CA Dems Dangerously Channel Reagan

In 1968, Governor Ronald Reagan signed the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act endowing police and other local personnel with the power to bargain collectively with the governments that employ them, making California only the second state to do so and taking a dangerous stepFranklin Roosevelt and labor leader George Meany had long discouraged. Reagan’s act was partisan (at that time police were largely GOP) and a decade later, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Rodda and Dills Acts extending the same powers to school and state employees more likely to favor his party. Together, the bills have done terrible damage to California’s governance.

Now another partisan bill (AB 314) has been introduced in the Legislature to similarly endow legislative staff. Like Reagan, the sponsors seek to create a partisan piggy bank. But just as it was dangerous to endow police, it would be dangerous to endow staffs who are supposed to provide uninterested counsel to elected representatives who should neither seek nor worry about endorsements or donations from their own staffs. The Legislature should reject that bill and terminate the use of collective bargaining in all public employment.

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