The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 27, 2013
What California state workers earn: Prison and parole officers

DS_PRISON_OFFICER.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

Perhaps no union worked harder to curry Gov. Jerry Brown's favor in 2010 than the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

The union put in $1.8 million into an independent campaign to return Brown to office, invited him to CCPOA's annual convention in Las Vegas (the Democratic governor accepted) and didn't declare war on Brown's plan to shrink the state prison system and shift parole duties to local governments.

CCPOA reached agreement on a contract with Brown in 2010 after years of working under terms imposed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. That pact, like most of the others covering state employees, expires at the beginning of July.

A look at what CCPOA members earned in calendar 2011 and 2012:

December 31, 2012
Engineers put Prop. 32 defeat at top of 2012 political priority list

California's state engineers union gave top priority to defeating Proposition 32, contributing $600,000 to efforts that turned back the campaign finance measure at the November polls.

Professional Engineers in California Government's PECG PAC's contributions to the No on 32 campaign accounted for more than one-third of the $1.7 million the engineers gave to campaigns, parties and causes, according to the 13,000-member union's political contribution filings.

Total political spending by PECG came to $2.2 million this year. Professional services ranked a distant second on the union's expense list, with the money going to a pair of well-known Sacramento-based consulting firms, Blanning & Baker Associates ($56,000) and Aaron Read & Associates ($28,000).

Blanning & Baker is the consulting/lobbying/labor relations firm co-founded by Bruce Blanning, PECG's executive director. (Click here for a piece ithat profiles Blanning as one of The Bee's Californians to Watch in 2013.)

As you look through the data below, tabs at the bottom of the table open other worksheets that parse the numbers in a few different ways.

Expenditures show everything a union PAC spent on political activities, including operating costs such as fees paid to political consultants and attorneys. Contributions pages break out donations given to political campaigns and causes.

For groups that are not independently organized, such as SEIU, AFSCME, IUOE and others, the data don't reflect spending by their umbrella organizations.

December 7, 2012
Law officer union gave $630,000 to initiative, Democratic Party

The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association's largest political expenses this year have been contributions to Proposition 32 and the state Democratic Party, according to the union's most recent campaign filings.

CSLEA gave a total $350,000 to efforts backing Gov. Jerry Brown's successful tax proposal and another $280,000 to the party. The union also spent $292,000 on printing expenses.

The union focused its independent expenditure resources on a handful of legislative races. It spent $114,000 to support Riverside Democrat Richard Roth's successful run for the Senate and another $102,000 for Santa Rosa Democrat Michael Allen's unsuccessful bid for re-election to the Assembly.

CSLEA also divvied up a little more than a quarter-million dollars among 80 campaign committees controlled by politicians, an average of $3,145 per committee.

As you look through the tables below, tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheets open worksheets with more detailed information.

Remember that expenditures show everything a union PAC spent on political activities, including operating costs such as political consultants and attorneys. Contributions pages break out donations given to political campaigns and causes. Late contributions are money that came in after the regular filing deadline.

For groups that are not independently organized, such as SEIU, AFSCME, IUOE and others, the data don't reflect contributions from their umbrella organizations.

October 9, 2012
Blog back: The NFL refs, government worker ratios; the Prop. 32 debate

Blog backs review your thoughtful and provocative online comments, amplify points, answer questions, correct our mistakes and humbly accept your warranted criticism.

As the campaign contributions pour into the campaigns supporting and opposing Proposition 32 in the final weeks before the Nov. 6 election, debate over the measure has heated up on The State Worker:

September 24, 2012
Unions contribute $3.48 million to anti-Proposition 32 campaign

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100806 ballot-box.jpgThe American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees contributed $1.5 million to defeat Proposition 32, part of $3.48 million given by labor unions and politicians within the last week.

The campaign supporting the campaign finance-reform initiative raised about one-tenth over the same period.

September 20, 2012
Column Extra: More about unions' and business interests' political spending

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Our column in today's Bee cites data from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a nonpartisan organization that tracks the path of political cash in California and other states, including money spent by labor unions and business interests.

We choose to look at contributions in 2010 for today's column because that's the last election year for which there is complete data. The institute uses quarterly reports from the California Secretary of State, so the figures for this year didn't include many of the biggest contributions for and against Proposition 32 that have come in since the end of June. Those numbers will be released early next month. We'll post them here.

On a related note, starting today we're tapping into an automatically-updated Proposition 32 contributions widget that will appear whenever we blog about the measure. The widget, left, comes courtesy of Maplight.org, another nonpartisan group that tracks political spending in California and elsewhere.

September 14, 2012
Conservative organization gives $4 million to Proposition 32

With a single donation, a conservative group with ties to the Koch brothers has doubled the money backing a ballot measure that would hamper union's political fundraising.

The Des Moines, Iowa-based American Future Fund gave $4 million to a new committee backing Proposition 32, the California Future Fund for Free Markets.

The American Future Fund is an organization affiliated with the Center to Protect Patient Rights, which in turn has reported ties to billionaires Charles and David Koch.

The measure has several provisions, but labor groups are most concerned about its ban on using payroll-deducted money for political purposes. If enacted, the measure would eliminate unions' fundraising staple while leaving corporations relatively unscathed, since they raise their money from executive contributions or by tapping company resources.

The donation signals that a funding fight that was running 10-1 against the measure is far from over.

The Koch brothers, worth an estimated $50 billion, are considered among the conservative movement's most generous donors, although the opaque nature of PAC reporting makes it difficult to know exactly how much they have donated to candidates and causes around the nation.

September 11, 2012
See who's fighting Proposition 32

The spreadsheets below, downloaded from the California Secretary of State's filings this morning, detail $35.8 million in contributions to the No on 32 campaign.

Labor organizations have made defeating the measure a top priority this fall, since it would squeeze their political spending resources. The measure would ban payroll-deducted monies from use for political purposes, cutting off unions' chief means of raising such funds. Corporations would come under the same restrictions, but the measure wouldn't impact them as significantly since they play in politics with money contributed by executives and companies' funds.

We're posting this spreadsheet in response to several blog users' requests that we make the information easily accessible. We'll soon publish the details behind the funds raised by the Yes on 32 side, which amounts to a little more than $3 million.

August 17, 2012
Charles Munger Jr. gives $635,035 to Proposition 32 campaign

Palo Alto physicist and frequent GOP political donor Charles Munger Jr. has contributed another $635,035 this week to back a campaign finance reform measure, according to recently filed state records. It's his second six-figure donation to the Proposition 32 campaign in three months.

Munger, whose namesake father has made billions of dollars as an investment partner of Warren Buffett, has backed a number of Republican candidates and causes, including California's successful redistricting reform initiatiative, Proposition 20.

In May, he gave $237,000 to the pro-Proposition 32 campaign.

The measure goes before voters on Nov. 6. It would ban unions and corporations from contributing directly to candidates, although both could still fund campaign efforts that run independently. Another provision would prohibit either group from using payroll-deducted money to fund those independent expenditure campaigns, which would choke off organized labor's chief source of political funding. Corporate campaign and candidate contributions come from executive donations or company treasuries. The measure wouldn't affect those donor sources.

Aug. 16 Yes on Proposition 32 contribution report

August 17, 2012
San Francisco hedge fund manager donates $500,000 to defeat Prop 32

Thumbnail image for 120817 Tom Steyer.jpgThe list of big donors to the campaign against Proposition 32 reads like a laundry list of unions -- with a notable exception: Thomas Steyer.

Recently-filed state records show that Steyer, a San Francisco hedge fund manager and major player in California politics, gave $500,000 to the No on 32 campaign on July 30.

Until now, those kinds of donations from individuals in the private sector have gone to the pro-Proposition 32 side. The measure is largely seen as much more business-friendly, since one of its provisions would end union and corporate use of payroll-deducted money for political purposes. That would cut off organized labor's primary vehicle for collecting political spending funds while leaving corporations relatively untouched, since they get funding from their company resources and executive donations.

August 14, 2012
Union chips in $2.5 million to fight Proposition 32

Service Employees International Union has put another $2.5 million into defeating Proposition 32 , a November ballot measure that would alter how political campaigns are financed in California.

The donation came from SEIU's California State Council of Service Employees Issues Committee, according to state records filed on Monday, bringing the total contributions to the No on 32 campaign to about $19.5 million.

Between contributions from its issues committee and from SEIU Local 1000, the union has now kicked in about $3.5 million to defeat the Nov. 6 ballot proposal.

The Yes on 32 campaign has taken in about $4 million so far.

The measure would ban unions and corporations from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. It also bans direct campaign contributions by either interest group. Both sides could continue funding independent expenditure campaigns.

Labor unions have made defeating the initiative their top priority because they rely on payroll-deducted member dues to build their political war chests, including money for independent expenditure efforts. Corporations use contributions from executives and funds from their company treasuries to play in politics, so the measure wouldn't hit them as hard.
Aug. 13, 2012 Late Contribution Report -- Proposition 32

August 13, 2012
Court issues split decision on Proposition 32 language

A Superior Court judge in Sacramento has rendered a split ruling on a lawsuit contesting the language that describes a campaign-finance measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Judge Michael P. Kenny refused to strike a key sentence in the Proposition 32's title and summary that a proponent sued to take out -- although the court agreed with the measure's supporter that some words in Proposition 32's label needed to be strengthened.

Fights over initiative language are common. The titles and summaries appear in the state's voter pamphlet to describe ballot initiatives. Voters see initiatives' labels on the ballot when they vote. Both are written by the attorney general's office.

Kenny refused to strike this sentence from the measure's title and summary: "Other political expenditures remain unrestricted, including corporate expenditures from available resources not limited by payroll deduction prohibition."

It's a key point that the Yes on 32 side wants to downplay while unions have seized on that fact to blast the measure as a veiled attack on labor that would leave corporate interests relatively untouched. Unions depend on payroll-deducted money to play in politics, whereas as corporations get funds from individual donations and company treasuries.

He did agree to change words such as "limits" and "restricts" to "prohibits," as the strikeouts show in this snippet of the amended title and summary:

July 30, 2012
California Democratic Party takes 'no' stance on union dues measure

The California Democratic Party formalized its position on Proposition 32, voting at a weekend executive board meeting to oppose the November initiative.

The measure bans unions and corporations from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. It also bans direct campaign contributions by either interest group.

Defeating the measure on the general election ballot is seen as the top priority for labor unions, which rely heavily on payroll-deducted member dues to build their campaign war chests, and their Democratic allies.

"We have a real fight on our hands in California this year but Democrats are prepared to dig deep and work hard to win," California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said in a statement. "If Prop 32 were to pass, it would effectively silence the voice of working families at the ballot box while giving corporate interests and billionaire businessmen free rein to exert even more influence on our political system. We're not going to let that happen."

See where the California Democratic Party stands on the other ten measures slated for the November ballot over at our sister blog Capitol Alert.

July 23, 2012
Proposition 32 opponents blast measure as flawed, unfair

Leaders and activists representing good government advocates and labor organizations today officially lauched their fight against a campaign finance reform measure on the November ballot, depicting it as unfair and fatally flawed.

The measure, Proposition 32, eliminates payroll-deducted monies from use for political purposes by unions and corporations. It also bans campaign contributions by either interest group, although both could continue spending unlimited sums on independent expenditure efforts.

July 6, 2012
Firefighters group gives $1 million to fight campaign finance measure

Here comes the big money.

The union coalition fighting a Nov. 6 measure aimed at restricting unions from collecting campaign cash from their members has received a $1 million dollar donation, according to records filed with the state.

Meanwhile, the campaign backing the initiative, which would end using payroll-deducted monies for political purposes, has received a $500,000 contribution from the head of a Palo Alto holding company, state records show.

California Professional Firefighters Ballot Issues Committee made the million-dollar donation late last month to defeat the initiative, sending a seven-figure signal that labor interests have put the initiative squarely in their cross hairs.

Donations to fight the measure have reached about $8 million so far.

On the other side, Thomas M. Siebel, founder and chairman of First Virtual Group, gave $500,000 to the measure's "yes" campaign four months ahead of the election.

Monday's donation brings the funds raised to support the initiative to a little over $4 million.

June 21, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 reacts to U.S. Supreme Court decision

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgSEIU Local 1000 spokesman Jim Zamora emailed this statement to The State Worker in response to this morning's U.S. Supreme Court decision against the union in Knox v. SEIU Local 1000:

Unfortunately this decision continues the attack on the right of public sector workers to act collectively to impact their workplace on important issues However, we can make the narrow adjustments the court requires on our dues system.

It should be noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the right of corporations to put millions of dollars into the political system. Yet shareholders currently have no right to object to the spending of that money against their political or ideological beliefs.

The high court ruled that the union should have given nonmembers an immediate chance to object when it unexpectedly increased fees in 2005 to fight two ballot initiatives backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and to raise money for the upcoming 2006 election campaigns. The union said that the yearly opportunity workers have to opt out was sufficient.

RELATED POSTS
U.S. Supreme Court rules against SEIU Local 1000 in fee case
U.S. Supreme Court takes SEIU fee hike case
SEIU Local 1000 wins union fee case in 9th Circuit Court

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

June 19, 2012
GOP donor Munger chips in for, unions against payroll measure

120619 MungerJr_baer_2008.JPGThe American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO and the International Association of Fire Fighters - FIREPAC have given a combined $600,000 to defeat a California measure that would ban payroll-deducted money from use on political spending, according to the latest campaign filings with the state.

Meanwhile, Stanford physicist Charles T. Munger Jr. (left) donated more than $237,000 to the group promoting the measure on the November ballot.

Munger is a major GOP donor who backed California's redistricting reforms and is prodding the state Republican Party to the moderate middle by downplaying issues such as abortion, gun rights and same-sex marriage. He also gave $119,469 last year to a group that is now aligned with conservative interests backing the initiative. Supporters have given about $3.3 million to the campaign so far.

The organized labor opponents of the measure have raised more than $7 million so far.

The initiative would ban both unions and corporations from contributing directly to candidates, although both could still fund independent expenditure campaigns.

But should it pass, the measure would be a bigger blow to labor interests because it eliminates their primary method of raising political spending money -- payroll deductions. Corporations raise the bulk of their cash for those purposes from top executives and corporate funds.

PHOTO: Charles Munger Jr. of Santa Clara listens to debate during the California Republican Party convention held at the Hyatt in San Francisco in February 2008. / Sacramento Bee file, Brian Baer

June 18, 2012
Anti-paycheck-donations campaign launches web video

The group backing a measure that would ban using payroll-deducted money for direct contributions to political candidates has launched a new web video that hammers state employee raises while the state is mired in a deficit.

The video, titled "Deficit," is embedded below. It follows an Internet broadside recently fired off by labor unions.

The raises the pro-initiative web ad references are top-step hikes negotiated in the last rounds of contract bargaining in 2010 and 2011. For the most part, the wage increases offset higher out-of-pocket pension costs the unions accepted in their last contracts. The pension contribution increases started immediately after the deals took effect, while the pay hikes were deferred.

The initiative would ban both unions and corporations from contributing directly to candidates, although both could still fund independent expenditure campaigns to support candidates.

The measure would hit labor interests, however, because it eliminates their primary method of raising money -- payroll deductions -- that they would use on IEs. Corporations, by contrast, raise the bulk of their political spending money from top executives and corporate funds.

May 22, 2012
Unions give $500,000 to oppose 'paycheck' ballot measure

The California Labor Federation has donated $500,000 to the campaign fighting a November measure aimed at restricting union political fundraising.

The proposal would prohibit unions and business groups from donating money directly to political candidates, although all could continue spending on independent expenditure campaigns.

The proposition also eliminates payroll-deducted contributions, unions' primary means of raising money. Corporations couldn't use payroll deductions either, but they get the bulk of their political funding from top executives and company treasuries.

The measure's backers say that the proposal is even-handed and that both business and labor interests are displeased at the prospect of it becoming law.

According to a statement filed with the California Secretary of State last week (and posted below), the Labor Federation made its donation on May 4, part of $6.3 million raised so far by the opposition campaign.

The group backing the measure has raised about $3 million.

120517 Labor Fed

April 27, 2012
Firefighters, SEIU Local 1000 give $500,000 to fight ballot measure

California Professional Firefighters and SEIU Local 1000 recently donated a combined half-million dollars to the group combating a Nov. 6 ballot measure aimed at curbing unions' political power and banning direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions.

The California Professional Firefighters Independent Expenditures PAC donated $250,000 on April 11 and Local 1000 kicked in $252,762 a couple days later, according to a report filed this week with the state.

Local 1000 and the state council with which it's affiliated have given nearly $1.1 million since last summer. Professional Firefighters, between its independent expenditure committee and its ballot issues committee, has donated $800,000 over the past nine months. Contributions to defeat the measure now total $5.7 million.

Supporters raised about $2.9 million so far.

The proposal would stop unions and businesses from donating money directly to political candidates, although both groups could continue spending freely on independent expenditure campaigns.

Labor groups would have a harder time raising money for those independent campaigns, however, because the measure also eliminates payroll-deducted contributions, unions' primary means of raising money. Corporations couldn't use payroll deductions either, but they raise the bulk of their campaign money from checks written by top executives and shareholders.

April 19, 2012
Column Extra: Union gives $500,000 to fight 'paycheck' ballot measure

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, most of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Today's State Worker column mentions the latest donation tallies in the campaign arms race over the Stop Special Interest Money Act, dubbed "paycheck deception" by its opponents in labor.

The biggest donation to either side since we last reported the numbers: a $500,000 contribution from the California Council of Service Employees Issues Committee, which like other labor groups, opposed the measure. The council is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.

CALIFORNIA STATE COUNCIL OF SERVICE EMPLOYEES ISSUES COMMITTEE APRIL 4 DONATIONion

April 16, 2012
Paycheck initiative gets $250,000 donation, faculty union trumps it

Former Univision CEO Jerry Perenchio gave $250,000 last month to support a ballot measure that would ban payroll deductions for raising money for political purposes, according to documents filed with the state.

Two days after Perenchio's Mar. 24 donation to the "Stop Special Interest Money Now Act" campaign, the California Faculty Association Political Issues Committee put $350,000 into Alliance for a Better California 2012, No on Paycheck Deception, sponsored by educators, firefighters, school employees, health care givers and labor organizations.

Perenchio's check was the biggest of a total $365,000 in pro-initiative donations reported to the Secretary of State's office on this April 4 filing.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Protective League's Public Safety First PAC put in $125,000, bringing the total to defeat the measure on this April 10 report to $375,000.

Both sides are writing checks anticipating a political slugfest that could total $50 million or more in campaign spending by the time voters decide on the measure in November.

While the initiative would ban both unions and corporations from contributing directly to candidates, both could still fund independent expenditure campaigns to support candidates.

Labor contends the measure is tilted against them, because it eliminates their primary method of raising money -- payroll deductions. Corporations, by contrast, raise the bulk of their campaign money from top executives and shareholders.

In all, supporters have given $2.9 million and opponents $4.7 million.



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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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