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The Rich Employee's Pension Club
Source nancy snyder, sfwriter
Date 11/06/11/02:13

City Workers Pay The Cost Of Concession Bargaining With Billionaires

IT WAS WITH great fanfare and enthusiasm at the May 24th press conference where San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee presented his proposed grand design to cut the benefits of the City and County of San Francisco's workforce, or, the 200 page-plus ballot initiative under the guise of pension reform. The Mayor was hoping for smiles all around – after all, he was now presenting a ballot measure that he hoped would outshine the proposed ballot legislation to “rein in public employee pensions” from his political rival, San Francisco's Public Defender, Jeff Adachi. And, the Mayor's proposed legislation was the product of a blessed triumvirate of the City's top managers, their counterparts in the San Francisco labor Council's Public Employees committee (the band of the public employee unions in San Francisco)and, to give the famed San Francisco millionaire Warren Hellman the opportunity to help the City of San Francisco, Hellman would be the aegis behind the actuarial study that would become the economic foundation of the ballot legislation.

This would be the third year of substantial wage and benefit cuts to the City's workforce; this time, the cuts would not be through each union's local through contract negotiations but this product would be a ballot measure that would radically change the economic retirement package of the City's workforce. For San Francisco City workers earning less than $50,000, the ballot measure proposed by Mayor Lee is a very real economic hardship:the Mayor is also proposing more cuts during the coming 2011-2012 fiscal year to help close this year's budget gap which would mean a wage cut of at least 10% for active employees given that if the ballot measure passes, active employees would be contributing at least 8% more to their pension costs.

Mayor Lee's proposed measure has the rare infamous distinction of being the first contract/legislation that the San Francisco Unions have willingly acquiesced to that perceives the San Francisco retirees to be a source of revenue for the City. Given that the average San Francisco retiree has a pension of barely $20,000.00 – this perception of forthcoming revenue from the City's retirees leaves most unionists gasping at the audacity of this perception. When asked why the City and the Union's team decided to hit the retirees, the curt and succinct reply was, “the team thought the retirees should pay their fair share.”

nancy snyder, sfwriter

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