The Mercury Sun News editorial provides a strong critique of several pieces of new Sacramento legislation, claiming the bills are simply jobs protection measures for unionized employees.
The bills include Senate Bill 469 which requires cities to conduct an economic impact analysis before approving big-box stores that sell groceries. Unions are for it. Grocers and land developers are against it.
AB 646 and AB 455 involve labor negotiations with unions. SB 931 forbids local government from using taxpayer funds on lawyers or consultants advising on how to get around union rules – which could be interpreted in one of two ways – does it limit local spending or does it favor unions?
And AB 438 requires public notice before a city can withdraw from a public library and contract with a private provider while “barring lower pay rates and layoffs in a new system.”
If the editors’ analysis is correct, the bills show how public sector unions as a special interest can acheive their goals outside of the collective bargaining process. At least one California legislator has introduced a bill aimed at collective bargaining reform. It could be that these bills aimed at local government may be part of unions’ pro-active strategy to prevent layoffs or firings of public employees should local governments introduce competition to city services.