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Is This What They Mean By Shared Sacrifice?

I’m not too worried about the sweetheart deal our city fathers and mothers have cut with our city workers — it will blow up in their faces long before the paper it’s written on yellows if not before the ink is dry.

Anyway, they’ve been doing this to us for a long time so what’s new?

While the rest of the city’s population is worrying about how to make ends meet and what happens if someone in the family loses their job or gets sick, our city workers are getting to retire at the youthful age of 55 with full lifetime pensions and health benefits.

The loss of the labor of the 2,400 in this lucky class will mean worse services for those who pay the bills. But for 90 percent of the city workforce who retain their jobs it will be something of a bonanza: Promotions galore, excuses for every failure, deferred raises for two years with iron-clad guarantees that they will be made whole soon enough and get a large cash bonus to boot.

Imagine how sweet life would be if we all had this deal.

But we don’t because it’s unaffordable. When business is bad, we lose our jobs with nothing but vacation pay and unemployment. When we can’t pay our mortgage, they take our houses away.

We pay as we go in our own lives and now we get stuck with the bills for our city government’s failure to do the job they are so handsomely paid to do.

They’ve been getting away with this for a generation while leading lives of relative luxury and absolute security even as the schools failed, poverty increased and urban problems mounted.

Sure, they pick up the garbage but their new trash fee was used to inflate city salaries, not hire thousands of new cops.

Sure, the water and power are flowing in our pipes but rates are soaring, the infrastructure rotted, and green-energy-at-any-cost policies are squeezing our pocketbooks.

Sure, the LAPD is better today than it was a generation ago but it took rage in the streets, hundreds of millions of dollars and the federal courts to achieve reforms that our city leaders had refused to carry out.

No, I’m not too worried about this latest sweetheart deal. The city can’t afford it. There isn’t enough money coming in. They know they can’t raise taxes or fees anymore. Even the DWP cash cow can’t generate enough to cover payroll costs.

This sweetheart deal is nothing but a timebomb — an improvised explosive device that will inevitably blow up in their faces.

But unless we do something about it now, they won’t pay for their failure — we will.

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25 Responses to Is This What They Mean By Shared Sacrifice?

  1. Lisa Cerda says:

    Well, as usual, you had me at hell no!

  2. Sandy Sand says:

    So far the only thing the idiots-in-charge haven’t done is put shotguns and bows and arrows in the hands of kids (12 – 17) to shoot errant deer that have the audacity to interlope on residential property, as the numbnuts in Placer County are proposing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    And yet the deal for the City unions is the functional equivalent of a shotgun pointed at the City’s economic future. The unions need to be scaled back and they have seized control of our City.

  4. City Worker says:

    Yet another example of a group of Unionized workers getting blamed for getting paid fairly. The propaganda machine of the ruling class loves writers like this who pit worker vs. worker rather than focusing on the battle of workers vs. the ruling class. Are city workers responsible for the lost jobs of other Angelinos? This article explains who has really been siphoning the money due to the workers of this country:

  5. Lisa Cerda says:

    It’s not about how much they get paid or about unions, it’s about WHO has to pay them and why!It’s about Los Angeleno’s carrying financial burdens on their broken back. It’s about the lack of fairness to taz payers, It’s about the weak minded solutions coming from cityhall. It’s about time it ends!

  6. Anonymous says:

    “Yet another example of a group of Unionized workers getting blamed for getting paid fairly.”
    Please define “fairly”. If you make 30%+ over the identical private industry job, is that “fair” to the taxpayer? If you make 30% over that, are you being “fair” to the dwp ratepayer?
    Clearly “fair” is in the eye of the beholder. Some simply call it what it is…legalized extortion, at least as to public labor unions in Los Angeles.

  7. City Worker says:

    So then I take it that you feel that Union workers should be making less money, rather than that private industry workers should be making more?
    If you read the link that I provided in my last comment you will see that there is plenty of money to go around for the working class… if the elite few would just give us what is rightfully ours. But why should they when we are down here fighting each other over scraps?
    Do not doubt that I feel grateful to be a Union worker with Union benefits. I deserve a living wage and healthcare for the work I do! And so do private sector workers. There is enough money for all of us. But the solution is not cutting my paycheck so that we can ALL be poor. The solution is allowing all workers to have the rights that Unions afford to them while regulating the institutions that have allowed the ultra-wealthy to steal from us for decades.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Spin spin spin. Give it a rest City Worker, or should I say Julie Butcher.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Go on City Worker, you are making sense. I agree that people should make a middle class wage and I think most city workers deserve what they get.
    I dont like UTLA becuase they are very much about keeping the worst teachers no matter what, and that directly hurts the kids. But whats wrong with City workers making a decent wage?
    But City worker, what about the pensions? its a little tough to defend city workers who are the only ones with a lifetime job-and get great pensions and can retire at 55. Id like to see them have nice pensions, but dont see how the city can afford it.

  10. Sinecure says:

    A City employee, in order to retire at 55 must have 30 (thirty) years on the job.
    If your a Wastewater Treatment Operator, that means your dealing with …..well just look at your toilet bowl before you flush next time and you get the idea. Or your a Refuse Collection Truck Operator driving these crazy streets in a huge piece of equipment. These people after 30 years of this day in and day out will get average $3,500 a month plus medical. The medical is converted to Medical when they reach 65. And get this, City workers do not get Social Security because they don’t pay into it.
    Most take big pay cuts when they enter City service. I went from $45,000 in the private sector to $28K annually when I started in 1993. That’s with a wife and two kids. So I take a cut in pay for the security of a civil service position and your pissed because after 30 years I get to retire? Finally…..
    If you don’t think they deserve their retirement, I defy anyone here to shovel and compact hot asphalt all day in the San Fernando Valley in the summer for 30 years.

  11. Gwennie says:

    Give us a break! There is NO city employee who has been shovelling hot asphalt in the valley for 30 years.
    And that monthly $3,500 retirement check? The equivalent of a million dollar portfolio with guaranteed cost of living increases and no market risk.
    And that Medicare Package? Annual $7,000 subsidized Part B reimbursement for employee and spouse.
    And you are whining that you had to take a pay cut 16 years ago because you choose to opt for the security of a civil service position which is now paying 41% higher than a comparable position in private industry?
    I think we all know crap when we see it!

  12. Anonymous says:

    As usual, there is probably a middle ground most people would agree is the fair way to deal with things. Which is why, I agree that city workers deserve their salaries and i wouldnt begrudge them that, but what to do with pensions? It doesnt seem fair that any worker, other than a few hardship types, deserves lifetime work, and a big pension, when the city, county, state, feds, cant afford it. But..these workers cant get another job, or can they?
    So, what to do about pensions. Seems like the only solution going forward is to have new workers accept reduced pensions and pray there is enough growth in the economy to pay the already promised pensions.

  13. Anonymous says:

    After The incompetent Mayor gave out 25% pay raises, and he coul’nt balance the city budget what was he thinking.
    As usual he had his head up his ass.
    Known he is talking about more pay raises according to the L.A. Times, and he want to give an extra $15,000 Dollars bonus for those that take a goden handshake. If you get to retire an extra 5 years early is’nt that an incentive already.
    At a cost of over 78 milliom in incentives to the taxpayers how is he a good mayor. Can the Retirement Board absorb all the new retirements without the added contributions, especially after the Retirement Board lost over 7 BILLION DUE TO THE MAYORS COMMISSIONERS WHO ARE FALLING LIKE FLYS, AND SING LIKE BIRDS ABOUT THE BAD INVESTMENT MADE WITH ANTONIO CALLING THE SHOTS TO INVEST IN HIS GROUP OF FRIENDS WHO DONATE TO HIS EOLECTION FUND..

  14. Very interesting. You have to give it to Julie for convincing people to open there contract and lose 0.75 per year vs forcing the city’s hand and getting 16.75%. There are at most 2500 people who can retire, when there gone the rest of the membership just might figure out they got worked over. After nearly a decade the blue collar workers got a decent contract which still pales DWP and LAPD/FD the chosen few in those departments who have reaped the rewards of seiu members sacrifices. Somehow they have kept this pyramid scheme going, but it can’t last forever.
    Shame really this use to be a beautiful city, now it is a shell of it’s former self. Good luck with the Math Julie your going to need it, either that or tell the mayor to get a real shared sacrifice from the PD FD & DWP. We won’t hold our breath.

  15. Anonymous says:

    A City worker is obviously the result of a LAUSD education.

  16. Sinecure says:

    Gweenie – You rattled off some impressive figures. That a City retirement package equals a million dollar portfolio, and we get a gift of a $7K subsidy for Part B, and the City Workers are paid 41% more than those in the private sector. Of course you can prove these figures?
    You’re delusional and your figures are suspect. Fortunately they’re so out in left field any reasonable reader of this blog would immediately see your pulling them out of your….. reference my remarks about the toilet bowl and where the waste product originate.
    Nice try. As for the 30 years shoveling asphalt, granted there is a small number of people doing it for that long, but it happens and I speak from authority – you fabricate and fictionalize your responses and have no credibility. Move on.

  17. City Worker says:

    Statistics are agendas and, like Bible passages, can be used to “prove” almost anything. I try not to put much faith into even those statistics that would seem to support my values. The values themselves are what is important.
    What I’m trying to get around to is just an opinion – that workers need to unite against the greed bred by our institutions and not give in to the propaganda employed by the ruling class to turn us against one another. Proof of their control over our minds is that Socialism is still considered a bad word when it should be clear at this point that Workers do not benefit from an unregulated system of Capitalism.
    Why shouldn’t the disappearing middle class be uniting in favor of Unions and healthcare and good pay and all the things that we have the money and resources for?
    I, as a city worker, am not creating the policies that take food from the mouths of private industry workers who are being laid off. Shall we cut the pay and pensions of city workers and just go ahead and accept a two-tiered economy of the rich and the poor? Or should we be focused more on changing our economy and putting caps on the wealth-hoarding of the elite?
    Oh, but wait… that would basically require a revolution. Who is going to start that? Not me, probably not you. So I guess we’ll just continue to bicker at one another over who is less poor.
    Nevermind… keep blaming city workers, illegal immigrants and the liberal media for our economic crises. Things are simpler that way.

  18. Gwennie says:

    Ah, Sinecure, you poor ignoramus.
    One of the biggest disconnects between city employees and the rest of us is that you know nothing about investment streams or how much money it takes to fund a decent retirement.
    Right now, it would take the present value of 1.3 million for that portfolio to throw off $42,000 annually.
    And, unlike the vast majority of angelenos, that pension is indexed to keep up with inflation.
    Don’t take my numbers for granted: call Charles Schwab or Vanguard or any other financial service institution and ask them to run the numbers and you will discover that taxpayers are minting lots of paper public sector millionaires, despite what you want to believe.
    $7,000 for Medicare Part Bbenefits. Apparently, you have no idea how expensive part B is for the rest of us. Yes, $7,000 is the average out of pocket cost for Medicare Part B.
    But, of course, you don’t need to know any of this: you are covered.
    The 41% higher figure for public versus private?
    Quoting from February 18,2009 Forbes Magazine: “Gilt Edged Pensions” by Stephane Fitch, “The common presumption is that public servants forgo high wages in exchange for safe jobs and benefits. The reality is they get all three. State and local government workers get paid an avergae of $25.30 an hour, which is 33% higher than the private sector’s $19.00, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics data. Throw in pensions and other benefits and the gap widens to 42%.”
    This is creatimg a nasty social porblem as America is dividing into two nations. The public sector which is growing larger and larger and enjoying ever greater wages and benefits often guaranteed by the state and city.
    And, the private sector whose jobs hang by the state of the ecoonomy and who are having to work longer and live poorer. Fully 50% of people over 55 in the private sector must still work part time.
    Another excellent source of information on this
    is Roger Lowenstein’s book “While America Aged”.
    And nice try, Sinecure, you still can’t find ONE city empoyee who has been shovelling hot aspault for 30 years.

  19. City Worker says:

    Gwennie – I can’t speak for sinecure but as I have stated I know that I have it good compared to most of the Worker class. What i don’t understand, again, is why people in the public sector blame City Workers for their problems as if the solution is for City Workers to give up their relative good pay and benefits so that we can all be poor together. I see the Union -assisted victories of fair pay and benefits won by City Workers as a beacon of hope that there is still the possiblility of a livible Middle Class existence in America. There was a time when the kind of pay and benefits that I enjoy were a lot more commonplace… but the power elite of our nation was able to change regulatory laws and take more of the money and resources for themselves.
    Hopefully this isn’t an offensive analogy, but I think that public sector workers being bitter towards government workers is analogous to someone who slaves in the fields of a plantation feeling anger towards the house-slave who is better treated. Hear me out – I’m not trying to compare the quality of the lives of American Workers to that of slaves in the 1800s – but it is a similar dynamic.
    The ruling elite has some of us working in the kitchen, and some of us working in the field. So, it is in the best interest of the power structure to keep these two grades of workers separated and bitter with one another. If they are thusly pre-occupied, they are less likely to focus on who their real oppressors are.
    We are not one anothers’ problem. The institutions of power whose wheels we are all spokes in – these institutions are what hold us back.

  20. Gwennie says:

    City worker, your points of discussion remind me of discussing contemporary foreign affairs as though we were in the 1930′s.
    Your arguments are classic Eugene Debs. The problem is that 80 years have passed and the arguments for a “worker’s paradise” have been pretty well discredited.
    And, public employees are predominantly neither in the field nor in the kitchen!!
    Quite the contrary, one of the oppressors in the current power structure is now public employee unions, who face no real opposition in the quest for “mine.”
    Politicans oppose public employees at thier great peril. Why else would the LAUSD have such a problem firing teachers who molest kids?
    The ruling elite–Public Empoyees unions–are draining city services for the benefit of public employees while insisting that the 41% discrepancy between public and private employment is just fine.
    The many maintaining the few, while claiming this is middle class. Does that sound like worker versus worker while the overlords look on?
    No, it sounds like an oligarchy. If it looks like a duck,quacks like a duck, etc., etc. You ARE the insitution of power sticking it to the rest of us.

  21. City Worker says:

    I don’t know who Eugene Debs is or what in the world teacher molestation has to do with any of this. But apparently what is holding the private sector back is not the corporate oligarchy but the union/city-government-worker oligarchy.
    That’s funny. The thought of City Workers wringing their hands together and bwuhahaha-ing while CEOs and private sector workers suffer.
    I can’t wait for the glorious times ahead when the Unions are defeated and private inductry workers can look smugly upon the city workers as we all are in the bread line together outside the walled city where the ruling elite lives.
    Because that is what you are looking for, right Gwennie? For unionized workers to be knocked down a peg… for us to all be together in our ration lines. For us to be united in our lack of good pay and government services.
    No, it’s not that private-sector workers deserve to have the pay & benefits that unionized workers currently enjoy, it’s that only the ruling class deserves to have them at all.
    I don’t see the reasoning behind this at all. Maybe it’s over my head; maybe I’m misunderstanding the other side of the argument; or maybe I’m just mad with my majestic Oligarchal city-union-derived Power.

  22. Gwennie says:

    City worker, what you keep missing is that you ARE a member of the ruling class, basically telling the rest of us to eat cake. By the way, that is a quote attributed to Marie Antoinette, since you slept through history classes growing up.
    There are 17,000 large businesses in the US (whose CEOs, I guess, are your definition of the “ruling class) and 27.2 million small businesses, that generate 80% of the net new jobs in the US.
    And the vast majority of these small businesses are NOT “Joe Plumber” netting more more than $250,000 a year in income.
    Where do you think these small businesses that employ over half of the US population will be able to find the money to fund pensions and health care equivalents to what you are getting from the city? Particularly in this economic climate?
    And since you obviously are spending your city employment time on the internet replying to this thread, why don’t you take the time to learn something about Eugene Debs, since he was the father of the labor unions in the US.
    You are not mad with your “Oligarchal city union derived power”, just ignorant and contemptuous of the middle class who are paying the bills.

  23. City Worker says:

    Yes. You have figured me out. Despite the fact that last year, at the age of 32, I cleared 40K for the first time in my life does not change the fact that i am a member of the ruling class oligarchy and I have contempt for the middle class. I also support the right of teachers to molest and have a disdain for history.
    Gwennie, just because you come off as a bitter “hater” who would rather see Union Workers lose what they have than believe that we all have the right to a living wage and health care, I’m not going to label you as such. I will try to be empathetic and realize that I haven’t walked in your shoes and don’t know where you are coming from. We can disagree, but our disagreement doesn’t give me enough reason to call you ignorant or question your values or judgments.
    You can judge me all that you wish to but all you and I have at issue here are opinions and if we are going to show disrespect to anyone whose opinions differ from our own there is not going to be a lot of respect in this world.

  24. gwennie says:

    You aren’t going to judge but you call me a “bitter hater”. Definition of ignorant: lacking knowledge or sophistication.
    And, how interesting that you used the net amount of $40,000 to downplay your salary, which means your gross was probably in the $65,000 gross range (25% federal tax, 9.3% State of California, 6% retirement, 1.7% Union dues).
    FYI, the median income in LA for people in your age group (25-34) is $43,518 gross, which means that you are making approximately 35% more than your peer group, while paying less into your retirement (and will get substantially more), with more holiday, vacation and sick days and top of the line medical care to boot.
    And, you are posting to this blog at 11:45 am and 3:33 PM during your working day, serving the city of LA.

  25. City Worker says:

    Gwennie, I said that you “come off” as a bitter hater. I stand by my statement, in that you are coming off that way from my perspective. However, I understand that what you can glean about a person based on comments on an electronic post is limited.
    You attack me for figures that I have provided voluntarily about my own salary but show ignorance yourself by deciding that the amount that I said that I made was the net amount. Not the case. My gross pay from last year puts me just below the median that you reported for my age group. How’s that for a member of the ruling class with contempt for the middle class?
    I shouldn’t be allowing you to drag me into this flame-war. I can see that all you are interested in doing is separating your plight from my bounty. The difference between our perspectives is that you think I am taking from you while I think that we are on the same team.
    Our comments are proof of the success of the divide and conquer mentality employed by the power structure of our country in both foreign affairs and with regards to the citizenry of this country.
    As to the fact that I am posting on company time: What can I say? It will come as no surprise to most that the City is a huge bureaucracy and that there is always room for improved efficiency. I happen to work for a division that is frustratingly under-utilized. Am I a hard worker? Yes, when utilized, I work hard. As I have expressed, I am grateful for what I have and believe that if one allows their work ethic to slip that this cavalier attitude will spill over into other aspects of one’s life.
    But why should I defend myself against the projections of others? I am always willing to try to come up with solutions, but when someone else decides that I am part of the problem it severely limits our creative potential to find solutions together.

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