The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 5, 2013
From the notebook: Letter explains how California, federal laws conflict

thomas_perez.jpegAs we reported in a breaking news story on Wednesday and followed with a more detailed report today, the Brown administration has announced a plan that it says will allow federal grants to continue flowing to regional transit districts while the courts decide whether California's new pension law degrades mass transit employees' collective bargaining rights.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez had warned Gov. Jerry Brown that at least $1.6 billion was at risk, because federal mass transit law requires agencies that receive certain federal grants protect their workers' collective bargaining rights. The Labor Department certifies whether employers are complying.

The warning became an official decision on Wednesday. Here's the letter from Michael Hayes, the director of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards, that explains why the Obama administration decertified the Sacramento Regional Transit District because it has implemented California's Public Employees' Pension Reform Act.

Sept. 4, 2013 Department of Labor Letter

We can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

PHOTO: Thomas Perez testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 18, 2013, when he was a nominee for U.S. Labor Secretary. Associated Press/Molly Riley

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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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