Bob Balgenorth is the president of the California State Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents approximately 350,000 workers in 186 private sector building trades local unions and regional councils.

Learn more about Bob.

Proposition 32: Corporate Billionaires’ Quest to Force Workers to Shut Up

Apparently we union workers are far too successful at affecting public policy in California. Why else would corporate billionaires be gathering and spending huge campaign war chests, for the third time in 14 years, to pass a law that would force us to shut up?

In 1998 it was Proposition 226. In 2005 it was Proposition 75. Now, in 2012, it is Proposition 32 that will silence workers’ voices and destroy our political clout, unless we beat it. Those previous measures would have prohibited unions from making political contributions with money collected from paycheck deductions. But after voters realized that corporate funds would continue to flow unabated, with workers left powerless to respond, Propositions 226 and 75 were defeated.

So now in 2012, the greedy bastards have gotten sneakier. They claim that Proposition 32 bans contributions from both unions and corporations. Sound fair? It isn’t, because it exempts their secret Super PACs, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporate interests.

High-Speed Rail Will Restore California’s “Pioneering Spirit”

on California’s High-Speed Rail plan, “goes to the heart of the state’s pioneering spirit, recalling grand public investments in universities, water systems, roads and parks that once defined California as the leading edge of the nation.

Then, after explaining all the benefits of better transportation, a stronger economy, a boom in employment, a cleaner environment and a higher quality of life, the Times summarized the simplistic opposition of a Republican politician who said: “It’s a boondoggle.”

There, in a nutshell, is our fight.

Join the Fight to Support Project Labor Agreements at the California Municipal Labor Project

, is proving a valuable tool to proactively advocate for Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) and educate the public about their benefits to local communities, schools, and cities and counties. The website is a joint labor-management effort to counteract the attempts of extreme right-wing groups like the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), who are attacking PLAs across the country and throughout California, in hopes of profiting from public works projects without guarantees of quality or of decent pay and benefits for workers.

A PLA is a pre-hire agreement designed to facilitate construction projects. Each PLA is negotiated and designed individually – tailored to meet the needs of a specific project owner/manager, or community. By governing and establishing work rules, pay rates, and dispute resolution processes for every worker on the project, PLAs maximize project stability, efficiency and productivity.

Same Old Story: Rich Republican Tycoon Against Pro-Worker Public Servant

, running against former Governor Jerry Brown? Well, yes, she fits the description.

But it’s the same story in the race for U.S. Senator from California, where rich tycoon Carly Fiorina won the Republican primary by pouring her immense personal wealth into her campaign, and who now hopes that her wealth will buy her the seat currently held by a great friend of working men and women, Senator Barbara Boxer.

Arnold’s Furloughs Have Flopped, Hurt Workers, Businesses, and All Californians

When the national recession battered California’s tax revenues and threw the state budget hugely out of balance, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to convince us that he could solve the problem with furloughs.

The plan has been a disaster. It hasn’t saved the state money. It has been a drag on the state and ultimately worsened the budget crisis. It’s disrupted state services, and, in turn, increasingly crippled the economy, slowed the recovery, and stopped job creation—especially in the construction field.