Union officials have a long history of propagating tragedy to enforce their pro-union agenda. Big Labor is able to accomplish this effect as efficiently and discretely as any other special interest group. Currently, these union tactics are being used excessively in California. The deaths of two workers have given union officials the opportunity to exploit misfortune to progress their deceitful agenda. Union officials' reaction to these deaths would be acceptable if the legislation and comments made about the tragedies coincided with their recommended policy. The first incident of union deception is the proposal of “The Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act” (Senate Bill 104). This legislation follows the 2008 death of a pregnant farm worker from heat exhaustion, and after the employer was given what union officials described as a slap on the wrist. Workplace abuse in this regard is abhorred by all and there are laws in place to prevent employers from using unfair labor practices. However, union officials believe that instead of enforcing the existing laws, new legislation is necessary to counteract abusive workplace practices. SB 104 is an example of this strategy. One would think the unions' goal would be increased employee safety, but what correlation do union election rules have with workers' rights? None, other than union official’s priority to increase membership and fill union coffers. SB 104's main component focuses on union election rules. The primary component of SB 104 is the implementation of “card check” for all agricultural workers concerning union elections, which establishes an undemocratic election process that is highly susceptible to intimidation, fraud and abuse. The only purpose of this bill is to make unionizing workers easier and to increase union membership -- not to enhance workplace safety. Another example from California is the untimely death of a Costa Mesa city worker, Huy Pham. Huy Pham was recently dismissed due to state budget cuts, and soon after committed suicide. However, as told by his brother, “Mr. Pham had shown no signs of despair and expected to be rehired by the new contractor.” Given the circumstances, this was an unfortunate event, where there were other issues and problems that needed to be dealt with. As one would expect union officials did not call for greater mental illness awareness in the workplace or other pertinent measures to the problem. Union officials and city representatives had these comments on the event:
"You cannot give out [layoff] notices wholesale like that in this economy. That's what's going to happen." -- Orange County Employees Association chief Nick Berardino "[T]he wisdom and manner of [Costa Mesa officials'] actions [should be questioned], and it is a reminder to all of us about the importance of treating people with dignity and respect. ... I will do everything I can to prevent the type of actions that gave rise to the traumatic situation that our colleagues in the city of Costa Mesa are dealing with." -- Orange City Manager John SibleyUnion officials with their comments sidestep the issue at hand. A city manager has no knowledge of how to help someone with mental illness, and neither do unions or union officials. If union officials are to play off tragedy to propose legislation, it must correlate to the tragedies they wish to exploit, not only the special interests of union officials.