Judge Frederick Horn’s has granted of UNITE-HERE’s request for temporary restraining order against the Honda Center. However, it is still questionable whether the militant union’s lawsuit will ultimately succeed, given that dubious constitutionality of how the relevant state labor code section was enacted. It was last-minute, non-budgetary amendment that slipped into a budget trailer bill.

Loren Kaye, president of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education, published a Fox and Hounds Daily column on this issue on June 20. It worth reading the full column, but I’ll excerpt the most directly relevant portions here:

The Constitution forbids it. A unanimous Supreme Court slapped their hands. But when it comes to loading up budget bills with extraneous goodies, the Legislature just can’t resist. Bowing to the demands of their allies in organized labor, the Legislature inserted into a budget trailer bill (Section 48 of Assembly Bill 76) substantive language designed to force a successor employer that provides food and beverage services at the Honda Center in Anaheim to hire the prior contractor’s employees. This mandate has no bearing on the state budget or any state operations. (It’s also lousy policy, but that’s a debate for another day.)

When voters approved Proposition 25 in 2010, they not only reduced the vote requirement to pass a budget, they also created a new category of legislation called “other bills providing for appropriations related to the budget bill.” These so-called “budget trailer bills” either appropriate money or create conditions under which Budget Bill appropriations must be used. Trailer bills may not include substantive language unrelated to the Budget, since that would mean the Legislature could pass any substantive measure under the extraordinary Proposition 25 procedures, including allowing a measure to go into immediate effect upon approval. That would be an absurd construction of the ballot measure, which was intended and advertised to apply only to the Budget and related implementing legislation.

Since inclusion of this labor code section in the budget trailer bill violates the constitutional requirements of both single subject and budget relatedness, the section is illegitimate.

It should also be noted that the UNITE-HERE amendment was not an urgency measure that takes effect immediately; those must be passed by a two-thirds majority, while the budget trailer bill passed by a simple majority. Non-urgency legislation takes effect on January 1 of the following year.

Anaheim Arena Management ought to fight UNITE-HERE Local 11’s lawsuit tooth-and-nail – in defense of not only of itself, but to have UNITE-HERE’s labor code set-aside amendment thrown out as unconstitutional and strike a blow for the ability of California businesses to engage in commerce free from union coercion.