In an 11-0-4 vote, the Los Angeles City Council voted to support collective bargaining in Wisconsin. Four members were absent: Alarcon, Parks, Smith and LaBonge.
Eric Garcetti was interviewed by KNX. He told reporter Bill Cooper, “We’ve had success when we sit down with our union partners…We’ve been able to get cuts and increased pension contributions…”
How does Garcetti define success? By allowing benefit costs to grow so they will absorb one-third of the budget by 2015, if not more?
The Council President is right about one thing: he referred to the unions as “partners.”
Indeed they are the partners of the City Council.
The mayor outlined his proposals for pension reform.
They include requiring new hires to contribute 11% to their pensions rather than the 7% rate current employees pay, increase the retirement age from 55 to 65 and reduce the maximum pension benefit from 100% to 75%.
These are measures that should have been considered at least three or four years ago. It was no secret that the pension and health plans were a drag on the budget.
But the mayor said nothing about negotiating for higher contributions from current employees. I suppose that’s too much to ask from collective bargaining. Without major concessions, there is little relief in store for the budget.
The Coalition of City Unions is already setting the stage to challenge the mayor’s tame recommendations for pension reform.
In a statement, the Coalition said, “City employees are in active negotiations on the issue of pension reform and urge the mayor to honor the spirit of the City Council’s vote in support of collective bargaining for all Americans by respecting the rights of city workers,” the Daily News reported.
There is no one respecting the rights of the general public.