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Gov. Acts to Keep Labor Institute

Times Staff Writer

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will ask the University of California not to close a controversial labor studies program that he had targeted for elimination from the state budget, administration officials say.

The governor had used his veto authority Monday to block the $3.8-million program, which has been under attack by conservatives for years. The budget cut appeared to violate a backroom deal he made with Democratic legislative leaders.

But administration officials said Wednesday that Schwarzenegger would honor the agreement by directing the UC system to use other funds to keep the labor studies program going.

“We’re pleased the governor has recognized the labor institute should be permanently funded,” said Steve Maviglio, spokesman for Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles). “The speaker is thankful.”

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Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said the program was not deleted from the budget in error. He said that the UC system would receive a funding increase of $76 million next year, and that it was appropriate to use that money to pay for the institute.

“It was not a mistake at all,” Palmer said.

“It is wholly and totally consistent with other actions we took on the UC budget.”

UC officials said Wednesday they had not yet heard from the governor.

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Conservative groups have labeled the labor institute “Union U,” a hotbed of antibusiness propaganda and leftist political organizing.

Angie Wei, a lobbyist for the California Federation of Labor, says the institute is detested by the right because it has produced what she characterized as indisputable, empirical research that validates such things as prevailing-wage laws.


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