Jerry Brown administration digs in against unions on pensions

Gov. Jerry Brown has vowed to fight any legal or legislative effort to soften law designed to reduce pension costs.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is pushing back against labor union efforts to roll back some of the pension changes made by state lawmakers last year.

The governor has vowed to fight any legal or legislative effort that he views as softening the law, which requires current employees to pay more of their own retirement costs and increases the retirement age for public workers.

In Contra Costa County, the local pension system has sued the state over the law’s benefit cuts that it says are illegal. Brown said recently his administration would vigorously defend the law in court.


A statewide transit workers union asked the U.S. Department of Labor to find that the restrictions passed by state lawmakers violated federal labor law. Last week, the Brown administration responded with a letter from state Labor Secretary Marty Morgenstern to acting U.S. Labor Secretary Seth Harris and a legal opinion saying the retirement changes adopted last year complied with federal standards.

Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) has introduced a bill that would exempt about 20,000 transit workers from the changes in the law, which include requirements for current employees to pay a larger share of their own retirement costs.


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