As Californians hold our collective breath hoping for a budget breakthrough, so far there’s not a Republican vote to be found. GOP legislators won’t support new revenue, they won’t vote for the cuts they claim they want, and they won’t close corporate tax breaks. Months of budget stalemate prompted Governor Brown to ask, “If they’re not going to do anything, why even take a paycheck?”
Turns out, Republicans have had a few other things on their to-do list this month. The downside is that just about everything they want to do just makes life harder for working people in California.
While they don’t seem to care about a balanced budget, here are a few things that Republicans would like to do for the people of California:
- Undermine the eight hour day, cutting worker take home pay. (SB 367-Dutton)
- Cut construction worker wages by scaling back prevailing wage protection. (AB 987-Grove and AB 1032-Mansoor)
- Kill jobs by stopping the construction of high-speed rail. (AB 952-Jones and SB 22-LaMalfa)
- Take away collective bargaining rights from public service workers. (AB 961-Mansoor)
- Cut the pay for laid off teachers working as substitutes. (SB 266-Dutton)
- Eliminate seniority and due process protections for teachers. (SB 355-Huff)
- Take away meal breaks from armored car drivers. (SB 319-Wyland)
- Take away off duty lunch breaks from workers in 24 hour care facilities, who would no longer be allowed to leave the worksite. (SB 389-Dutton)
- Make it harder for workers to get their day in court when employers cheat them out of wages or meal breaks. (AB 271-Nestande)
- Give corporations another billion dollars in tax cuts. (SB 395- Dutton)
- Eliminate workers rights, health and safety, and consumer protection by requiring that all regulations be repealed after five years. (SB 401-Fuller)
- Protect companies whose products cause death or injury and who acted with “fraud, oppression, or malice” from having to pay up. (AB 158-Halderman)
Wow, that’s quite a wish list. In these times of unprecedented income inequality, all the Republicans want is to cut worker pay and protections and reward corporations, even if they break the law. It’s taking from those who have the least and giving to those with the most.
No wonder its so hard to negotiate a budget solution with these guys. Their concerns have nothing to do with helping the people of California.
Caitlin Vega is a Legislative Advocate for the California Labor Federation (CLF), representing 2.1 million union members in manufacturing, retail, construction, hospitality, public sector, health care, entertainment and other industries. This article is republished from the CLF’s blog, Labor’s Edge.