Public pensions become issue in labor strikes

As retirement costs grow, traditional labor disputes over wages and health coverage have a newcomer. Pensions are one of the issues in recent strikes by UC hospital workers and San Francisco Bay Area transit workers.

The dispute is not over the amount of pensions promised current workers, widely believed to be protected by court rulings. The sticking point is how the cost of the pensions is split between employers and employees.

UC patient care workers balked at increasing their pension contributions from 5 percent of pay to 6.5 percent. Bay Area Rapid Transit workers make no pension contribution because the employer pays their CalPERS share, 7 percent of pay.

After heavy investment losses in a deep recession, the trend among public pensions is to get employees to share costs and risks. Gov. Brown’s pension reform last year calls for employers and employees to pay a 50-50 split of normal costs.

Last week a BART attorney, Vicki Neutzel, told a fact-finding panel appointed by the governor that the rail system wants to “sustain” its package of medical and pension benefits, but cannot unless employees share the risk and increased costs.

“BART believes and continues to believe it is essential that its employees share in the risk of this benefit, so that the benefit can continue,” Neutzel said, while outlining the pension proposal.

The panel was told the annual BART payment to the California Public Employees Retirement System increased from $3.1 million in 2002 to $50 million this year and is expected to grow at the rate of 7 percent a year for the next four years.

“While labor talks always seem to focus on wage proposals, the cost of maintaining the existing benefit package cannot be ignored,” said Carter Mau, the BART budget manager.

Many unions throughout the state have agreed to a standard post-recession pension cost control: higher employee contributions and lower pensions for new hires. But some have not agreed, and UC is an example of the split.

After a remarkable two-decade “holiday,” when neither employers nor employees made contributions, UC Retirement began to phase in contribution increases for management and labor three years ago.

Most of the UC unions agreed to another step in the contributions on July 1, when the employee share increased from 5 percent of pay to 6.5 percent. But as part of a larger pay and benefits dispute, three unions balked at the higher pension payments.

A union representing a wide range of 13,000 patient care workers held its first strike in May, a two-day action that UC estimated would cost $20 million. Then as allowed under state law when there is no agreement, UC imposed its contract proposal late last month.

The president of AFSCME 3299, Kathryn Lybarger, said in a news release that UC, with “exorbitant” executive pay and pensions, should be subject to the pension cap in the pension reform pushed through the Legislature last year by Gov. Brown.

AB 340 links a cap on new-hire pensions to the amount of pay taxed for Social Security ($113,700 this year). The reform covers CalPERS, the California State Teachers Retirement System and 1937 Act county systems, but not UC and big-city systems.

“While AFSCME 3299 has negotiated in good faith and offered meaningful compromise, UC has chosen to hold the health and aspirations of millions of Californians hostage over its insistence on $300,000/year public pensions for its highest paid employees,” Lybarger said in the news release.

One of several strike warning shirts and jackets at panel hearing (San Jose Mercury-News photo)

One of several strike warning shirts and jackets at panel hearing (Mercury-News photo)

BART unions have been in a kind of sweet spot for labor action. Its workers are not barred from strikes, like some government workers providing vital services, and a rail strike causes immediate public disruption, unlike a walkout by most office workers.

A business group, the Bay Area Council, estimated that a 4 ½-day strike by the two largest BART unions early last month cost an estimated $73 million a day in lost productivity.

A 60-day cooling off period sought by the governor was approved yesterday by a judge, avoiding another strike today. It was the sixth BART cooling-off period ordered since 1988.

All of the previous cooling-off periods avoided a strike, except in 1997 when the two-month period was followed by a six-day walkout, the San Jose Mercury-News reported.

Employer payment of the employee share of pension contributions has been a widespread practice. For new hires, the reform legislation last year prohibits what is formally known as the “employer paid member contribution.”

At least 117 public agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area pay part of the employee pension contribution, an analysis by the Bay Area News Group found. The BART “pension pickup” of the employee share was $17 million last year.

An attorney for the biggest BART union, SEIU 1021, told the panel last week that the “pension pickup” became a part of labor contracts after Proposition 13 in 1978 cut property taxes and reduced revenue.

Instead of a pay raise, said Vincent Harrington, BART began picking up the employee pension contribution. He said employees received more take-home pay, and BART in effect was able to give employees a raise without paying the usual taxes.

“Thirty years ago we gave up the wages reflected in this swap, and we have never had them since,” Harrington said.

The BART general manager, Grace Grunican, said salaries average $79,500 and benefits an additional $50,800. With no pension contribution and health coverage for $92 a month, she said, employees have “one of the richest” benefit packages in the industry.

To avoid system deterioration as federal funds decline, Grunican said, heavy local spending is needed to replace the oldest fleet of rail cars in the nation, replace a 40-year-old control system and expand maintenance as the line is extended to San Jose.

BART wants employees to begin making a 2 percent of pay pension contribution, reaching 5 percent after four years. Unions are offering to make a 7 percent of pay pension contribution, if it’s offset by a 6.5 percent salary increase.

The employer share of the BART miscellaneous CalPERS payment is 12 percent of pay. Unlike state workers and many other local government employees, BART workers do not receive Social Security in addition to pensions.

On all issues, BART said, there is a four-year $100 million gap between its proposals and the unions, $150 million if as customary the union agreement is extended to the full workforce. Disagreeing, unions said the three-year gap is $56 million.

In the past BART union actions have had some public support or tolerance in the politically liberal San Francisco Bay Area. But a KPIX Channel 5 poll released Aug. 1 found 44 percent think BART management has made a better case, the unions 19 percent.

News reports said a Bay Area legislator, Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, is considering legislation that would prevent BART strikes.

“While I am looking into legislation that could prevent future strikes,” DeSaulnier said in a written statement on Aug. 2, “it should not distract from the need for BART and labor to remain engaged in negotiations now.”

“I have been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of organized labor. The intent of any legislation will not be to simply stop strikes, but to ensure we produce equitable outcomes for workers and commuters during future negotiations,” he said.

Union handout at BART stations last week

Union handout at BART stations last week


Reporter Ed Mendel covered the Capitol in Sacramento for nearly three decades, most recently for the San Diego Union-Tribune. More stories are at Calpensions.com. Posted 12 Aug 13.

52 Responses to “Public pensions become issue in labor strikes”

  1. Tough Love Says:

    Oh what a mistake it was to *** EVER *** allow Collective bargaining with Public Sector Unions.

    Public Sector Unions are a Cancer on Society.

    If you think that’s too strongly worded, Google THIS article (written by an INSIDER) in today’s news …….

    The Public Employee Unions’ Chokehold on California (op-ed – Gloria Romero / U-T San Diego)

  2. Captain Says:

    “An attorney for the biggest BART union, SEIU 1021, told the panel last week that the “pension pickup” became a part of labor contracts after Proposition 13 in 1978 cut property taxes and reduced revenue.

    Instead of a pay raise, said Vincent Harrington, BART began picking up the employee pension contribution. He said employees received more take-home pay, and BART in effect was able to give employees a raise without paying the usual taxes.

    “Thirty years ago we gave up the wages reflected in this swap, and we have never had them since,” Harrington said.”

    It’s difficult to stomach that argument when Bart employees are the highest paid transit workers in the Country. By every reasonable measure they are HIGHLY compensated. Also, the 7% employer pick-up should be added to average employee compensation to more accurately determine “average salary”. As the article states employees received additional take home pay when this was implemented (paying toward social security or their own retirement. In fact, the 7% employer pick-up is added to salary when calculating the retirement benefit.

  3. Captain Says:

    ((“Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, is considering legislation that would prevent BART strikes.

    “While I am looking into legislation that could prevent future strikes,” DeSaulnier said in a written statement on Aug. 2, “it should not distract from the need for BART and labor to remain engaged in negotiations now.”

    “I have been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of organized labor. The intent of any legislation will not be to simply stop strikes, but to ensure we produce equitable outcomes for workers and commuters during future negotiations,” he said.”))

    What the Senator is proposing is Binding Arbitration. Unfortunately this scheme seems to only benefit unions, which is why more and more cities have worked to eliminate binding arbitration as a means of contract resolution. It removes control from the Bart Board and City Councils, and puts their financial future in the hands of labor-friendly mediators. It doesn’t work.

  4. Captain Says:

    By every reasonable measure they are HIGHLY compensated. Also, the 7% employer pick-up should be added to average employee compensation to more accurately determine “average salary”. As the article states employees received additional take home pay when this was implemented (paying toward social security or their own retirement. In fact, the 7% employer pick-up is added to salary when calculating the retirement benefit.

    “(paying toward social security or their own retirement” … should read: (they are not paying anything toward social security or their own retirement).

  5. SeeSaw Says:

    Captain, I questioned CalPERS about that pickup of employee pension payments when calculating the pension amounts. It is not allowed where I worked. CalPERS told me that where that occurs, it is acting on the instructions of the, respective, employers. I do not think that including that spike in the pension calculation is usual among most CalPERS member-agencies. CalPERS probably has a chart to show what public agencies do such. I notice that most commenters give no consideration to the cost of living in the bay area, which is astronomical compared to living down south.

  6. spension Says:

    TL, the Romero article is good… but the conclusion is not that Unions are a cancer, or criminals, or whatever you usually rant about. I definitely oppose many or most Union excesses that Romero identifies. But the Public Unions have learned how to influence our political system, they are merely effective, not criminal or a cancer. It is the way the game is played, and certainly I’ve seen the private sector pull many of the same stunts, particularly at the local level where zoning is manipulated to suppress competition, where public contracts are handed out based on a non-competitive basis.

    Romero’s real conclusions are:

    “The answer is not to ban unions but to empower members to gain freedom in choosing how their own political dues are spent.”

    “California’s dysfunction is also our own fault. Over 75 percent of voters failed to vote in the last Los Angeles mayoral election. California will never transform itself if citizens refuse to participate. ”

    I think the private sector doesn’t help on either point… mainly because the private sector would also lose if voters participated more, or if stockholders had to approve political donations.

  7. Robert T Says:

    Keep turning these millages down as they pop up like mushrooms. Mostly in the name of “safety and the children”.

  8. Robert T Says:

    Public sector pensions and other promised benefits such as lifetime health benefits and unused sick day payouts simply can’t be funded. The equitable argument isn’t compelling to taxpayers who themselves no longer have pensions or lifetime post-retirement benefits like this. Pensions over a certain size (say $40,000 per year) must be slashed. That way we are not being unreasonable as taxpayers who continue to pay more and more to make up for funding shortfalls.

    The big problem with public pensions is that there was never anyone on the other side of the issue. Politicians had no reason to resist pension benefits because they’ll be long gone when the bill comes due, and in many instances they themselves benefited from the agreements. In other words, it can’t and won’t be stopped. The taxpayer will be fleeced indefinitely due to all the inherent conflicts built into the system.

    Bankruptcy is the only glimmer of hope for the taxpayer and does exactly what bankruptcy laws were designed to do: impair contracts.

  9. SeeSaw Says:

    I prefer the fact that there are people in my state who have decent wages and benefits. It increases the standard of living for everyone, when others have money to spend on the products and services in the market place. I don’t like to think about everyone in AZ making minimum wage. Visit those red states and you will find out what I am talking about.

  10. SeeSaw Says:

    If they don’t pay anything to SS they don’t collect. And if they do, there is a penalty assessed on the SS amount. Public workers who never paid into SS, but who are spouses of SS recipients are so heavily penalized on the spousal benefit that other citizens receive, usually get nothing, like me. You should stop saying that the workers pay nothing into their own retirements. Most have the supplemental government, 401K-style plans and would be strapped if they had the pension alone. Keep in mind that 97% of public pensions are moderate. My spouse and I eat from the benefits of my 457B account–which has lost and gained huge amounts in the five years I have been retired. Such accounts are very volatile. The DB pension is guaranteed, and you want to take that away–how silly.

  11. SeeSaw Says:

    Robert T, there is too, someone on the other side. The voters elected those people who are on the other side. If you don’t like what they do, work to put in the officials you want, and cast your vote. In my district we have a candidate on the runoff for state assembly that did not even vote, himself, in 13 of the most recent 18 elections–and he will probably be elected. Terrible!

  12. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting SeeSaw …” Public workers who never paid into SS, but who are spouses of SS recipients are so heavily penalized on the spousal benefit that other citizens receive, usually get nothing, like me. ”

    Google it. It’s called (by the SSA) the Social Security “Windfall Elimination” provision for a reason, It ELIMINATES an UNJUST WINDFALL.

    Of course you, who always tries to justify getting more than your fair share, call it a “penalty”.

  13. SeeSaw Says:

    Robert T, I wish I had the lifetime health benefits you are referring to! I have a retiree-health benefit–yet the cost of medical insurance premiums. out of my pocket, take the largest percentage of my DB pension. You don’t have to continue being jealous of public workers any longer!

  14. SeeSaw Says:

    The spouse of a billionaire, that never worked a day in his/her life may collect the spousal benefit, TL. Would you call that an unjust windfall?

  15. SeeSaw Says:

    Small Correction, on the SS terminology, TL. It’s called the, “Government Pension Offset”. Two-thirds of the pensioner’s check offsets the SS Spousal Benefit. If it is more than the SS amount, the pensioner loses it all. Once the public worker reaches age 65, he/she may collect the spousal share of his/her SS collecting spouse’s benefit, for as long as he/she is still working and not yet collecting the retirement. I collected the spousal-share, for the final seven years of my public employement. Oh, I can visualize the disapproving, sizzle in your eyes, now, TL–what fun it is!

  16. Robert Mitchell Says:

    yada yada yada… If the pension promise was made, then it has to be paid for. Account for the benefits while they are being earned, and make the required contribution as the employee earns the benefit. Then the union negotiations can proceed honestly. Further, hold the employees responsible for making additional contributions if the funds don’t earn the full 7.5 to 8% interest rates.

  17. Tough Love Says:

    SeeSaw, You are correct in the name. Another similar-purpose provision (to eliminate an unjust payment) is called the “Windfall Elimination” provision.

    As to the justification for and appropriateness of the Spousal Reduction, you can read about it in detail on the SS Website. On that page you will find the following …

    ” In enacting the Government Pension
    Offset provision, Congress intended to ensure
    that when determining the amount of spousal
    benefit, government employees who do not
    pay Social Security taxes would be treated in
    a similar manner to those who work in the
    private sector and do pay Social Security taxes”.

    As I stated earlier, you are not being penalized (as you stated), but just stopped from getting MORE than you are justifiably entitled to.

  18. SeeSaw Says:

    The employee contributions are capped by law, RM. The miscellaneous contribution is a maximum of 8%; safety maximum is 11%.

  19. SeeSaw Says:

    Nothing you report changes the fact that the spouse of a billionaire that never worked a day in his/her life; never made a SS contribution in his/her life may draw the spousal benefit, TL. I think that Government workers are unfairly targeted with the Pension Offset law. Anyway, it was passed lawfully, under a Democratic President, no less.

  20. SeeSaw Says:

    Correction: Democrat President. Some will want to get me for that.

  21. Tough Love Says:

    SeeSaw, What is it about this (see below) Social Security practice that you find unfair to you? Might it be that you are so USED to and EXPECTING of getting MORE than your fair share, that you find ONLY getting an EQUAL share not sufficient? Please explain.

    “government employees who do not
    pay Social Security taxes would be treated in
    a similar manner to those who work in the
    private sector and do pay Social Security taxes”

  22. SeeSaw Says:

    The spousal share is available to every eligible person, except every eligible person who has a government pension, regardless of need. Hypothetically, someone married to a multi-billionaire, but who has never worked in the private sector and never paid SS taxes may receive the SS spousal share, except a person who has a government pension. So how would the, respective, spouses in such situation be getting equal shares? For god’s sake, it’s time to move on–seems like you don’t have enough common sense to figure this one out, TL.

  23. Tough Love Says:

    SeeSaw, Did you even READ the Quote from SS ?

    And FYI, the Billionaire pay SS tax only up to the SAME maximum wage base as everyone else. They (or their spouse) is NOT getting a greater benefit than anyone else earning at or above the maximum wage base. They have no “advantage”, as you are trying to justify for Public Sector spouses.

  24. SeeSaw Says:

    I understand that. I am just pointing out that, in the hypothetical case of the billionaire, there is no need. My spouse worked for over 50 years–when he passes there are no SS survivor benefits for me. As I said in an earlier post, the rule was passed lawfully–doesn’t mean I can’t gripe.

  25. Tough Love Says:

    SeeSaw, If it make you feel better, Social Security has been quite successful at screwing the wealthy (those in high marginal income tax brackets).

    Years back, I can only imagine the uproar if SS told such recipients that their benefits were being cut by 25+%. Well, because it was too politically unacceptable to do it directly (by REDUCING BENEFITS), they just did the financial equivalent via the back door, by taxing 85% of the SS benefit.

  26. SeeSaw Says:

    That is not just the wealthy, TL. We pay taxes on 85% of my spouse’s SS benefit. And not only that–the Medicare premium, which comes out of my spouse’s SS benefit, is counted as income.

  27. Captain Says:

    Quoting Seesaw, “Captain, I questioned CalPERS about that pickup of employee pension payments when calculating the pension amounts. It is not allowed where I worked. CalPERS told me that where that occurs, it is acting on the instructions of the, respective, employers.”

    Seesaw, according to this article no less than 117 bay-area agencies pay at least part of the employee contribution. I can care less what BS CalPERS has to say on this issue because they are the ones that allowed it to happen. CalPERS is GUILTY of creating the problem – and many, many others.

    SeeSaw, if CaLPERS hadn’t established “THE POLICY” that allows public agencies to pay the employee share of pension contributions, and then also create the POLICY that allows the money cities pay on their behalf to increase their pensions, it couldn’t/wouldn’t have happened. Right? It is CalPERS that created the mechanism which allowed Cities/Counties/Special Districts to increase employee compensation through the deferal of debt. Just one more reason I can’t stand CalPERS.

    I don’t expect you to fully grasp what I’ve just said. I hope you go back to CalPERS and ask them to respond. I would love to here their answer.

  28. SeeSaw Says:

    I don’t have to ask CalPERS anything, for your benefit. I have talked to CalPERS many times; I attended the CalPERS, CA Dialogue in LA. CalPERS is a gatekeeper to hold the funds and enforce the rules for the program that was set up by the CA State Legislature, over 80 years ago. The State is at the helm of CalPERS. CalPERS is an arm of the State of CA–are you able to grasp that? I have nothing but gratitude to CalPERS and the local public agency where I worked. I worked for many years serving the people of CA. I received a very modest salary and benefits for my work, and I have stolen nothing. My employer picked up my CalPERS, 7% share for the final half of my working tenure. Nothing wrong with it–it cost the employer less, in the long run, than giving a cost of living increase, with salary. That 7% pickup was not added to my salary for the pension calculation.

    I am not the one who spends all my days and hours ranting about the subject of public employee pensions–you are. Thank god, they exist, for CA would be far worse off, economically, without the thousands of people that are drawing pensions and putting those funds into the CA economy.

    The CalPERS Board has some meetings coming up this month. You can go to the CalPERS website and get the information you need to attend those meetings. You can ask them those questions yourself, in a public forum. Don’t be afraid. There are some nice people there. They don’t bite.

  29. Tough Love Says:

    Captain,

    Do you really think CalPERS management or Board cares ? CalPERS is run by and for the Public Sector Unions with no regard whatsoever for the fairness and impact of their decisions on Taxpayers who are not participants in the Plans they administer.

  30. SeeSaw Says:

    TL, if CalPERS is run by and for the unions, don’t you wonder how it is, that all of the big earners of the pensions are former CMs and other high level managers who were not, when they worked, or now after they have retired, in unions. Seems to me that the real union members are getting the short end of the straw. (Also, how is it that CalPERS is run by and for the unions, since it was in existence for almost 40 years before there were any public sector unions in CA?)

  31. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting SeeSaw … “Seems to me that the real union members are getting the short end of the straw. ”

    You’re beyond delirious.

  32. SeeSaw Says:

    Likewise, TL.

  33. spension Says:

    Good article in the SF Chronicle…

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/johnson/article/BART-workers-goals-shaped-by-gamed-system-4727013.php

    Much better than the usual Tough Love juvenile insults, accusations of criminality & corruption of everyone but those he likes.

  34. Tough Love Says:

    Spension, I agree that your link is good reading ….shows that the Public Sector BART Union/workers are a bunch of greedy thugs.

    I’d like to see all these workers fired (ala the air traffic controllers) with new workers getting 75% of current “cash pay” and 50% of the benefits. …and I doubt there would be ANY trouble finding qualified candidates.

    As for juvenile …. your continued demand for “sovereign default” as a pre-condition for Public Sector pensions givebacks (from CURRENT workers) shows your true allegiance … always FOR these Unions, not matter how you try to disguise it.

  35. spension Says:

    Haha Tough Love. Sovereign Default is the only legal way to reduce existing pensions or vested pensions. That you belittle Sovereign Default shows that it is in fact you who is always for the unions; your yapping is just a beard.

  36. Captain Says:

    When BART employees annual compensation package were compared side by side with transit workers in other cities in Sunday’s edition of The San Francisco Chronicle, they matched up pretty well, even without a new contract.

    BART workers were on par with cities like Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C., monthly health contributions were less than most, and BART employees were among the few agencies whose workers make no contribution to their own pension plans … few public or private blue-collar workers outside California have the kinds of generous retirement plans offered by CalPERS, the state’s municipal retirement system … “ And in the Bay Area, where the median income is around $43,000 a year”.

    (few…outside California have the kinds of generous retirement plans offered by CalPERS (crooks))

    “It’s really not the transit workers’ fault …”they have watched with disbelief and disgust as other public employees – some of them police, firefighters, prison doctors and city administrators – game the system for small fortunes.”

    And the taxpayers have watched with disbelief and disgust as public employees – some of them police, firefighters, prison doctors and city administrators – game the system for small fortunes at the ever increasing expense of the people they are supposed to working on behalf of.

    What a screwed up system whe have when the people we pay to manage our tax dollars spend most of their time figuring out to extract even more so their budgets can cover their rapidly escalating salary increases (well above the rate of inflation) while also promoting increased fees and sales taxes which – even though they claim are necessary to run the state or city – are really meant to insure funding for their own early retirement.

    Spension, thanks for the link.

    (few…outside California have the kinds of generous retirement plans offered by CalPERS (crooks))

    (few…outside California have the kinds of generous retirement plans offered by CalPERS (crooks))

    (few…outside California have the kinds of generous retirement plans offered by CalPERS (crooks))!!!!

  37. Captain Says:

    My quotes are from the SF Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/johnson/article/BART-workers-goals-shaped-by-gamed-system-4727013.php

  38. SeeSaw Says:

    TL, there is an issue of federal funding that is in the middle of the situation with the Bart union/workers and other unionized transit workers, as it pertains to the State’s pension reform act. The issue of federal grant funds and requirements that always come along with the receipt and spending of such funds was something missed by the state. It is a problem that needs to be worked out between the two governments. Calling the workers greedy thugs, is just more of your usual. You would rather lob insults at people you don’t know than work to learn the facts. The cost of living in the bay area is quite high, and I don’t think you have enough facts to pass judgment on those workers. You are the one that is a cancer on society, TL!

  39. Tough Love Says:

    SeeSaw, THAT was nasty. I never say that about the workers …only their UNIONS.

    And I stand by it !

  40. SeeSaw Says:

    They are one and the same. The union are the workers!!!

  41. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting Spension …”Haha Tough Love. Sovereign Default is the only legal way to reduce existing pensions or vested pensions. That you belittle Sovereign Default shows that it is in fact you who is always for the unions; your yapping is just a beard.”

    Baloney, There are many States and cities NOT in jeopardy of going bankrupt but still subject to the grossly excessive pensions promised current Public workers even for service years not yet rendered.

    Fixing this absurdity (by materially reducing the future service pension accrual rate), concocted by the collusive arrangement between the the Public Sector Unions and our (Taxpayer-betraying) Elected Representatives should NOT be per-conditioned on sovereign default.

  42. SeeSaw Says:

    I have been referred to many times, by you, as a, “Thief”. I don’t suppose there is anything nasty in those continuous, hateful comments.

  43. spension Says:

    Yukyuk Tough Love, evading the point as usual. The pensions and vested benefits are protected in California by constitutional guarantees. If California tries to modify those contracts, the pensioners and vested beneficiaries will win the court case based on the Contract Clause.

    Sovereign default allows evasion of the contract clause, or it did in 10 or so cases in the past of the US.

  44. Tough Love Says:

    SeeeSaw, Since THAT’s where the money comes from, in a sense, all Public Sector workers steal from the Taxpayers. How else can you characterize the excessive/unjustified portion of their pensions, only grant due the the collusion of the Public Sector Unions and our elected officials ….. but a “theft” of Taxpayer wealth ?

  45. Tough Love Says:

    Spension, I wouldn’t count on that. The case for FUTURE service is yet to be fully tested in court.

  46. SeeSaw Says:

    Oh, come off it, TL! The public sector workers are taxpayers! And the pensions are a result of state legislation and formulas set up by the plan actuaries. CalPERS existed for about 40 years before there were any public sector unions–who was colluding then? Whatever taxpayer wealth exists, the public sector workers have the same shares of such as you and your cohorts. You go around with blinders on, so that you won’t see the role that pensions play in the economy.

  47. Captain Says:

    SeeSaw says, “And the pensions are a result of state legislation and formulas set up by the plan actuaries.”.

    No they’re not.

  48. spension Says:

    Haha more evasion from Tough Love. Who knows what he means by `don’t count on that’. Certainly there are extremely strong protections on pensions in the CA constitution and supporting law.

    Of course, Tough Love’s point (and that of bond traders, Wall Street traders, etc) is that *THEIR* contracts should be honored while they believe that *OTHER GUY’s* contracts should be abrogated.

    Well, Sovereign Default is the only way at the State Level to sort that all out.

  49. Tough Love Says:

    No Spension, as I have repeatedly stated (and you have repeatedly ignored) that BOTH the bondholders AND the pensioners (both actives and retires) should get EQUAL treatment … meaning the SAME % reductions in what is owed them.

  50. SeeSaw Says:

    You are saying that those investors who bought and sold products, off and on from a few to several years, that carried risk, but were insured, and pensioners who have been enrolled in DB plans which were a part of benefits over a time period of 20+ years, or more, should get equal treatment, when it comes to stiffing those, respective, stakeholders. I say, “No way, Jose”.

    No sovereign default will ever occur in the State of CA. There are hard times for many government entities–true. They need to struggle just like any family falling on hard times must–reform the plans, which has been done in the State’s public pension reform and start to be responsible in cleaning their own, respective, houses. Vesting public employees in lifetime healthcare benefits, plans with no prefunding, after six months on the job, is certainly not responsible. A CalPERS member must compile a minimum of five years’ service credit, to be vested in the plan, for heaven’s sakes!

    If it were me, and if I were in the Legislature, I would work to outlaw charter cities. San Diego’s and San Jose’s, respective, treatment of their own employees is nothing short of outrageous! Good luck to them both in finding employees who are qualified and willing to do their work, in the future.

  51. SeeSaw Says:

    To add: The corruption that has been featured the past year–cities of Vernon and Bell. Two examples of charter cities. They hoodwink the citizens into believing it is the way to go, and then they operate behind their own cloaks of deception. Every city in the State of CA should be a general law city, and all should operate under the same regulations.

  52. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting SeeSaw … “You are saying that those investors who bought and sold products, off and on from a few to several years, that carried risk, but were insured, and pensioners who have been enrolled in DB plans which were a part of benefits over a time period of 20+ years, or more, should get equal treatment, when it comes to stiffing those, respective, stakeholders. I say, “No way, Jose”. ”

    The Bondholder’s insurance is legally irrelevant, and anyway, it’s not “free”” just because there is insurance. The shareholders of the Bondholder’s insurer will be stuck with the loss.

    And the 2-nd part of that quote, you left out something VERY relevant. More accurately stated, it would say … ” …and pensioners who have been enrolled in DB plans which were a part of benefits over a time period of 20+ years or more, and are CLEARLY grossly excessive (due to the collusion between the Public Sector Unions and the elected representatives who granted them) should get equal treatment.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 263 other followers

%d bloggers like this: