"This is a threat to our members, to the working class, to our future years, to a secure retirement and it's a threat to the economy." - Alan Barcelona, CSLEA President
On October 15, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed filed paperwork for a proposed statewide ballot initiative that would change California's constitution to allow public employees' pensions to be changed prospectively. This new pension initiative, The Pension Reform Act of 2014, backed by an out-of-state billionaire, would allow public employers to reduce retirement benefits, both pension and health, for current employees. The reductions could be made without the collective bargaining process.
"This is an attack on California families and what they have worked so hard for," said Barcelona. "We already have so many Californians in the private sector who fear they will retire into poverty, now we are going to add to the pool? It doesn't make good economic sense. It breaks the promise of retirement security made to public employees."
In addition to attacking pensions, the initiative appears to be an attempt to take away the collective bargaining process which allows labor associations to work on behalf of employees for fair benefits and employment conditions.
Backers of the Pension Reform Act of 2014 will need to collect more than 800,000 valid signatures to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. With experienced and successful lobbyists at the State Capitol and as part of a large California coalition of public safety associations, CSLEA will keep you apprised of this attempt to attack pensions and will fight it along the way.