Big Labor Smackdown!

Steven Greenhut: I was on the Big Labor Smackdown panel this morning at the GOP Convention, where we discussed the iron grip of public sector unions on the state government. Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach detailed the importance of taking on the unions directly, while San Diego City Councilman Carl De Maio — another pro-taxpayer warrior — also detailed his election victory over a union candidate. DeMaio offered this advice: Stand strong, drain the swamp and change the rules. The first point is obvious. The second involves attacking he unions’ money sources and the third involves getting deeply involved in every level of government to change the rules in a pro-taxpayer direction. The unions, he noted, have rigged the rules of the game at every level. Kevin Dayton of the Associated Builders and Contractors, and also a Pacific Research Institute fellow (parent company of CalWatchdog), focused on the problems of Project Labor Agreements, which grant union monopolies to contractors doing business with governments.

I gave the usual talk about the massive plundering and depletion of public services by public sector unions, but offered some rays of hope. Perceptions are changing and our side is winning the debate, although it’s still a long way until we change public policy given that the state’s Democrats are controlled by unions.But we all pointed out that the Republicans have often done the wrong thing and supported these pension deals. The audience was enthusiastic, which is another hopeful sign.

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