Angered by former Assemblyman Roger Niello's proposed ballot initiative to reduce pension benefits for California state and local civil servants, public employee unions are pushing back.
Californians for Health Care and Retirement Security, a broad-based labor coalition, is retaliating with a 10 a.m. Wednesday protest at Niello BMW on Fulton Avenue in Sacramento.
The group also is calling for a boycott of Niello family dealerships in the Sacramento area.
Niello wants to put his proposal on the November ballot, assuming a special election is called. The plan has come under attack from labor interests who say Niello's ballot proposal is a poorly written and poorly disguised exploitation of the hot-button pension issue to boost his political prospects.
Pension reform advocates can't be thrilled either, since Niello's measure would siphon off money and voter interests from other initiatives, including one planned for the 2012 ballot that would freeze and then reduce current employees' retirement benefits.
Niello businesses have been union targets before. Two years ago, after Niello urged his fellow Republicans delay a vote on SEIU Local 1000's contract, the union staged a protest at one of his dealerships.
Niello later told The State Worker that the protest hardened his opposition to the deal because to do otherwise, "would have looked like I'd caved."
PHOTO: Former Assemblyman Roger Niello listens to a question at a Sacramento Bee and Capital Public Radio panel discussion on the state budget on Wednesday, March 23, 2011. Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee.