The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 14, 2011
A.M. Reading: Calif. needs federal money; union official to receive $500,000; 'pension robbery'

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCalifornia's emergency manager warns of need for federal money
WASHINGTON - California's top emergency manager warned federal lawmakers Thursday that U.S. penny-pinching puts the state at risk. (Sacramento Bee)

CalPERS fires partner in struggling winery investments
CalPERS expected to harvest a fortune from lush fields of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir. But like many of the pension fund's big-time real estate deals of the past decade, the pension fund's investment in the wine industry turned sour. (Sacramento Bee)

Hercules Council, after rescinding medical benefits, finds retirement a stickier process
The new Hercules City Council, reacting to the city's bleak financial condition, rescinded health benefits for its members in one of its first official acts this summer. But eliminating retirement benefits has proved more complicated. (Mercury News)

'Insane' even by Illinois standards? Union official to get $500,000 in pensions
A labor leader in Chicago is expected to receive pension payments of nearly $500,000 a year, while another could get about $438,000 a year, according to reports Wednesday.

Illinois lawmakers look for pension loophole fix
SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois lawmakers are trying to close pension loopholes -- they created -- that are allowing union leaders to cash in on public pensions. (Fox Illinois)

Stakeholder Pensions: Protest Depicts 'Pensions Robbery'
Union members, as part of a protest against pension cuts, donned robbers masks and suits befitting city bankers outside of Derbyshire County Council's Hall on Wednesday. (Pension Calculator)

Wash. State Workers Picket Over Western State Hospital Closures
LAKEWOOD, Wash. - Unionized state workers are protesting a cost-cutting proposal to close five wards at one of Washington's mental institutions. More than a dozen employees staged a lunch time picket Thursday outside Western State Hospital . They grilled hotdogs, waved signs and chanted, "Put people first." (OBP News))

Christie weighs in on the sick-leave issue
I just left the Governor's afternoon press conference on property taxes at a home in Mount Laurel. More on that issue later. Another issue that came up was the one on which I just posted, the issue of how public employees are getting away with theft of public funds by taking cash payouts for unused sick leave at retirement. (NJ.COM)

Teamsters file wage-and-hour complaint for prison guards
Three prison officers and a leader of the Teamsters Union on Thursday accused Florida's prison system of cheating employees out of up to 200 hours of wages per year and asked the U.S. Department of Labor to make the Department of Corrections let the officers clock them in before going through long daily security checks. (

Portugal Plans Deeper Cuts in Moment of 'National Emergency'
Portugal plans to make deeper budget cuts next year as it faces a moment of "national emergency," Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said. "Next year the adjustment will have to be much deeper," Passos Coelho said last night in a speech broadcast by television station RTP following a cabinet meeting to discuss the 2012 budget proposal. To meet its budget goals, Portugal has to do more than it initially planned, he said. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Nobel Winner Pissarides Says No Default, But Big Haircut
As Greek leaders are admitting that the country's investors won't get paid back all they are owed, Cyprus' Nobel Prize Winner for Economics Christopher Pissarides has joined the bandwagon of analysts who say the so-called "haircut" could be a 50 percent loss, although he said the country will not default, a prospect many other pundits say is still unavoidable in one form or another. (Greek Reporter)

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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