California hunters did not pull enough weight to stop the state Legislature from approving a bill last week that would ban the use of lead bullets for sport shooting of animals.
So now, with AB 711 on the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, a coalition opposed to the measure is highlighting that many union leaders don’t like the ban either.
Organized labor has traditionally been an ally of Brown's, and now the group opposing the lead ban, Californians for Conservation, has released a list of nine union leaders and labor groups that think the measure is a bad idea.
They include the International Assn. of Machinists & Aerospace Workers District Lodge 190 and the Contra Costa Central Labor Council.
"Approximately 65% of all union households participate in hunting, fishing, or outdoor activities," said Mark Gagliardi, an official with the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 277 in Fort Worth, Texas, in a statement.
“Our members are very concerned about this bill, not only because it will limit recreational opportunities, but because it will have a dramatic effect on union families whose breadwinner is employed in the ammunition or firearms industries,” he added.
Supporters of the bill by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) include environmental groups such as Audubon California, which say lead bullets are toxic and can harm wildlife that ingest fragments of the bullets in animals killed by hunters.
But the bill is also supported by some public employee groups that have been tight with Brown, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
"The bill enjoys wide support from a diverse coalition of more than 80 public health, environmental, and animal protection organizations as well as many California hunters, veterinarians and concerned citizens," said Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director of The Humane Society of the United States.
It is uncertain what Brown will do with the bill. If he does not act by Oct. 13, it becomes law without his signature.