to the University of California
Defy the Governor and Nix the ILE...
Lloyd Billingsley] 7/2205
Arnold Schwarzenegger has ended direct funding for the Institute
for Labor and Education (ILE),
a union-backed organization which masquerades as a think tank
and has been bankrolled by taxpayers to the tune of $22.8 million
since 2000. This move was long overdue, but it’s not the
end of the story.
K. Lloyd Billingsley
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]
Lloyd Billingsley is Editorial Director for the Pacific
Research Institute and has been widely published
on topics including on popular culture, defense policy,
education reform, and many other current policy issues.
[go to Billingsley index]
The University of California, which hosts the ILE, can still
keep it going out of its general fund. According to one Los Angeles
Times story, the governor has agreed to recommend that they do
so, likely as part of a budget deal with Democrats. Even with
the governor's recommendation, however, the UC should decline
to fund the ILE. If unions want a think tank, they should fund
it themselves. They have plenty of money to do so.
According to the Secretary of State, the powerful California
Teachers Association spent a whopping $6.7 million to lobby state
legislators during the first quarter of the current legislative
session alone. That is more than 11 times the nearly $600,000
the state Chamber of Commerce paid its lobbyists during the same
period and nearly twice the annual $3.8 million the ILE has been
getting from California taxpayers. Other unions also spent lavishly
and are awash in money. But that is not the only reason the UC
should decline to fund the ILE. It is unworthy of the academic
camouflage the prestigious university provides.
The ILE is not, as labor bosses contend, the equivalent of a
business school. Strictly speaking, the ILE is not even a think
tank. It is an organization for union propaganda and recruitment.
The ILE held conferences and seminars on union organizing and
in 2003 trained the partisan activists of the Workers Against
the Recall (WAR). The ILE tried to pass off as an academic study
left-wing boilerplate such as Making People Pro-Union: Organizing
Workers in the Culture of Capitalism. Its efforts on living-wage
ordinances, the alleged evils of Wal-Mart, and the promotion
of union-only project labor agreements (PLAs) were all agenda-driven
The UC should consider that union membership has dropped to
its lowest level in 50 years. In the private sector, unions represent
a scant 7.9 percent of workers, down from a meager 8.2 percent
in 2003. While 36.4 percent of government employees are unionized,
that represents a decline from 37.2 in 2003. But despite the
dwindling membership, unions still wield political clout and
get special privileges.
The Davis-Bacon Act, originally used against African-American
workers, guarantees expensive union labor on public-works projects.
Project labor agreements and prevailing-wage measures do the
same thing at state and local levels. The law allows unions to
confiscate money from non-members through agency fees. In California,
unions even get taxpayers to foot the bill for union propaganda
The University of California should stick to its mandate of
providing the state's best students with a world-class higher
education. It would not be a responsible use of public funds
to reserve special treatment for a shrinking minority that represents
only 7.9 percent of private-sector employees.
The governor deserves credit for ending the ILE's direct funding.
He can now turn his attention to privatizing more state services
and eliminating many other wasteful programs, boards, and commissions. CRO
2005 Pacific Research Institute