Consider this a long-winded postcard from a friend in California — “friend” because if you support the Mackinac Center, you support people like me — Californians working to reform our nutty state.
Yes, yes, you know California for the Beach Boys, Hollywood, and perhaps Gavin Newsom, our new governor. The former mayor of San Francisco, Newsom is now positioned to give the world’s fifth-largest economy what he’s given San Francisco — job-killing regulation and taxes, the nation’s largest homeless population, a skyrocketing cost of living and (seriously) world-class public filth.
How does a guy like that get elected to govern 40 million Americans? Government unions. They’re the power behind Gov. Newsom and the Democratic supermajority in our statehouse. Each day, California’s government unions bring in $2.7 million, or $2 billion each election cycle. Democrat, Republican or other, it doesn’t matter: Try running a political campaign in the face of that kind of cash.
What’s this got to do with you? When the Supreme Court's Janus decision came down, we needed help in talking to California’s union members. Enter the Mackinac Center.
Team Mack Attack (as we lovingly call them) has helped us identify California’s 1.5 million government workers — where they live and what moves them. And together, we’ve already liberated tens of thousands of state and local workers from mandatory union payments. We’re like the Dutch pushing back the North Sea — except in this case, the North Sea wants you to pay more in taxes and stop using gasoline.
In January, I told three key Mackinac staffers that the United Teachers of Los Angeles wanted higher pay and benefits and planned to walk out on students.
There were so many problems with the union’s demand that one hardly knows where to start. A majority of the district’s high school graduates can’t read or do math at grade level. Its finances are a step away from bankruptcy. Teacher merit is a nonstarter.
When the strike began 48 hours later, the union had its message. And in thousands of social-media ads, Team Mack Attack and the California Policy Center delivered an alternative one: Real teachers don’t walk out on their students; they walk out of the union.
It worked. Thousands are answering our call. Throughout California, the Mackinac Center is helping us play catch and release — that is, speak to government employees and help them leave their unions. The win-win: Each worker gets to keep an extra $1,000 per year and the rest of California gets a union leadership with a little less cash to fund the politicians destroying our state.
Thanks to the Mackinac Center and California Policy Center, about 100,000 government workers resigned from unions here. Sure, that’s just 15% of the total, grotesque number. But it means $100 million less to the union leaders who have destroyed our schools and communities.
When you support the Mackinac Center, you support us — your friends, your family, your fellow Americans on the nation’s Far Left Coast. We owe you. How about we pay you back by being less crazy?
Will Swaim is the president of the California Policy Center and co-host of National Review’s Radio Free California Podcast.