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Pension Foes Look to the Future to Attack Members’ Benefits

Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego Councilmember Carl DeMaio, two failed politicians obsessed with taking away public employee pensions, have withdrawn their 2016 antipension ballot measures.

And while this means state workers will avoid a frontal assault on their hard-won benefits this election year, Local 1000 members need to remain vigilant as the pair plans to refile for the 2018 ballot, pinning their hopes on a possible antiunion decision in Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association (CTA), a case currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Friedrichs case, while originating in California, has national implications. An anti-labor decision would mean that states like California, where public employee unions collect “fair share” fees from employees who choose not to become members, would no longer be compensated for representing those workers.

Reed and DeMaio know that working people standing together will never let their benefits be stripped away by the kind of right-wing interests they represent, so they are banking on the Friedrichs case dismantling the union power that keeps our members’ pensions secure.

But, according to Local 1000 President Yvonne R. Walker, union power isn’t going anywhere. Friedrichs or no, members who “step into the arena” and make their voices heard will continue to defend the rights of all workers. “We are a union of the willing,” she says. “We will stand and fight, now and in the future, to protect what our members have fought for and earned.”

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