When the city of Los Angeles goes bankrupt and dies, following San Bernardino, Stockton and Mammoth Lakes, residents can send the funeral wreath to the unions of the city, who are dancing on the incipient grave. The unions are delighted because the ballot measure sponsored by former Mayor Richard Riordan that would have rolled back benefits for existing workers and put new employees into a 401(k)-style retirement plan has been withdrawn.
The measure needed 300,000 signatures by December 28 in order to qualify for the May ballot, but Riordan and the measure’s backers simply ran out of time.
Needless to say, the unions were quite satisfied with Riordan failing to save the city and were only too happy to drive a stake through the measure’s heart:
Tyler Izen, president of the Police Protective League, said, “The plan proposed by Riordan to close the defined benefit pension system as a way of saving money was both simplistic and costly ... for the taxpayers."
How reducing pension benefits would be costly for the taxpayers is anyone’s guess.
And the powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU) represented by Local 721, which represents civilian city workers, released a statement from sanitation worker Simboa Wright, (funny, no one calls them garbagemen anymore) who, in classic union style, invoked class warfare:
City residents weren’t about to let a bunch of billionaires rewrite city policies. As city workers have been saying for a long time, Riordan’s half-baked plan wasn’t thought out. It died because it was bad for city workers and the city they serve.
Riordan’s advisers had asserted that the measure would save more money for taxpayers than any other measures to cut retirement costs already in place.
When city after city goes under because of the intransigence of unions, perhaps the unions can arrange a national wake.