Everyone is watching Tuesday's primary election contests, particularly for the Republican nominations for governor and U.S. senator. But if you want to know something about the future of the state, you might check out a pair of races no one is watching -- in San Diego County.
The two ballot measures -- Proposition G in Chula Vista, and Proposition K in Oceanside -- involve attempts by business interests to take on the power of labor unions. In particular, they seek to ban agreements -- known as project labor agreements -- commonly used by labor unions to require the use of union workers and enforce higher wages on public workers and other government-sponsored construction projects.
Prop G is the stronger of the two measures and the most novel, in that it would represent the first time a city government -- Chula Vista's -- had been banned by its voters from funding any public works project that included union construction workers, a project labor agreement, or prevailing wage requirements. Prop K would make Oceanside a charter city and also establish a ban on project labor agreements.
If the measures prevail, they would represent noteworthy defeats for labor unions on the local government level in California, where public employee labor has held sway. The triumph of the two measures could inspire similar bans in other cities -- and put a dent in a concerted effort by labor interest to use their political power in service of workers -- at least when it comes to projects with strong government backing.
Both measures have attracted the interest (and in some cases the money) of business and labor from outside those San Diego-area communities. They stem from longstanding union-business battles in those cities.
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