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Brown Rallies Union Workers, Plugs Re-election

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the California Labor Federation dinner.

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown says labor leaders “need to relax” about union friendly bills that haven’t been passed yet. Brown spoke to the California Labor Federation Monday night in Sacramento. Labor leaders say Brown has signed 40 union-friendly bills in the past three years. And Brown emphasized he plans to be governor for another term, so he can sign even more.

Brown says California has a lot of problems, from a shrinking middle class to low wages. But he says labor groups are still in a relatively good position.

“Relative to what’s just and what we want, we’re not there yet, not even close,” he says. “But if we compare ourselves to Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio, we look pretty damn good actually. Very good.”

Brown also took to opportunity to plug high speed rail. He says the more than $60 billion price tag is modest compared to the benefit the train would bring to California in the future.  

“You know, there’s a lot of old people who shouldn’t be driving,” he says. They should be sitting in a nice… a nice train car, working on their iPad, having a martini and enjoying life. That’s called High Speed Rail, and we’re going to build it!”

High Speed Rail has been mired in controversy. But Brown says compared to the cost and trouble of building new freeways and airport runways, it’s a solid alternative. 

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