State & Local – POLITICS
Cash-strapped California city gears up for battle with unions over pension reform
By William Lajeunesse
Published March 14, 2012
Facing an ocean of debt, San Diego is offering voters in June a potential lifeboat: public employee pension reform.
“Taxpayers have had it,” former Mayor Roger Hedgecock said. “A huge portion of the city budget is going to fund these pensions far beyond anything in private sector.”
The initiative would force new city workers into private-sector style 401(k)s. Current employees would pay more, and their retirement payments would be based solely on base salary – not accrued sick leave and vacation time, often used to inflate pension pay.
To read more and check out the video report: Click here
CalPERS reduces investment forecast – How will California cover the difference?
March 14, 2012
n the midst of massive budget deficits and recent heat over pension reform, the Board of Directors of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, known as CalPERS, voted today to lower its assumed rate of return for the first time since the recession dragged down stock and real-estate prices.
They’re readjusting from 7.75 to 7.5 percent, which might not sound like a lot, but in actual dollars, it means finding an additional $167 million in the state budget to pay pensions, for which California spent $3.5 billion in 2011. The new rate will take effect on July 1, although CalPERS has been asked to phase the change in over two years, hopefully sparing cities from more cuts.
To read more and to listen to the audio with Pat Morrison, Click here.
The Union War on School Volunteers
By Editor, on March 13th, 2012
There are so many facets to the problem of public sector unions that one of their most outrageous abuses, their war on volunteerism, is barely covered by the media. But it happens all the time, especially in public education. If any volunteer does work that could be done by a unionized worker, even if no funds exist to hire that worker, the union is likely to use all their power to stop that volunteer from providing their services.
In Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles, the union war on school volunteers has taken a new twist. In order to maintain supplemental language programs, as well as adequate staffing of classroom helpers in the Culver City Unified School District, a few philanthropic individuals have funded the payment of modest stipends to people to assist the teachers. They are essentially volunteers. But that’s not ok with the Culver City Association of Classified Employees – translation, the local union – who has threatened to file a complaint with the powerful, union-friendly Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), a “quasi-judicial administrative agency that is charged with upholding and administering collective bargaining statutes that cover employees working in California schools.” For more on this, refer to the following reports: “Parents lodge strong opposition to unionizing of CCUSD language school employees,” and “Parents Attracting Name Allies in Dispute with Union.”