Who guards the guards?

The state’s standoff with the prison guards union shines a light on how the state’s public employee unions brazenly abuse taxpayers.  The California Correctional Peace Officers’ Association (CCPOA) owes the state $4 million for “union paid leave” (time spent on union business – arm twisting politicians for bigger raises), a tab dating back to 2005.

The CCPOA is abusing a contractual arrangement where taxpayers directly pay for its union business until such time as the union feels like paying the state back.  That the union can act with seeming impunity is likely due to the immense political power it gained under Pete Wilson.

The prison guards union spent $1.57 million backing Pete Wilson for governor and additional millions backing Three Strikes (in partnership with Wilson).  In turn, the guards gained steep salary increases (with 1 in 10 prison guards now making $100,000 or more per year) and immense political power.

Now that Wilson is Meg Whitman’s campaign chairman, one wonders whether Whitman will be willing to stand up against the state’s overpowerful unions.  Interestingly, Whitman is the only statewide GOP candidate that hasn’t endorsed the Citizen Power Initiative to reign in the public employee unions.

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