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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for union_protest.JPGWith heated controversy in recent years surrounding public pensions, municipal bankruptcies and political campaigns, public support for labor unions has plunged in California. For the first time, more voters say these organizations do more harm than good.

A new Field Poll reveals a dramatic 16 percentage point swing in public opinion from two years ago. Forty-five percent of registered voters now believe that unions do more harm than good, compared to 40 percent who say they do more good.

This summer's Bay Area Rapid Transit system drama has also raised the question of whether public transit workers should be allowed to strike. In September, Senate Republican leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, introduced a bill to strip them of that right.

Though a slight plurality of Californians - 47 percent - still believe public transit workers should be able to strike, a majority of the usually liberal San Francisco Bay Area - 52 percent - is now opposed.

Reporter David Siders has more in his story. Here are the statistical tabulations prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert.

The next Field Poll covers Californians' views on the U.S. Congress. Our story will be available early, tonight at 8 p.m., on the Capitol Alert Insider Edition app.

VIDEO: Californians have mixed feelings about life in the state, says Dan Walters.

TRIPLE CROWN: The three leaders of California's public college systems are in San Francisco today for a panel on rebuilding public higher education in the state. University of California President Janet Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White and California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris will discuss governance, affordability and technology, among other topics, 8 a.m. at the Parc 55 Hotel.

TUNNEL VISION: As the public comment period opens on the proposed Delta water tunnels plan, opponents of the controversial project are making their displeasure known. A rally against the tunnels is set for north steps of the State Capitol at noon. Representatives from environmental, fishing, farming and anti-tax groups are expected to attend.

PHOTO: Edward West, 72, of Sacramento stands with union workers in a union-backed protest outside a Walmart in Roseville. The demonstration was part of a nationwide campaign protesting wages at Walmart on Black Friday, November 29, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling


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