CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 16, 2013 |
The city of Long Beach is announcing that it has achieved pension changes for all city employees after reaching a tentative agreement that asks four of the city's bargaining units to increase the amount employees pay into their retirements. The contracts represent the final piece of nearly three years of negotiations with nine unions that sought to lower pension costs as the city struggled financially. Since 2007, the city has eliminated 786 positions and slashed $134 million from its general fund.
September 4, 2013 |
Transit unions won the first round in their battle with Sacramento over Gov. Jerry Brown's pension reforms. But under a deal negotiated between Brown and the U.S. Department of Labor, which sided with the unions, their victory may be only a temporary one. At issue is whether the 1964 Urban Mass Transportation Act shields unionized bus and commuter rail workers -- current and future -- from the changes in public employee pensions enacted by...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 7, 2013 |
The federal government is withholding about $2 billion from transit agencies across California, including $268 million earmarked for bus, rail and street projects at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The money has been held back since December because the U.S. Department of Labor contends that a new state pension law violates the Federal Transit Act in the way it treats unionized workers of transportation agencies. Labor officials say changes in retirement benefits contained in the reform law undermine the collective bargaining rights of transit workers.
August 3, 2013 |
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. - Paul St. George worked 19 years as a firefighter, sometimes running into burning buildings for rescues. Once, he was injured when a wall fell on him. For his service, he counted on a promised $36,000-a-year pension. But in August 2011, this small city - with an $80-million unfunded pension, and retiree health benefit liability five times annual revenues - filed for bankruptcy. St. George's pension was slashed to $24,000. Pensions for other retired city workers also were drastically cut, even after retired firefighters and police officers pleaded, saying they had risked their lives for the city.
July 9, 2013 |
Joel Wachs hasn't been an Angeleno for a dozen years, but he still has his key to the city. And he feels its political tremors. L.A., where he made his political bones on the City Council, has just sworn in a new mayor - a brass ring he tried three times to grab. Only three other men served longer on the City Council than Wachs, but after 30 years as that rare political creature - a social liberal and fiscal conservative - he moved east in 2001, to head the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
May 27, 2013 |
The municipal-debt market has always rested on a simple notion - that local governments would do whatever they must to repay borrowed money. Cities wouldn't want to default on their bonds, some of which are owned by their own citizens. And they wouldn't want to alienate Wall Street, which finances many of their civic projects. The bankruptcies of Stockton and San Bernardino have shaken the decades-old faith in that premise, and turned the California cities into closely watched test cases for how municipalities grapple with deep-rooted financial problems.