California’s “progressive” approach has been enshrined in what is essentially a one-party state that is almost Soviet in its rigidity and inability to adapt to changing conditions. With conservatives, most businesses and taxpayer advocates marginalized, California politics has become the plaything of three powerful interest groups: public-sector unions, the Bay Area/Silicon Valley elite and the greens. Their agendas, largely unrestrained by serious opposition, have brought this great state to its knees.
Little by little, over many years, the salaries and retirement benefits of San Bernardino's city workers — and especially its police and firemen — grew richer and richer, even as the city lost its major employers and gradually got poorer and poorer. Unions poured money into City Council elections, and the City Council poured money into union pay and pensions. The California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers), which manages pension plans for San Bernardino and many other cities, encouraged ever-sweeter benefits.
Union, Financial, Greed
Three months after lawmakers enacted public pension rollbacks, a new measure has surfaced that would exempt thousands of public transportation workers from the law... The Teamsters and two other unions sponsored the bill, which would exclude 20,000 local and regional mass transit workers statewide from the higher pension contributions and lower retirement benefits passed last year.
Union, Economy, Greed
Losses mounted Friday for the strike-hobbled local ports, where picketing clerical workers have closed nearly all cargo terminals at the nation's busiest shipping complex. The strike by the 800-member clerks union, which began Tuesday, is creating losses estimated at $1 billion a day, including forfeited worker pay, missing revenue for truckers and other businesses and the value of cargo that has been diverted to other ports.
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Hypocrisy, Union, Incompetence, Greed, Waste
Mariam Noujaim shook her head at the things her labor union had spent money on, from a $300 meal at Sacramento's Kru restaurant to the Holiday Inn conference room where she spent four hours Tuesday reading some of the organization's financial records.They rattled off hotel expenditures by SEIU Local 1000 leaders, at locales ranging from Dallas to Pebble Beach. They did not know why the trips occurred. They pointed to restaurant expenditures from the lavish to fast food. Several times, Noujaim said rental of a private conference room rather than SEIU offices was a prime example of union waste. "They splurge with our money, they travel with our money, they go all over," Noujaim said. "Why do they need to do all of this?"
“The labor unions really called in their chits, and Davis went along with it,” Stern said by telephone. “In hindsight, they should not have done it, because they made future generations pay for the benefits they approved.”
A state worker is recovering after a bloody brawl at a union hall. He says members of the local SEIU 1000 beat him up and sent him to the hospital all because he wanted to expose alleged corruption within the union.
Ken Hamidi is a state worker at the California Franchise Tax Board. Last night he walked into a union hall in Sacramento for an SEIU local 1000 meeting.
Union, Character, Corruption
The Service Employees International Union's highest-ranking California officer has resigned that position and two other leadership posts in the wake of an internal investigation of payments to her ex-boyfriend, it was announced today.
Union, Government, Incompetence, Financial, Greed
In bankrupt San Bernardino, a third of the city's 210,000 people live below the poverty line, making it the poorest city of its size in California. But a police lieutenant can retire in his 50s and take home $230,000 in one-time payouts on his last day, before settling in with a guaranteed $128,000-a-year pension. Forty-six retired city employees receive over $100,000 a year in pensions.
Union, Government, Incompetence, Financial, Brilliance, Greed, Debt
The man in charge of the biggest U.S. city ever to file for bankruptcy is clear about the root of the crisis. It was a decision that gave firefighters full healthcare in retirement starting on Jan. 1, 1996, said Bob Deis, the city manager of Stockton, California. At the time, the move seemed cheaper than giving pay raises sought by unions, officials involved in the decision said. When other Stockton employees demanded the same healthcare deal in following years, the city agreed. Deis, who signed Stockton's bankruptcy filing last Thursday, slammed the decision to provide free healthcare to retirees as a "Ponzi scheme" that eventually left the city with a whopping $417 million liability.