On Monday we highlighted the steps San Bernardino, CA is taking to get out from under the iron thumb of union contracts that have forced the city into bankruptcy. Today we’re going to look at San Jose.
Public employee pensions have put San Jose on the ropes. Their Democratic mayor and city council took the bull by the horns last year and put a measure on the ballot to rein in pension costs. In the heavily Democratic city of San Jose it passed in a landslide. Needless to say the unions weren’t happy, they sued the city and the suit is still winding its way through the courts in California.
They’re even less happy today.
The mayor, Chuck Reed, is most likely on a couple of hit lists. He’s put together a ballot initiative for next year’s California ballot that would dramatically alter the playing field for unions in their Golden State.
Reed last month took steps toward putting a statewide pension proposal on the November 2014 ballot. The measure would, among other things, change California’s constitution so that state and local government employers could legally lower employees’ pension terms prospectively. A week ago he offered to talk things over with the unions and with Democratic and Republican leaders in the Legislature.
“Meaningful dialogue can only occur in an environment of trust and sincerity,” the coalition’s letter says. “Your choice, to first introduce this draconian and flawed measure and then invite dialogue, shows a lack of both.”
The “meaningful dialog” sentence from the union’s letter has to be one of the most hypocritical statement I’ve read in a long time. Public employee unions work diligently to destroy trust and are the most insincere group of thugs on earth. Islamists included.
If passed by voters, Reed’s ballot measure would invalidate a body of case law that suggests pensions once promised are a “vested right” that can’t be diminished without equal alternative compensation.
California is certainly a pot of gold for unions. You can also bet that California’s unions – who own the Democratic Party, lock, stock, and barrel – will unleash an unprecedented campaign to defeat Reed’s proposition.
Today, the really important fact is that a Democratic mayor has passed one ballot measure reigning in unions in a heavily Democratic city and now he’s being taken seriously as he moves to amend the California state constitution.