necessary as they used to be, so they perform routine actions like sending apparatus for events that are served by paramedics. To put salt in the wound, the firefighters union elected to lay off young firefighters in order to keep their pay and benefits.

    The pensions for these people are valued around $3,000,000, are adjusted for inflation. In addition, if the stock market rises, the firefighters get the benefit of the increase. It’s insane, and all because of Brown. I do not understand how this man was re-elected. I suppose the media was more interested in Meg Whitman’s illegal maid than the state and localities going bankrupt due to insane pay, pensions, and benefits.

  5. WASP. One of the reasons for outsourcing is that it is cheaper. One of the reasons it is cheaper is that local labor in those other countries is much less. I would love to outsource firefighters, LEOs, and others. In fact, just about the whole government, if I could. It so expensive in this country, and it seems there is little bang for the buck.

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