State workers threaten strike because they don’t want to pay part of their own pension, set to worsen state pension crisis

THC was very intrigued by the pretty tone deaf stance taken by representatives of the Service Employees International Union Local 1000 on salary negotiations, per this article in the Times-Standard earlier this week: 414 State workers in Humboldt eye Dec. 5 walkout

According to the article, union president Yvonne Walker is taking a hold-the-state-ransom approach to securing a contract that “respects our work and values the services we provide to all Californians.” Walker goes on to say that the state has failed to budge from its opening proposal regarding wages for state workers with no explanation or justification.”

Of course, depending on how you look at it, the states proposal of giving SEIU-represented state employees a 12% raise over 4 years is pretty darned generous. The catch for the SEIU is a 3.5% increase in employee contributions towards their own pensions.

THC has been over the crisis facing federal, state and local governments when it comes to the looming and ever-worsening pension crisis many times. It strikes us as completely disingenuous that the union would draw a line in the sand when the current state of pension plan funding is so dire. Even a 3.5% increase in employee contributions won’t fix the situation, but it would do a little to reduce the pressure on tax payers to continue funding the pension packages worth millions that many public employees enjoy.

With all that in mind, it seems that the state doesn’t need to proffer much explanation to the union for their proposal – despite the way the union seems intent on spinning the situation, there just isn’t enough money to continue the current and extremely generous method in which pensions are doled out. Suggesting that the public needs to continue shouldering an unfair burden in paying out public employees underscores one thing – the union, and the people it represents, generally don’t give a damn about the “service” they provide to Californians. They just want more money for themselves, and they also don’t give a damn of the crippling effect on state and local economies and governments.

The common denominator with pension plans for public employees at all levels is this: the financial burden rests squarely on the tax-payer to compensate for the overly-generous pension plans given to public employees, and those same employees aren’t willing to pay their fair-share.

Of course, if things shake out at the state level the same way they do at the local level, well…suffice it to say that we’ll all have to get used to the fact that we’re carrying a bunch of retirees who often make a lot more in retirement than we do while actually working.

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20 Responses to State workers threaten strike because they don’t want to pay part of their own pension, set to worsen state pension crisis

  1. Hector says:

    Here is the part that you miss! It is not the employees fault the agencies failed to continue to contribute to the pensions a steady amount over the years whether the fund was super funded or not. The publicly elected officials decided to wager the future on programs and other and other pet projects that helped them stay in office or get elected. Have some government management gotten rich off of a flawed system? Yes. However the bulk of government employees have given themselves to a job that has no cost of living or colas that most people enjoy. But you say they have a retirement? Most government employees will not receive anything else like social security because of the pension they paid into. You are upset because the tax payer has to front he bill? It was the tax payer that let the electied officials make these poor decisions and quit paying to into pension for a number of years. Don’t act like a victim. You never tell the whole story! You always show the small percentage of management that made out like bandits but fail to acknowledge the working man and woman that are trying to raise a family and be a responsible citizen. Tell the whole story and be honest! Don’t hide the facts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great comment, thank you for taking the time:

      “The truth is you should be mad.” THC tag line

      THC wants his readers to be mad (especially at unions, organizations that represent minority populations, and government) that’s the only truth he seems to be concerned about.

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      • TMOB says:

        Sure Jon. Those of us that don’t have cushy state jobs where we can get paid $100k for hitting an enter key are going to pay for this. We’re paying 2x for you (years worked + same salary until you’re dead) and what’s OUR return? More government hassle. Longer lines and crappy service just to pay a bill or get a response to something. Threats that the whole world will shut down if we don’t keep paying you? Are you going to take your retirement money and put it back into the local economy when your “guarantees” dry us up, cause us to move out of state, or change our ways because we can’t barely make it ourselves? It’s not to-hell-with-unions. It’s your own unions that sold you the sky and can’t come up with a way to get you to it. You’re about to be screwed just as much as the rest of us that don’t make $100k a year doing a lot more actual and important work.

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    • Cousin Eddiie says:

      There isn’t any money. When will you guys get that? You sucked the system dry.

      Like

    • Mac Towner says:

      Bullshit. I’m sick and tired of the self righteous assholes who insist on supporting union ass kissers like Bass and Sundberg and demanding more and more from those of us making less and less. At some point even government workers have a social responsibility to support the little people who are paying their obscene retirements.

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  2. Not every union worker likes SEIU…this is one site, there are many others.
    http://laborpains.org/2011/01/07/why-is-the-seiu-anti-worker/

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  3. Just Watchin says:

    Blood sucking unions. Always the “me first, screw you” attitude, especially the government workers who can’t get a job in the public sector. When I was still working and doing hiring, applications with government work history went straight to the trash can.

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    • TMOB says:

      Yup, because they make NFL agent-type salary and creature-comfort demands for a $12 an hour job they haven’t even landed yet. I’m sorry, your workspace in an industrial environment was never intended to be your bedroom with a coffemaker and a pillow.

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  4. “We’re paying 2x for you (years worked + same salary until you’re dead) and what’s OUR return?”

    This is such a difficult question to answer, isn’t it? In the context of 50 years of a coordinated attack on workers and labor this is where we are. The last bastion of unions do exist in the public sector and their is a full-frontal attack on public unions in media, comment zones and faux common sense for 10 or 20 years now.

    It is not a coincidence that Wisconsin was so close and Republicans have had an extremely anti-union activist for Governor for 8 years.

    So where do we start this conversation with honesty? We should start it with false assumptions. what about here with Cousin’s statement.

    “There isn’t any money. When will you guys get that? You sucked the system dry.”

    We remain the wealthiest country on earth. Where is that wealth? Public sector employees? Hollywood Democrats? Nancy Pelosi? No. There is some wealth there, but most of these right-wing scapegoats are fighting to return wealth and power to working people.

    I know you might think I’m a Karl Marx aficionado, but a) I not and b) capital has the money. It like to make money on that money and it would rather not pay labor any more than it has too. That is were the wealth is and that fundamental problem with a capitalist economy still exists to this day. We live and feel this the most in the poorest sections of the country.

    It’s a pretty simple concept and people like Scott Walker, the Koch Brothers and so many others for so many other reasons do everything they can to talk about anything but that.

    That is where an honest conversation should start. We are the wealthiest country in the world, why can’t people who’ve worked hard all their lives be guaranteed the retirement they were promised? Also, what about those of us whose retirement is 20 years off? Everyone here will be OK right? You’ve set up your children and grandchildren? What about those who can’t find a job right now?

    We’ve chose to break our system even more after the national election last month and a large reason we did is because of dishonest conversations set up by dishonest frames. We can do better and M we will. America is wealthy, caring and smart enough to support all of us, even as we become vulnerable again in our old age, not just the chosen few.

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    • TMOB says:

      “We remain the wealthiest country on earth. Where is that wealth? Public sector employees? Hollywood Democrats? Nancy Pelosi? No.”

      Oh boy. Is that really your claim to fame on a local issue? To dilute and deflect like that? Get real. That’s like saying “Hey there’s crime all over the USA why is Humboldt any different?” You need to narrow down your arguments.

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      • TMOB:

        But the think is TMOB, unions and especially public as a local issue make sense. Humboldt is a poor, rural county suffering from a loss of the resource-extraction economy it was built on.

        Unions and, again, especially public unions infuse our economy with more money in the pockets of working-class people who tend to spend that money in our local retail economy.

        THC and it’s readers are buying into this war on unions baloney which is not a local issue unless you are looking at it from the view of the Carson Mansion.

        Absolutely, business owners and property owners locally would like to reduce their monthly paychecks devoted to salary. That is one way of maintaining a failing business model.

        If, as framed by THC, civil servant pensions was a local issue, it would be easy to prove. Find out the percent of the CA and federal budgets that go to these pensions. Take your own annual state and federal tax liability and multiply it by that percentage. That is what it is costing you.

        How does it benefit you? a) There are local jobs available for your friends and neighbors who may not be able to do the hard labor of construction, and no because it involves a computer, this labor is not “cushy”. It’s very difficult work, just not in the same way that hard labor is difficult work. b) As mentioned these civil servants turn around and spend and live in Humboldt contributing to many local private business models. c) These jobs are year-round and thus help even-out a seasonal economy that we might have if we depended only on construction. d) from Hector above ” Most government employees will not receive anything else like social security because of the pension they paid into. You are upset because the tax payer has to front he bill?”

        The list goes on. THC’s local argument is simple. We don’t want to pay any more taxes.

        Take a look at the cost/benefit of those taxes in your own life after you file taxes for 2016, would you please TMOB? This would include looking at specifically how much your personal liability is as describe by the formula above.

        And one more thing, and this is very important. I’m also against the very high salaries or earnings of not only government officials, but of local private profiteers. THC and it’s readers passed on something that would have helped to slow this trend – the “Me Too” clause. He hasn’t mentioned the correlation of losing that clause after the labor negotiations and the Supervisors spending spree on increased salaries for themselves and law enforcement.

        TMOB, we can’t ignore that labor is a national argument and there has been an attack on labor – all types – by management and ownership and their funders (ie Wall Street) for decades. The business management side has been winning the argument since the end of the Eisenhower administration, imho.

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  5. Cousin Eddiie says:

    LMOB – “Take your own annual state and federal tax liability and multiply it by that percentage. That is what it is costing you.”
    that wouldn’t account for the unfunded liabilities. Also you need to consider what public services have been cut while pension payments increased. Every dollar spent on pensions is a dollar not going to current services.

    Like

  6. Cousin, I’m willing to hear and understand more about unfunded liabilities if you have good links, but this is disingenuous.

    “Also you need to consider what public services have been cut while pension payments increased.” Not for the formula I’m talking about above. That is part of the budget process, and there is nothing causal from one area of non-public spending to another. I could just as easily, and I’d say much more honestly argue that public services have been cut while those who have more and/or those who earn more do not pay what they should in medium to top marginal rates or (dare I say it) wealth taxes.

    Like

  7. CMMargoni says:

    People have the ridiculous idea that retirees live a luxurious life on their pensions. That may be true of people who retired from high level Director or Police Chief jobs. Most of the rank and file peon employees can work for thirty years and not see a great deal of money. Many have to look for another job to cover the high cost of housing. Check out the pension data on Transparent California, not for executive salaries but for Office Assistant and Office Technician. See if you think that’s a “life of luxury. “

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Roger Bar says:

    yea make sure while your tearing the hell out of the taxpayers cars that u use everyday , and the equiptment to landscape your place. That u make sure and get hurt a couple days before retirement that way you can tripledip your retirement, holding that shovel up all those years while everything gets bidded out , or outsourced makes u wonder if u guys have special toilets that wipe your ass!

    Like

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