Jeff Adachi Says Proposition B Would Have Passed in Wisconsin

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Wisconsin: Fertile ground for pension reform?
Public Defender Jeff Adachi is firing back against local labor leaders and legislators trying to draw a link between his pension-reform efforts in San Francisco and the battle over the future of organized labor that is playing out in Wisconsin.

Adachi, a Democrat, says that efforts to compare him to Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin -- including bizarre speculations that he is somehow connected to the Tea Party movement -- are "red-baiting" intended to obscure a serious conversation about the financial problems posed by current pension and health-care costs for city employees.

Exhibit A in his argument is a point he says his critics have ignored -- the fact that public employees in Wisconsin have already agreed to financial concessions similar to those Adachi is advocating.

"If we were in Wisconsin, the workers there would have agreed to the changes that Prop. B would have made," Adachi says. "The labor movement in Wisconsin is much more realistic and practical in dealing with its issues there."

Is he right? On pensions, it appears so.

Adachi -- who is crafting a new ballot measure that he calls "Son of B" -- is now calling for city workers to bear half the cost of their pension plans. Walker's budget plan calls for the same thing, and labor leaders in Wisconsin have said they're willing to agree.

The comparison gets tricky, however, when it comes to health care costs. The original Prop. B called for the city to contribute to the Health Service System at a rate pegged to the average amount paid by other populous counties, while slashing the amounts the city would pay for workers' family members. Walker has asked (and, again, workers have agreed) that state employees pay about 12 percent of their own health care premiums.

The big difference between his plan and Walker's, Adachi says, is that he has never called for any restriction of collective-bargaining rights. Such restrictions are the most controversial part of Walker's plan, and are the principal reason that labor leaders and Democratic legislators in Wisconsin are fiercely resisting his proposal.

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JJ
JJ

What is it with Adachi and families? Why does he continue to try and place the burden of the cost of healthcare solely on the backs of families? Why does he continue to single out dependant healthcare? As a single parent, his proposal would devastate both me and my child. To take more cuts than I already have and then add on his proposed contribution for dependant health care, well that would be enough to devastate any family. Further, I understand the costs of healthcare should be going down starting in 2014 when Obama's plan kicks in. San Francisco City workers have been giving back and giving back for years now--and will continue to do so as needed. The recent study from UC Berkeley comparing public and private jobs showed those in public are paid less and are higher educated than in private--but with benefits we are about the same. This is being ignored as they now want to take away the benefits. What really gets me is that Adachi's proposals are anti-family and anti-family working in San Francisco.

njudah
njudah

All this ruckus about "health care" and "pensions" provided by employers makes one wonder if a single payer health care system and a state - run pension plan would be preferable to putting the onus of said benefits on employers, public or private.

Canadian gov't agencies don't pay for "employee benefits" and their labor costs are much lower than ours. Compare Muni's labor cost to say, Toronto. Now, naturally a national health care state run plan has plenty of merits and demerits, and no it ain't free, but why should ANY employer, public or private be in the "benefits" business at all? Why should workers worry about losing a job AND losing their health care too? Linking the two is foolish!

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

The only way single-payer health care (or as I prefer to call it, Medicare for everyone) would ever get passed in our current political climate is if it had the stipulation that poor people were excluded.

RBorBust
RBorBust

Why is the comparison "tricky for health care" - it is the same concept- both required workers to double their current contributions under their respective payment plans? Adachi's plan was workers going from paying 25% to 50% for dependent health care premiums (omitting those without dependents) and in Wisconsin, the workers agreed to increase their total share of premiums from 6% to 12.6%. The absolute dollars will differ but the concept is the same. Wisky Workers also agreed to increase pension contributions 5 percentage points while Adachi increase was 2.5% for police and fire and 1.5% for everyone else.

The point is, although the SF labor community had a conniption over Adachi's reforms, they were modest and reasonable particularly in light of what Wisconsin agreed to, and even stronger reforms are required now. Unfortunately 57% of the SF community swallowed the union proganda whole...

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