Almost all Democrats in the California State Legislature vote in committee and on the floor of their chamber for any bill sponsored by the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. There are exceptions in rare circumstances, usually when a Democrat recognizes that a union-backed bill sets up an artificial system to favor middle class suburban white men among people seeking vocational education and employment in the construction trades.
Now there are Republican legislators supporting the construction union legislative agenda, in effect voting for government intervention to maintain or expand union involvement in commerce. I informed Republican leaders and activists about this development in an August 19, 2013 article in www.FlashReport.org – Unions Tempt Republicans with “Bipartisanship” Lure: Five Tips for Resistance – and an August 20, 2013 article in www.UnionWatch.org – Some Republican State Legislators in California Push the Union Agenda.
Republican elected officials who support the union agenda have a right to do so, but they need to be accountable to voters and to Republicans who see their 157 year-old political party as a defender of free markets and limited government. I believe that Republicans who vote for the union agenda in 2013 (as opposed to say, 1931) think this kind of voting record will help them get re-elected to office or elected to higher office.
That strategy doesn’t often work when it really matters. Generally, unions end up supporting a Democrat with a credible chance of winning a competitive election against a Republican who votes for greater union power and influence in commerce and government. There are practical parliamentary reasons to do so: party majorities and supermajorities are fundamental to the development of public policy.
I’ve noticed during more than 20 years working in politics that Republicans who support union-backed bills also tend to be the ones who end up “compromising” under pressure on high-profile budget issues – tax increases, for example – often in exchange for political favors. Votes on union issues are a key indicator of where an elected official will stand when the Establishment is clamoring to take more money from people to fund government programs.