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California unions to push jobs plan

March 20, 2012 |  9:22 am

The California Labor Federation will unveil on Tuesday a series of proposals to promote job growth in the state, a plan that union officials said will be the centerpiece of its lobbying and political efforts this year.

Art Pulaski, the federation's executive secretary-treasurer, described the plan as a unique undertaking for the organization.

"We've never done anything this comprehensive before," he said. "It's the first time we've had a unified approach."

The federation’s plan includes six parts, focusing on areas such as state infrastructure, job training and clean energy. Some proposals mirror Gov. Jerry Brown's agenda, such as building high-speed rail and raising taxes on the state's wealthiest residents. Others are traditional goals for organization labor, such as ensuring a living wage for companies that receive state contracts or tax breaks.

The California Labor Federation represents 2.1 million union members, including factory, retail and hospitality workers. Fifty-two percent of its members work in the private sector, and the rest are in the public sector.

Although critics have accused unions of supporting a bloated government workforce, Pulaski said the federation wants to support the creation of private sector jobs for union members and non-union members alike.

"We have to build the private economy first in terms of getting the state of California back on its legs," he said.

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Gov. Jerry Brown's State of State speech puts focus on big projects

California voters want public employees to help ease state's financial troubles

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento

Twitter: @chrismegerian

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