Some unhappy with Cannella bill on unions

jsly@modbeeAugust 28, 2013 

Anthony Cannella isn’t likely to face a serious Republican challenger next year, when he runs for a second term in the state Senate. Here in the Valley, he’s well-regarded as a social conservative. He isn’t preachy; he lives family values as an involved father of four who loves bicycling and baseball.

But make no mistake, not all conservatives are willing to overlook the fact that Cannella does not consistently toe the party line. He’s especially rankled some with Senate Bill 7, the decidedly pro-union bill that he doesn’t just support but co-authored with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento.

SB7, which has passed the Senate and is very likely to pass the Democratically-controlled Assembly, would deny state construction funding – including state bond money, loans or grants – to any city whose voters have approved charter provisions that exempt contractors from paying prevailing wages for locally funded projects.

Leaders of charter cities oppose the bill; trade unions support it. And, in simplest terms, conservatives don’t like unions and they don’t like big government telling little government – or individuals – what to do.

Here’s a snippet from an article that appeared on Union Watch, a website of the California Public Policy Center, which monitors the impact of unions on government budgets and the economy:

‘‘Home rule through charters is one of the few remaining ways in California in which advocates of fiscal responsibility and limited government can buck the intrusive and costly policies of union-dominated state government. For a Republican to be a co-author of Senate Bill 7 and declare that an article of the state constitution is a ‘loophole’ that needs to be closed is a discouraging development for supporters of economic freedom.

‘‘But it’s apparently fruitful for Senator Cannella, who has received 43 percent of his campaign contributions in the first six months of 2013 from unions and construction trade associations that negotiate and administer collective bargaining agreements. (All of the other 57 percent comes from big corporate interests – this is not a ‘Tea Party candidate.’)...’’

The article concludes: ‘‘Obviously, at the end of 2013 someone needs to create a voting record (with percentages and ranking) of how Republicans voted on labor issues in the California State Legislature. Then there will be some accountability to the voters.’’ The piece was written by Kevin Dayton, president and chief executive officer of Labor Issues Solutions.

Cannella’s position on SB7 will surely win him some votes from Democrats and/or those supportive of unions. But it will be interesting to see what, if any, support he doesn’t get next year from his own party.

Opinions Page Editor Judy Sly can be reached at (209) 578-2383. Follow her on Twitter @JudySly

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