The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 5, 2012
California's state operating engineers local spent more than $470,000 on political activities last year

This is the latest installment in a series of posts detailing the 2011 political spending by California state workers' unions. The records are downloaded from the California Secretary of State's office and reflect activity filed as of Jan. 31, 2012.

Editor's note, 12:25 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the total of IUOE Local 3's 2011 spending.

The 12,000 or so skilled craftsmen, maintenance staff and equipment operators in Bargaining Unit 12 are represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers, Craft Maintenance Division, California locals 3, 12, 39 and 501.

This post focuses on IUOE Local 3, which spent $473,000 on political activities last year through 10 accounts reported to the Secretary of State. The largest account paid the local and the Operating Engineers General Fund a combined $176,000 for "reimbursement of salaries." Another $100,000 went to the California Democratic Party.

As you look through the tables that follow, remember that expenditures show everything a union PAC spent on political activities, including operating costs. Contributions pages break out donations received (usually from members) and donations made to political campaigns and causes. In some cases, tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheets open tables with more detailed information of the union's political spending.

Most of Local 3's accounts showed expenditures and political donations that matched exactly. For the few accounts that reported significant overhead, we totaled the expenditures and posted those figures on the first page of of the appropriate spreadsheets. We also totaled up contributions to recipients when the number of line items merited it.

The first sheet tallies each of the Local 3 accounts' expenses. Detailed spreadsheets for each account follow, starting with the largest, filer number 981697. (We've included a staff/spouse travel tab that shows the union paid $7,300 for airfare, lodging and meals.)

We'll soon post the data for the other three locals representing Unit 12.

To get a sense of similar spending in California by other interest groups, check out The California data on that site run through December 2010.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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