Anyone familiar with California politics knows that the most powerful forces, by far, in the state Capitol are the public-employee unions. Their clout was demonstrated this year when the California Teachers Association, the most powerful of them all, killed Senate Bill 1530, which would have made it easier to fire bad teachers for actions "that involve certain sex offenses, controlled-substance offenses or child abuse offenses."
SB 1530 was not concocted by a conservative Republican, but by state Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles, a liberal Democrat. The bill advanced after several cases of teacher abuse against children came to light. The bill passed overwhelmingly in the state Senate, 33-4. Then the CTA killed it in the Assembly Education Committee.
The episode illustrates what has happened since California public-employee unions were given collective bargaining rights in the 1970s by Gov. Jerry Brown. This occurred even though such stalwart liberal private-sector union partisans as President Franklin Roosevelt had warned that public-sector unionization would lead to too much union power and the loss of public trust in the government.
Able to raise almost unlimited funds from union dues — money deducted from salaries funded by taxes — these unions run roughshod over the Legislature, especially its majority Democrats. They have stymied pension reform and education reform and have backed almost every tax increase imaginable.
Read more here.