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Brown Blinks on Transit Worker Pensions - For Now

 
CPR file photo/Ben Adler

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown announcing his original proposal to overhaul the state's pension system in October 2011. The pension law passed a year later, though with smaller changes than Brown first proposed.

CPR file photo/Ben Adler

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.

 capitol

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio