Public Unions Take On Boss to Win Big Pensions

This sound familiar?

The city was on the road to insolvency, he [Jim Righeimer] warned, because public employee unions had pressured politicians into handing over generous salaries and pensions. City workers weren’t fans of Mr. Righeimer, who had been critical of public unions for years. Local police and firefighter groups started mailing leaflets and towing a billboard around town attacking him, implying he had skipped out on numerous debts. Public employees spent more than $100,000 opposing him, and six unions from neighboring regions spent another $33,000 endorsing his opponents.

Costa Mesa, population 110,000, is California in miniature. For years, public employee unions across the state have often used their influence — sometimes behind the scenes but occasionally with public, hardball campaigns — to push for improved worker pay and benefits. They have exercised power beyond their numbers by donating money to lawmakers, burnishing candidates’ credentials with endorsements and supplying volunteers during elections.

Net result: $176bn gap for public pensions (across the country)!

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