International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Rich Roberts, P.I.O.
More on California Pensions
LA Union President Challenges
Schwarzenegger to debate
Write a letter to Arnold and tell him his plan is flawed.
Police Union Calls Schwarzenegger Plan
California Governor Schwarzenegger has come under fire by the
International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO (IUPA) for advocating
sweeping changes in the public employees retirement system that, according
to union officials, would be devastating to public employees, especially law
enforcement officers. According to sources in California, the Governor has
been on a non-stop fund raising campaign to gather over $50 million dollars
to put his initiative on the ballot employing thousands of paid signature
IUPA Officials expressed fears that his actions point to an effort to
export what they call his "ill conceived" plan throughout the nation.
The Governor has publicly proclaimed that, if passed, this "reform" will not
stop in California and that he is attempting to set a trend for the country.
The union's fears were confirmed by Schwarzenegger's recent trips to the east
coast to raise money for his initiative. He boasted that he called "pension
reform", would sweep across the country
His own Attorney General Bill Lockyer conceded that the plan eliminate
death benefits for public employees in a state that usually leads the nation
in the number of officers killed in the line of duty.
Les Robbins, a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sergeant and long
time member of the Los Angeles County Employees' Retirement Association, who is
rallying officers to oppose the Governor, pointed out that L.A. County
Sheriff Lee Baca appeared at a press conference and said that the measure is
"seriously flawed" and took serious exception with the Governor's denial
that this would eliminate death and disability benefits for police officers,
firefighters, and their beneficiaries.
Sam A. Cabral, President of the IUPA and a veteran police officer,
castigated Schwartznegger saying, "Governor Schwartzneggar dishonors the men and
women who put their lives on the line every day to protect the American public.
He cynically pushes a plan that will deny disability benefits to those terribly
injured in the line of duty, and would cruelly deny support for the spouses and
children of brave officers who die protecting their fellow
citizens. To tout such a plan as reform is unconscionable."
In opposing Schwartznegger, the IUPA has launched a letter writing
campaign calling on the presidents of all of their more than 500 local
unions throughout the country to write Schwarzneggar in protest and to add
support to the efforts of California law enforcement officers who are
adamantly opposed to his plans. IUPA locals are also urged to keep close
watch on public officials in their own states to ensure that none give
credence to the California proposal and consider such a move in their own
According to Cabral, the plan would not only do severe damage to the
security of officers and their families, but discourage young people from
seeking careers in public safety. "The men and women who keep our cities,
counties, and states safe will have no incentive to place themselves in
harms way if they do not believe that they and their families will face
financial hardships when they are injured or killed."
Rhetorically addressing the Governor he said, " How long do you think
your state or this nation can survive if the already thin blue line grows
even thinner because of your misguided policies."
The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) recently
published a fact sheet with a number of major criticisms based on serious
flaws in the Swarsenneger plan. Among them, they state that the plan would
not solve the state's fiscal problems, but in essence shift the burden to
other programs including social security.
The report also pointed out that the plan is more expensive. The
current plan known as a Defined Benefit plan costs only 18 cents per hundred
dollars to administer while the proposed plan called a Defined Contribution
plan will cost $1.35 per hundred dollars to administer.
Schwarzenegger's proposal would cost seven and a half times more than
the current plan while drastically reducing critical benefits to the people
who earned them. The report cited Nebraska as a state that terminated their
Defined Contribution plan because of inferior returns and what they called
"...poor active participation by employers."
Echoing Cabral's remarks about the demoralizing effect such a plan
would have on law enforcement personnel, the CalPERS report states that
Defined Contribution plans will cause a deterioration in public service and
will hamper recruitment and retention and make the state attract less
capable, not more capable (personnel).
With a prime component the elimination of death and disability
benefits, Cabral said it "...eliminates one of the core reasons people seek
employment in the police and fire services fields, (and) will create a two
tiered system to the detriment of the men and women who keep your cities and
state safe often sacrificing their very lives in the process. "
Cabral pointed out that in an era when public safety personnel are
being tasked with more duties and responsibilities related to homeland
security, cutting their benefits sends a very clear and negative message to
both those who serve and those who are contemplating public service. He
said, "It is clearly the wrong message to send in such critical times."
Robert Baker, President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League,
one of the strongest critics of the Schwarzenegger plan, is rallying
California law enforcement personnel to defeat the ballot measure. He has
told officers that, "The Schwarzenegger pension initiative will cause
irrevocable harm to law enforcement. The plan viciously attacks civil
servants, with law enforcement taking the significant financial blow."
Calling Schwarzenegger "callous", Baker pointed to a recent incident
where the Governor's response to critics was that officers should pay for
their own private insurance to compensate for the proposed budget cuts.
Baker said, "He is not satisfied with taking away the financial security
promised for putting our lives on the line, he now wants us to foot the bill.
Death and disability benefits are a moral obligation of society in return for
asking us to take risks to our lives and health, in California and every state."
Calling of officers in California to actively oppose the ballot
initiative Baker said, "We have a moral obligation to those men and women
who will enter this profession for decades and decades to come."
Originally chartered in 1979, the International Union of Police
Associations, AFL-CIO is the only AFL-CIO chartered labor union that
exclusively represents law enforcement personnel. The more than 120,000
(one out of every four eligible) represented by the I.U.P.A. are all full time
employees of law enforcement agencies ranging from line officers up to first
line supervisors as well as civilian employees. The I.U.P.A.'s mission is to
protect and advance officers' wages, benefits, and work conditions. Membership
includes officers from over 500 agencies throughout the United States and in the
Caribbean and Canada.