Kyle Olson
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pension reform bill Wednesday which, among other things, increases the retirement age for future public employees, limits post-retirement employment for all employees and ends the purchasing of additional service credit time for all employees, according to California Federation of Teachers Legislative Representative Dolores Sanchez.

The changes are probably necessary, given the fact that the state’s pension system is on the brink of insolvency. But the reforms are not sitting well with union activists.

Oakland teacher Ana Turetsky predicts “civil unrest” lies ahead, due to the pension changes:

“This is going to have a severe effect on the future lives of the working class and middle class retirees,” Turetsky wrote in an email obtained by “Parts of the bill affect current retirees. In Brown's prior speeches, he has referred to very high earner retirees, not the low or middle income retirees, completely ignoring the impact this will have on those populations.

“For those of us who have some social security, we will see further reduction of our retirement benefit amounts due to the combination of STRS and Social Security. Brown can glory in the deficit budget cuts he has made, but he is contributing to the ever-widening gap of the haves and have nots. I am afraid that in the years to come, we will see increased poverty, fewer social services, and greater civil unrest as people get more and more desperate.”

So retired government employees are going to engage in “civil unrest” – rioting – because their pension may decrease a bit? What about the taxpayers who share the burden of this enormous cost? Should they riot too?

This type of absurd response only illustrates the self-centered attitude of many in government sector labor unions. Never mind we’re experiencing hard times and everyone needs to sacrifice a little to help make ends meet. State employees and their unions want what they want, and they’re willing to get ugly, or make ugly threats, to achieve their goals.

Kyle Olson

Kyle is founder of Education Action Group and, a news service dedicated to education reform and school spending research, reporting, analysis and commentary.

He is co-author of Glenn Beck’s “Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education,” available at

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