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David Lopez, (L) a Los Angeles County Firefighter, Maria Elena Durazo, (C) from Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, participate in a march supporting union workers in what protesters have dubbed, "Solidarity Saturday" on March 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
Voters in San Diego and San Jose overwhelmingly passed two propositions on Tuesday that seek to remedy municipal budget gaps by cutting current worker pensions. By taking aim at not only future workers but current workers pensions plans, the June 5 props are even more austere than Governor Jerry Brown’s 12-point pension plan, which California Democrats did not support.
Union officials in both San Jose and San Diego plan to challenge the cuts in court, arguing that they violate contracts between the cities and their employees. But with such overwhelming support from taxpaying voters, and against the national back-drop of Wisconsin voters’ blow to public employee unions in Governor Scott Walker’s failed recall on Tuesday, does California’s situation present a kind of bell-weather for public labor and its relation to Democrats across the country in the 2012 general election?
Will the success of these initiatives boost conservative efforts to target public sector pensions across the country?
David Lewin, Professor of Management at the UCLA Anderson School of Management
Darry Sragow, attorney and long time Democratic political strategist