Lawmakers in California are finally trying to do something right by reforming public pensions. Unfortunately, the US Department of Labor is making that task extremely difficult by forcing them to exempt transit workers from the reforms.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is an equal opportunity guy, even when it comes to political bullying. Take his blackmail of California’s Democratic Governor Jerry Brown: Exempt transit workers from last year’s state pension reforms, or lose billions in federal funds.
Mr. Perez threatened to cashier federal grants for 83 local transit agencies because he claimed California’s pension reforms violate the Federal Transit Act, which requires the Labor Department to certify that “protective” arrangements are made for workers (i.e., the Teamsters) before the feds dole out dough. Nearly $2 billion in federal funds are at stake this year alone.
Governor Brown this week agreed to exempt transit workers after Mr. Perez cut off $54 million in funding for the Sacramento Regional Transit District, which AP reports is the first time in 15 years that the Labor Department has decertified a grant. Consider this a sign that Mr. Perez has not been chastened by his close-run nomination fight. (Read More)
It won’t be long before other unions start demanding an exemption, at the cost of current jobs and wages and benefits for future workers. But we’re supposed to think these people are out to help the working class. Yeah, right.