Thursday, November 09, 2006


Through much of 2005 California had a governor who was extremely hostile to unions and did his darndest to make them powerless. The unions had to spend millions and millions of dollars trying to defeat his anti-union ballot measures which were staunchly opposed by most union members. Throughout this time, while many Democrats were on the sidelines, cowed by a popular movie star governor, Phil Angelides led a strong fight to protect unions. He stood up for the unions when they needed someone to stick up for him.

I mention this because I took another look at the exit polls for the governors race and noticed that unions gave Schwarzenegger 43% of the vote (only 51% went to Angelides). Angelides went so far on a limb to fight for unions and when he needed someone to fight for him against Schwarzenegger, half of them abandoned him. Wow! Not a way to keep your friends if you ask me.

I'm a former Teamster and have a certain affinity for union organizing. While I have many issues with how a lot of unions are run, I am a very big believer in the need for strong unions. Much of the things workers take advantage of today (child labor laws, safety regulations, 40 hour work week/overtime, benefits, getting paid, etc.) are a result of union organizing. I guess Angelides' advocacy for them didn't mean that much to a lot of them. Either that, or they quickly erased 2005 from their memories. I think its the latter because during the primary, they definitely did the work to get Schwarzenegger elected.

I'm also surprised that LA county barely went for Angelides. With a Democratic mayor who caused quite a stir not too long ago, I'm more than a little disappointed he didn't do more for Angelides. That's not something I'll be forgetting when he thinks about running in '10. It seems like his ambitions took precedent and I find that politically and morally abhorrent. (I'm happy for someone to convice me otherwise. Really, I am.)


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