Hearing Scheduled for Pension Debate

Labor activists who oppose a pension reform ballot measure will fight the initiative in court

By Lauren Steussy and May Tjoa
|  Monday, Feb 20, 2012  |  Updated 2:07 PM PDT
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Hearing Scheduled for Pension Debate

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A court hearing is set for Tuesday over a pension reform plan for San Diego city employees.

The proposed measure would end guaranteed pensions for new city hires, and instead provide a 401k for everyone, except police. It may also put a five-year cap on pensionable pay for city workers.

Labor unions are trying to block it from appearing on the June ballot. Last week, local labor unions teamed up with the state’s Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) to file an official complaint.

They say Mayor Jerry Sanders and the city committed unfair labor practices in failing to negotiate in good faith before putting the initiative on the ballot.

Mayor Jerry Sanders helped to develop and promote the pension plan as a private citizen – not as mayor. Mayoral candidate and City Councilman Carl DeMaio has championed the plan for several months now.

The city says it is trying to save upwards of $1.2 billion over the next 30 years on pension payouts. However critics of the plan say it won't save as much as advocates say it will.

Labor unions see Tuesday's hearing as a victory against the pension plan they oppose.

"We would argue that it's a very monumental step that the State of California has found that Mayor Jerry Sanders, and therefore the city of San Diego," said Michael Zucchet, general manager of the Municipal Employees Association in an interview last week.

For more election coverage, visit our Decision 2012 page for mayoral candidate bios and related stories.
 

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