Brown announced Wednesday that he’ll back legislation to temporarily exempt about 20,000 local transit agency employees from the tougher pension rules. Otherwise, the U.S. Department of Labor would have blocked the transit agencies from receiving $1.6 billion dollars in federal grants.
The Labor Department says California’s new pension law violates a federal law that says transit workers must be allowed to bargain collectively for contract changes in order for agencies to receive the grants.
Brown says the state law does allow collective bargaining, and he plans to fight the Labor Department’s decision in court. But he’s agreed to exempt the transit workers in the meantime so the federal grants can go through.