Democratic governor hopefuls genuflect to unions

By Sal Rodriguez | Democratic candidates for governor flocked to Riverside last week to pay their respects to the most important constituency of the Democratic Party: public employee unions.

On Wednesday and Thursday, John Chiang, Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa decided it was necessary for the sake of photo ops and fostering goodwill to their future donors to join striking members of Service Employees International Union Local 721.

The union, which represents public employees in Southern California, is currently throwing a fit over not getting its way in negotiations with Riverside County.

Since 2012, members of the union have seen average salary increases of 38 percent, according to county spokesman Ray Smith. But of course, the idea of not getting more has prompted SEIU 721 to turn up the histrionics, typical for SEIU during negotiation time.

Officially, the union’s strike on Wednesday and Thursday has to do with allegedly unfair labor practices by the county, not necessarily pay, but of course it’s no coincidence the strike is occurring amid negotiations that aren’t going as desired.

Riverside County’s finances, like those of governments across California, have been drained by its public sector unions, which see themselves as more important than the taxpaying public.

To read the entire column in the Press-Enterprise, please click here.

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