In 2012, San Diego voters gave Landslide Approval to Proposition B, which eliminated defined-benefit pensions for newly hired city workers except for police.
In December of 2015, the state Public Employment Relations Board, a bastion of Union sympathizers, ordered ordering the city to make millions of dollars of retroactive payments to workers hired since the law took effect.
The city appealed. Today we have a very welcome ruling for taxpayers: An Appeals Court overturned the PERB Ruling.
"This is a victory for the citizens of San Diego and the state of California," said taxpayer advocate April Boling, one of three who filed court appeals. "The court agreed citizens can take matters into their own hands through the initiative process and support of elected officials does not somehow trigger the requirement for union negotiations."
Since the provisions of the ballot measure were implemented, most new employees have been offered 401k-style plans.
The proposition was opposed by organized labor groups, which took their case to the PERB.
The city contended that private citizens don't have to negotiate with organized labor before proceeding with a ballot measure, and that even though municipal officials like then-Mayor Jerry Sanders backed Proposition B, they did so on their own time.
A three-justice panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeal returned the case to PERB with directions to dismiss the union complaints.
The justices also called on PERB to order other "appropriate relief" consistent with the views they expressed in their opinion, and determined that each side to the litigation will bear its own costs.
First of Many Court Victories to Come
This is the first of many court rulings that will have unions reeling.
I discussed why previously on December 28, 2016, in Good News in Battle Against Public Union Greed and Corruption.
The election of Donald Trump is likely to do at least one good thing for the country (and that's at least one more good thing than we would have seen had Hillary won).
Trump gets to make the next Supreme Court appointments and he has a great chance to clobber the public unions.
Already the SEIU is putting out warnings. An internal memo outlines plans to slash budgets by 30 percent at SEIU, the group behind the Fight for $15.
When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scali unexpectedly died on February 13, 2016, after hunting quail, I was dismayed by the impact that might have on union rulings.
Sure enough, on March 29, the Supreme Court Handed a Major Victory to the Unions in a 4-4 tie, upholding an Appeals court ruling on union fee collection.
The Supreme Court handed organized labor a major victory on Tuesday, deadlocking 4 to 4 in a case that had threatened to cripple the ability of public-sector unions to collect fees from workers who chose not to join and did not want to pay for the unions' collective bargaining activities.
It was the starkest illustration yet of how the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia last month has blocked the power of the court's four remaining conservatives to move the law to the right.
A ruling allowing workers to refuse to pay the fees would have been the culmination of a decades-long campaign by a group of prominent conservative foundations aimed at weakening unions that represent teachers and other public employees. Tuesday's deadlock denied them that victory, but it set no precedent and left the door open for further challenges once the Supreme Court is back at full strength.
Gorsuch Replaces Scalia
Scalia is gone but via a nuclear option, Gorsuch Heads for Supreme Court.
One is never 100% sure how justices will rule, but there is an overwhelming likelihood that Clinton would have appointed a union sympathizer who would have further wrecked taxpayer and city budgets.
Instead, there is a very strong likelihood, Gorsuch will stick it to public unions every chance he gets.
At long last, the court has a chance to make some very important rulings that put money into taxpayers' pockets while lowering the costs of cities doing business.
However, the Supreme Court cannot fix everything that needs to be fixed by itself. Congressional help is needed.
I call on Republicans in Congress to do four things.
- Kill collective bargaining for public unions
- Pass national right-to-work legislation
- Scrap Davis-Bacon and all prevailing wage legislation
- Pass national bankruptcy laws allowing cities and municipalities to declare bankruptcy
Victory at Hand
Point number four above will allow insolvent cities in Illinois, California, and other places escape preposterous pension obligations via bankruptcy.
Victory over public unions is possible. All Republicans have to do is the right thing.
Note to Senator Rand Paul: Please lead the victory charge.