CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 8, 2013 |
A union leader whose members helped construct Disney Hall, Staples Center and other signature Southern California buildings is under investigation over allegations that he let employers skip payments to workers' health and pension funds, spent dues money on an extramarital affair and retaliated against whistle-blowers. Scott Brain represents about 1,650 workers as head of Cement Masons Union Local 600, based in Bell Gardens. The union is a force in local and state politics as a regular donor to election campaigns.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 15, 2013 |
A handful of maids and janitors line up most weeks outside the gleaming Embassy Suites in Irvine to urge visitors to boycott the hotel. But the workers aren't just protesting management - they are also targeting their union brothers and sisters. One of the hotel's largest investors is the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Assn., which manages $41 billion in pension funds for firefighters, sheriff's deputies and other union and nonunion workers. Unite Here Local 11 is seeking to unionize 65 hotel workers and says Embassy Suites is trying to fire those who support the union.
July 19, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Detroit's historic bankruptcy filing - already thrown into turmoil by a Michigan court Friday - has ignited a largely uncharted legal front in the closely watched battle between public employee unions and governments across the country struggling to meet costly pension obligations. In Detroit, city pension funds sued Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and the city's emergency manager, saying they could not use bankruptcy to reduce the pensions of about 30,000 current and retired workers to help ease the city's $18-billion debt.
June 26, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - Federal prosecutors are stepping up efforts to bring to trial two former officials of the California Public Employees' Retirement System indicted on fraud, conspiracy and obstruction charges. The U.S. attorney in San Francisco wants to move ahead quickly on criminal cases brought against Alfred J.R. Villalobos, a former CalPERS board member and deputy mayor of Los Angeles, and Federico Buenrostro Jr., a former chief executive of the pension fund. To do so, the Justice Department has asked federal and state agencies and judges to delay action on various pending lawsuits involving the two men. A grand jury indicted Buenrostro, 64, of Sacramento and Villalobos, 69, of Reno, Nev., in March.
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 20, 2013 |
The pension fund for California teachers and school employees will run out of money by 2044 if lawmakers don't take drastic action, according to a new report from the Legislative Analyst's Office. The report said problems with the pension fund, known as CalSTRS, "may be state's most difficult fiscal challenge. " The costs are massive and growing. The latest estimate pegs the fund's unfunded liability at $73 billion as of June 2012, up from $64.5 billion the year before. "This is more costly the longer we wait," said Ryan Miller of the Legislative Analyst's Office during a hearing Wednesday.