As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Blackmailing of SEIU In California

Roger Niello has found a use for the special election - to deny the SEIU a contract they bargained in good faith with the Governor. Enough Yacht Party members joined him to delay the deal.

A local Republican on Monday helped defeat an Assembly bill that must be passed to enshrine the new contract the Schwarzenegger administration signed this year with its largest state workers' union.

Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks, urged legislators to oppose or abstain from voting on AB 964, saying it was "awfully inappropriate" to vote right now on the agreement with the Service Employees International Union, Local 1000.

Niello said legislators should wait at least until May 19, when Californians vote in a special election on six propositions to shrink the budget gap.

"We should not pre-empt the voters by dealing with this issue today (Monday)," Niello told the Assembly. "It can wait until June or after."

Of course, voters have no say in government labor contracts; they appear nowhere on the May 19 ballot. But Andrew McIntosh explains what's really going on here, something the Sacramento Bee saw fit to put on their website but not in their print edition.

Niello appears to be using Republican clout to offer the governor some leverage - holding out on the contract approval as long as possible so that the SEIU doesn't mount a major attack-ad campaign on propositions he favors, such as 1A.

That proposition would give the governor new power to unilaterally make mid-year cuts in spending to some programs and extend certain tax increases by two years.

That's hardly speculative. Niello voted for the budget and supports the ballot measures that resulted from them. He knows that SEIU has already dropped $500,000 into defeating Prop. 1A, the long-sought spending cap, and has decided to use the leverage of the contract vote to blackmail SEIU into keeping quiet. Even Republicans who don't support the special election have no problem taking time out of their busy day to shit on workers, so they are happy do the Governor's bidding, hoping that, in the aftermath, they can knuckle the union down for more concessions should the measures fail. Which would be absurd - the Governor made a deal, which includes major concessions from the union, separate from the passage or failure of any ballot measure.

No surprise, by the way, that the Bee doesn't go into this level of detail in their print edition - the editorial board basically threatened SEIU in exactly the same way as Niello a week or so ago, arguing that the passage of their contract should be tied to Prop. 1A's passage. And they have the audacity to call out the SEIU for duplicity, while rooting on legislative blackmail because SEIU's parent organization disagrees with the editorial opinion of the Bee on how to best serve the long-term interests of the state. And this shows in them leaving the underlying reasons for legislative deals out of their news articles.

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