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Brown Blinks On Transit Worker Pensions - For Now

California Governor Jerry Brown
Officer Phil
California Governor Jerry Brown

The Obama administration has forced California Governor Jerry Brown to retreat from the pension law he pushed so hard last year - at least for the short term.

Brown announced on Wednesday that he'll back legislation to temporarily exempt about 20,000 local transit agency employees from the tougher pension rules. Otherwise, the U.S. Department of Labor would have blocked the transit agencies from receiving $1.5 billion in federal grants.

The Labor Department said California's new pension law violates a federal law that says transit workers must be allowed to bargain collectively for contract changes in order for agencies to receive the grants.

Brown said the state law does allow collective bargaining, and he plans to fight the Labor Department's decision in court. But he's agreed to exempt the transit workers in the meantime so the federal grants can go through.