On November's local ballots, labor lost big in California
On its November 2 and June 8 ballots, California voters weighed in on a total of 20 local ballot measures that influence the pay, pension packages, healthcare retirement payments, and contract negotiation perogatives of labor unions. The pro-union/labor position lost in 19 out of the 20 contests.
- 5 measures about labor negotiations, pay rates and binding arbitration. The union position racked up a 0-5 score on these.
- 3 measures about Project-Labor Agreements. The union position went 0-3 on these.
- 12 measures about pension reform. These measures were a potpourri of different ways to rein in pension and retirement benefits. Three were advisory only. The only straight up loss for those advocating pension reform was the loss of the Adachi Initiative in San Francisco. (One pro-union measure, Proposition L in Riverside received a majority vote, but less of a majority vote than its rival, Measure M, which means than Measure M, not Measure L, will go into effect.)
In the wake of this evidence of voter sentiment, more pension reform measures are under consideration. Jeff Adachi says that he will work to place his measure -- the only pension reform measure that lost in 2010 -- on a future ballot in San Francisco. Adachi, a liberal Democrat, said, "Basic services are being crowded out. We're spending one out of six dollars on pensions." Adachi also predicted that in five years, unless something changes, one out three dollars spent by San Francisco will go to fund its pension liability.
San Diego's mayor, Jerry Sanders, plans to propose a pension reform measure. The loss of Proposition D, the San Diego Sales Tax Increase, on November 2, ties the city's hands in terms of enhancing revenue, which means that the city must look for ways to cut costs. Sanders says, "This is one of those things that has to be done fairly quickly." Unless something changes, the annual contribution San Diego makes to its pension fund will exceed $500 million in 2025, versus $232 million in 2010.