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Complaint Alleges State HR Office Declined Information Requests to Shield Unions

Did CalHR refuse to comply with public information requests from Freedom Foundation?

By Katy Grimes, May 14, 2020 7:15 am

A complaint filed on May 12 against California’s Department of Human Resources seeks to establish whether the agency works for the state residents and taxpayers, or for the powerful labor unions that control most of California’s public employees.

Filed in Sacramento Superior Court, the lawsuit alleges officials at Human Resources refused to comply with two sets of information requests filed by the Freedom Foundation, a nonpartisan public policy organization specializing in exposing abuses by government employee unions.

“Both requests were submitted correctly, and the information sought is undeniably disclosable under the California Public Records Act (CPRA),” said Bob Wickers, the Freedom Foundation’s California director. “If any other organization had asked for these documents, the state would have handed them over without a second thought. But the unions are terrified of the Freedom Foundation and the HR Department believes it’s their job to protect the unions — even if that means breaking the law.”

The Freedom Foundation’s CPRA request asked for the total number of state employees paid by the State of California in each month of 2018 and 2019 and, for each of the 21 state of California bargaining units, with detailed information.

After several delays, HR Department officials on Feb. 24 denied the request, claiming that, under the CPRA, they could not release records that are “part of the collective bargaining process.”

On March 12, the Freedom Foundation submitted a second information request, this time seeking for every public employee in the state.

That request was also denied, citing the same reasons as in the first request and adding that they did not own the records in question and therefore could not release them.

“We want to contact public employees to notify them about a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that did away with mandatory union membership and dues in the public sector,” Wickers said. “The unions desperately want to keep that information from the workers because everyone who opts out represents $800 to $1,000 a year in dues money.

“We understand why the unions want to keep the members in the dark about their rights,” he said. “What we don’t understand is why a taxpayer-funded state agency feels it needs to be a partner in the conspiracy.”

Detailed information about the records requests can be found here.

A 501(c)(3) non-profit think and action tank, the Freedom Foundation works to reverse the stranglehold government unions have on our state and local policymaking.

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2 thoughts on “Complaint Alleges State HR Office Declined Information Requests to Shield Unions

  1. Probably shouldn’t hold my breath, but there must be real, legal consequences for refusing to comply with records requests or this nonsense will continue.
    In the meantime, I’m grateful we at least KNOW that such requests have been filed, and that they have been met with such contempt for the law and the public’s right to know, because voters are then able to add one more item of lawlessness to the huge garbage pile of the other outrages of Gov Gruesome’s administration.

  2. The Freedom Foundation was created to break up unions. Unions are as important today as they were in the 1900. Union helped create the 40 hour work week, overtime, minimum work age, etc. This is only one side of the story from one entity is sole purpose is to destroy unions. There must be more to this since the union represents the workers bargaining on their behalf with the state to obtain safe working conditions, salaries, rights and protection. The union is a totally opposite entity from the state CalHR. The union represents the employees not the state.

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