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SEIU Worker Sought Fake Names To Sabotage LA Pension Switch

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A former Los Angeles mayor leading an effort to change pensions plans for newly-hired public employees says he has evidence that a low-level union member is behind an alleged illegal counter-campaign.

KNX 1070′s Bill Polish reports Richard Riordan is hoping to amass enough signatures to put a plan to transition newly-hired city workers away from taxpayer-guaranteed pensions and towards 401(k)-style accounts before voters in May.


According to an email obtained and released by Riordan, an employee with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 721 sent out an email calling on members to sign Riordan’s petition with fake names and addresses, which would then undermine the petition.

SEIU Local 721 organizer Paul Kim sent the email to several dozen members of the union, but an SEIU spokesman condemned his actions in a statement and said Kim has been disciplined.

Riordan, whose petition needs 265,000 valid signatures to get the proposal on the city ballot next year, said a similar plan in San Diego was sabotaged.

“[They would] give their own address, their own name, but sign several petitions,” Riordan said. “That is really bad, because when they count signatures, and they find more than one from the same address, same person, that will eliminate like 11,000 people from the count.”

“It’s a brilliant way to poison it if you’re the devil,” he added.

The proposal – which would require workers to contribute more of their salaries toward retirement plans – would apply to police and firefighters as well as Department of Water and Power employees, whose plans have created an estimated $183 million pension burden for the DWP.

An attorney for Riordan has asked the District Attorney’s Office to pursue a criminal investigation of the matter.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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