County Workers Union Granted New Contract

Thursday, February 20, 2014
Article Tools
Print friendly
E-mail story
Tip Us Off
iPod friendly
Share Article

Members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 620 ​— ​which represents 1,850 county workers ranging from public defenders and custodians to maintenance workers and clerical staff ​— ​were granted a new contract this week after a 4-1 vote from the Board of Supervisors. The union had been negotiating with the county before its previous contract expired last year. Good through July 2016, the new contract includes changes such as doing away with freezes on merit step increases and allowing a 2 percent wage increase starting this month, and one percent increases in June 2014 and July 2015; the increases come after years of furloughs and prior cuts of certain compensations.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Must be an election year money is no problem. It's called raises for votes and campaign funds initiative 2014..

Incumbents have to go……..

Priceless (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 7:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The more government workers get paid now, the higher their pensions will be later and we have to pay those too. Government pennons are currently tied to what the employees get paid today. And they are paid plenty.

(See "Transparent California" and learn not only what you are paying them today; but what pensions you will be still paying them later.)

As long as we keep offering defined-benefit pension plans every raise government workers get is more money out of present services for residents later.

Defined-benefit plans were a mistake and are archaic. No more raises until government pensions are converted to defined-contribution plans. If current workers don't like the working conditions and compensation plans, they can quit and go elsewhere.

Elect officials who are willing to bargain realistically with these government union workers. No more political, conflict of interest sell-outs that bankrupt our own future.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 9:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

so vote against the incumbents. Wolfe, Farr, and Carbajal are so deep in the unions' pockets they can't see daylight.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 9:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Make conversion to defined-contribution county pension plans the number one issue this upcoming county supervisors election.

The rest of the county issues can then fall in place once this major drain on county resources is remedied.

What will you hear in rebuttal? It's not fair; a contract is a contract. Nope, it's not fair to bankrupt current residents with promises made by past supervisors that had no possibility of ever being funded.

The courts will be weighing in on these issues, so the legal argument is unsettled at this point. Additionally there are statewide ballot initiatives that also deal with the legalities of this issues so pay attention to those too.

Pay county workers well; but don't compromise our future with unrealistic pension promises. Educate yourself about the unfunded liabilities all government worker pension plans in this state face: CalPERS, CalSTRS and our own county's billion dollar debt.

All brought to you by "progressive" politicians and the fully public sector- union owned Democratic Party.

At one time you could hold your head high and say you were a Democrat. No longer: it is purely the party of the public sector unions today whose only mission now is their own self-perpetuation while sending you their ever-increasing bills.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 10:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mr. Aceves should definitely be pushing the benefits issues and Janet's cozy relationship with the employees union. He should push hard on the two tier benefits (for new employees), how poorly the budgets have been run since Janet's been on the board, and her micro management style that has resulted in the mass exodus of very talented government professionals with only the "yes people" left. The only exception would be Mr. Parker, who probably get's beat up by Janet on a daily basis.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 11:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

County budget problems go back a lot further than just Janet Wolf.

You can lay the blame on the Rose-Marshall-Schwartz trio for being fiscally clueless, but ready to promise everything to their Democratic union cronies.

And then skip out when the bills came due. Janet Wolf was cut from the same cloth, along with Farr and Carbajal. Same interlocking group of campaign supporters and endorsements.

You get what you pay for in this town and the county employee unions paid fair and square to get exactly this. Voters, please do not be so dense and voting against your own best interests next time.

Your interests are county infrastructure and a good level of accountable present day services: not just growing the size of county worker future pensions. But that is exactly what voters allowed to happen, starting way back with Rose-Marshall-Schwartz.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 1:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Promises made yesterday have to be paid today. Today is today. SB city council did the same thing. When you don't have present cash to meet public sector union demands; you pawn off future promises.

That is what prior elected "progressive" officials did. Now the bills are due. Baby-boomers are now retiring and their hands are rightfully out. You promised us this way back when; now pay up.

You need to turn the clock back to when the original promises were made and the underlying premises to see why we have the current budget mess and more importantly what to never do again.

The biggest error was promising defined-benefit pensions. This simply has to be eliminated. Good for the workers and good for the public. But it is like taking candy from a baby, as our infantalized government union workers will quickly let you know. But we have to do it.

Vote only for those who will show the courage to get this done. And even more importantly, cover their backs when they do.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 1:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Please, foo, tell us more.
You only have ranted on here 6x longer than the original news article.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 1:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah tell us what you really think.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 2:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Prof Foo could you extraordinarily extrapolate another 600 reams of the same cut&paste crud you slather on this thread? Please please elaborate.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 3:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Existing pension plans are protected by the State Constitution and recent court decisions (see San Jose Police Officers Association vs. City of San Jose) have invalidated attempts by jurisdictions to cut employer costs for pensions earned by current workers. It will be difficult for the Board of Supervisors to change the existing defined benefit plans for existing workers absent a change in the State Constitution.

discoboy (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 4:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If you haven't noticed yet this is Foo's quest in life. It's a useless and pitiful one, but like the religious fundamentalist he cannot understand any other point of view.

These issues have been decided in the CA Supreme court, and various appellate courts, after multiple failed attempts by similar extreme politicians. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a democrat, is again trying to waste out of state billionaires money on a new initiative. The best objective minds on both sides of the issue call it a loser already.

It's not a political party but rather a mind set that seeks to demonize any group of people that band together for better pay or benefits. They read actuaries like the bible and say the sky is falling based on points that benefit their arguments. Problem is, the sky appeared closer during the recession, but never fell. Kids today call that an "Epic Fail".

Foo appears to be cut from the same cloth of persistence we see with the Westboro Baptist crowd. Will his sign read "God hates defined benefit pensions".

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 5:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

All the more reason to abandon defined-benefit plans all together. Federal law decided in the Detroit bankruptcy case will blaze entirely new territory about federal supremacy and state contract obligations.

While you think these state findings are comforting, think again. They make it even more urgent to abandon defined-benefit plans. The more you try to make these pension plans bullet proof in state court, the faster they will be eliminated.

The public sector unions finally broke the bank. Plus the pension management firms breached their fiduciary duty to their beneficiaries with gross mismanagement. The plans were never more than Ponzi schemes in the first place and should be stripped of all fiduciary protections.

This issue is getting hotter every day as more people finally understand what a self-serving political scam this was in the first place. Democrats used public pension promises to buy votes - can't get any worse than that. No wonder Tea Party principles fostering smaller government are making more sense, even in California.

The greed, hysteria, and manipulations of the public-sector unions is finally getting exposed, in ways voters can finally understand.

Be sure to test how well your "you are just envious because we are doing so well and you are not" defense is working.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 5:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I understand the other side. Public workers were given sweetheart deals and they don't want to give them up. I don't blame them. I can appreciate them not wanting to give up those plush pensions because these government workers did plan on them and put in their hours and feel they earned them. This is a given.

Deal is done. But that is not the issue. Defined-benefit pension plans were a mistake and we have to correct that mistake as soon as possible and every where we can.

This means some workers got a windfall and will have to work side by side with other workers who will not. Also a given. We knew this was a problem well over a decade ago. Had we bitten the bullet back then, we would be crawling out from under this mess now; never to let it happen again.

But you can thank the unions for digging in, buying friendly legislators and distorting the issue beyond recognition and we are now even worse off than had we pulled the plug a decade ago.

Your call, voters. But don't complain about ever higher taxes to pay off workers who are no longer working and paying for workers who are.

Ooops, they mis-underestimated what they needed to have in the till and now we have to pay off both sets of workers, using our present dollars.

But hey, let's keep doing it. That is a plan too.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Detroit bankruptcy decision is headed to the Supreme Court and legal scholars are putting their money on the side of the public workers simply because it would directly effect governments ability to protect it civilians. Like with CA cities, the bond holders are SOL because they can write it off, the workers can't.

Zig Ziglar said it best about you Foo, "You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure".

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 5:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Even if Detroit gets away with classifying their debt as "unsecured", one of two things will happen. Either the language with which future bonds are issued will be more carefully worded, or interest rates on muni bonds will go through the roof. There is no free lunch, either for bond holders, municipalities or public employee unions.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 6:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Defined-benefit pensions are dead. Plan accordingly.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 6:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In Detroit the pension mess is simply the blood leaving the body. The major wound was caused by corporations. Just like a gold rush town after the gold is gone.

The problem is if they cut pensions and pay Detroit will make Chicago's crime rate look excellent. I think the bond holders will survive.

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 6:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When Foo? When? Right after the sky falls?

Take a pill.

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 6:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The irony of course is municipalities will need to float even more bonds because the growing percentage of revenues will be drained off to support the every-growing underfunded defined-benefit pension promises. (Helllo Stockton)

Except when previous municipal bond holders have to take a haircut, there will be few to buy those previously "safe" bonds. Or they have to be sold at punishing interests to get anyone to take a risk again.

The bad hand was bid a few decades ago when the "promises" were made. This is only beginning playing out now. All bets off if you are betting person, because this is a case of first impression.

Morally will the Detroit Institute of Art collections be sold lock stock and barrel, lost forever to all future generations, to make a one-time pay out for promises made by corrupt Detroit councils now long gone?

Will the Clark Estate be sold off to fund the city's current $200 million city worker pension liability? (Yes, I know this cannot happen, but think of the impact and the scale of what past city councils did to us now in the present.)

Talk among yourselves. New rules shall be written. The most obvious is never again: offer defined-benefit pensions. The next obvious change will be selecting candidates, who are not beholden ahead of time to the very same municipal employee unions.

And restrict t all future conflicts of interests in order to keep employee/management bargaining positions, independent and arms length.

This city will never recover when voters keep electing candidates known upfront to be endorsed by the very city employee unions they will later have to bargain for salaries, benefits, pensions and perks.

Bendy White and Gregg Hart -do you have plan or will you too take a pass, term yourself out and keep kicking this can down the road.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 6:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

For those wanting more history, background and facts about this issue but not just hearing union side, which is what you are getting here, along with their typical dose of personal insult, here is just one of many places to start educating yourself about this highly important issue.

Don't like the message, then by all means try to kill the messenger. The message is getting legs. Stay tuned.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 7:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't forget you live in California. Let's look at who's in charge and we'll understand what people really believe...

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 7:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

& foo flusher flies in front with eight, count 'em, 8, weighty & repetitive cut and pastes....sigh...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 7:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Interesting, they hold Tennessee as an example in your link there Validated. The workers at the VW plant there just told the UAW to pack up and go back to Detroit.

Of course you're right that the biggest future for unions is in the public employment arena. The combination of lucrative union contracts and bought and paid for politicians is a combination that can't be beat. The only ones that lose are the taxpayers.

Outside of the public employment sector though, unions are as dead as doornails.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 8:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

foo, for all the insults directed at him(her?) seems to be the only one that gets it.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
February 21, 2014 at 9:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Brevity would benefit the foo....
But in this new era of more people benefiting from govt largess than those actually paying for it,why wouldn't elected officials elect to continually increase the amounts paid out and or given away.Watchdog agencies are easily painted as grumpy old white guys who will all die off soon enough.

garfish (anonymous profile)
February 21, 2014 at 10:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

well, of course, garfish. The solution is to do as Wisconsin did and eliminate collective bargaining for compensation by all state and local gov employees. Then the pols couldn't sell themselves to the unions.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2014 at 9:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"The solution is to do as Wisconsin did"... I always love that quote. Like somehow magically in the next generation CA would turn into Wisconsin. With the Tea Party doing everything it can to implode the GOP it's more likely the reverse would happen.

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2014 at 2:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well Validated, we can always hope.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2014 at 3:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"The workers at the VW plant there just told the UAW to pack up and go back to Detroit."

No, they did not. They were scared by threats from people who cry free-market, but do not follow their repeated libertarian chants. It is offensive to threaten others to do as a handful of politicians want, rather than what the workers want. And it is the height of hypocrisy. The vote would have had more credibility if there were no threats.

Btw, here is a cut-and-paste about Germany. They are not free-market fundamentalists, with better success.

"Germany is growing much faster than the United States. Its unemployment rate is now only 6.1 percent (we're now at 9.1 percent).

What's Germany's secret? In sharp contrast to the decades of stagnant wages in America, real average hourly pay has risen almost 30 percent there since 1985. Germany has been investing substantially in education and infrastructure.

How did German workers do it? A big part of the story is German labor unions are still powerful enough to insist that German workers get their fair share of the economy's gains.

That's why pay at the top in Germany hasn't risen any faster than pay in the middle. As David Leonhardt reported in the New York Times recently, the top 1 percent of German households earns about 11 percent of all income - a percent that hasn't changed in four decades.

Contrast this with the United States, where the top 1 percent went from getting 9 percent of total income in the late 1970s to more than 20 percent today."


tabatha (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2014 at 4:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gee Tabatha. You don't give auto workers credit for any intelligence at all. Can we "scare" them into voting for the GOP as well?

Oh, and BTW, the official US unemployment rate currently stands at 6.6%.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2014 at 10:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That unemployment figure of 6.6% only counts people drawing unemployment insurance; it is not the true number.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2014 at 11:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

See what the Tennessean has to say about it. I think intimidate is a synonym for scare.

“Although there aren’t many precedents where a party other than the employer attempts to intimidate the employees before an election, the purpose of NLRB elections under federal law is to get the employees’ free and informed decision about whether they want to be represented by the union,” Dau-Schmidt said.

Liberal labor economist Larry Mishel, president of the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, said Corker, a conservative free-market advocate, is being “hugely hypocritical” by meddling in the plant’s affairs, especially when the company is open to the idea of union workers.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2014 at 5:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

As likely is Germany's.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2014 at 5:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Btw, scare/intimidation tactics have been used by one side repeatedly going back to Lee Atwater (note his deathbed confessions, apologies). There are too many instances to name, but they continued right up to the Birth Certificate and Kenyan muslim nonsense. It is a frequently exercised tactic, and will be on display again in 2016. It works because plenty of people fall for it. Note the Willie Horton ad.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2014 at 6:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't forget the 3 AM phone call. How many excuses do you want to make for the fact that that the autoworkers didn't want or need the union representing them?

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Tea Party is not imploding the GOP; it is imploding the DNC.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2014 at 8:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Tabatha, when you turn the US into a work ethic mono-culture like Germany, you will come close to your version of utopian dreams.

Not sure what your game plan is to accomplish this, since all you do is whine, blame, scold and finger point. I always feel I am getting a dose of good old time religion from you - hell fire and damnation if we don't follow the path and see the way. (Your way.)

Tell us how to convert our vast armies of US takers into makers, because in Germany the makers take their "fair share", but they do not take their share and support a society of 47% pure takers, like the US has become.

Please enlighten us more about your cross-cultural references because right now you can't make a good apple strudel with your US turnips.

On a personal note, do you travel much tabatha? We can count on getting the unadulterated progressive party line from you, straight from party central headquarters. But I also sense your comments do not come with any real life experience or seasoning.

However getting the party line direct from the belly of the beast is comforting because it exposes its shallowness and vacuousness. Thank you for providing us with your continued insights - canned or otherwise.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2014 at 9:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"The Tea Party is not imploding the GOP; it is imploding the DNC." ... What planet are you living on??? Do you follow the news? Here's an article from an obviously right leaning paper in tea bagger central...

Validated (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2014 at 6:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Uh, Validated, did you neglect to notice (or only to mention) in your link that Democratic party registration also fell.

I guess nobody wants anything to do with either party.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2014 at 9:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

While Botany is indeed onto something when s/he says "nobody wants anything to do with either party" there are many facorors that impoact those figures.
For example, I'm pretty certain registration with any political party is by no means a guarantee of immortality. How much of that drop off is due to the voter mortality?
In addition people move and don't reregister; or move out of state - all impacting state figures.
Or perhaps, as Botany said they're seeing both Party establishments as two sides of the same coin and are exploring bit-candidates.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 23, 2014 at 9:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

event calendar sponsored by: