SACRAMENTO -- The Supreme Court dealt a major blow to all public employee unions Wednesday but it was a blow California union leaders had been preparing for.
"There’s nothing the state can do to change this decision itself. But we think there are things to do for the state to protect its workforce," said Steve Smith with the California Labor Federation.
In its Janus case decision, the Supreme Court said public unions can no longer collect dues from employees who aren’t union members. Smith acknowledges that for more than a year labor leaders in California have been working to soften the blow if the courts came down with that decision.
At least six bills became law, or are close to it, all of which offer benefits for union members or make joining a union easier for employees.
Republican State Senator John Moorlach, R-Irvine, has an issue with labor leaders efforts. He says it's an attempt to get around the Supreme Court’s decision.
"The unions are in such dominance here in Sacramento that there are two parties -- the Republican Party and the union party. The union party is trying to get in front of Janus," Moorlach said.
Moorlach says each of the labor-backed bills should be reviewed in light of the court’s decision.
"I just simply disagree. I think, again, this is good public policy," Smith said.
But Smith says big money interests will soon be in California campaigning against union membership. He claims what all these new laws offer is protection for workers.
"Out of state groups funded by billionaires are going to try to seek to exploit this decision to further erode California’s middle class and the legislature absolutely needs to protect workers against that," Smith said.