CA Lawmakers Propose End to DB and Collective Bargaining

February 23, 2011 ( - Traditional pensions would be eliminated for newly hired state workers and collective bargaining for retirement benefits would end under new bills proposed by California lawmakers.

The cornerstone of a proposal by Senator Mimi Walters is to replace traditional defined-benefit pension plans with 401(k)-style retirement plans for new government workers. “We must first stop the bleeding, which is why it is crucial that we establish a viable defined contribution plan for new employees,” she said, according to Bloomberg.  

Assembly member Allan Mansoor proposed the bill to end collective bargaining.  

Bloomberg notes that the measures touch on themes that have spurred demonstrations in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, as government unions protest moves to limit their power and raise costs for their members. Jim Zamora, a spokesman for Service Employees International Union Local 1000, the largest union in California for government workers, said he hadn’t seen the bills and couldn’t comment.  

One of Walter’s bills says pension payments and retiree benefits cost California taxpayers $5 billion a year, up from $1 billion in fiscal 1999, and projects those costs to jump to $15 billion annually in a decade, according to the news report.