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Labor union against settling pension settlement via mediation

The City of San Diego's white collar labor union shows little sign of agreeing to mediation with the city on the question of rolling back pension benefits. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The Metropolitan Employees Association has reacted to a call from Mayor Sanders and city attorney Mike Aguirre for a mediated settlement. The MEA has an alternative suggestion, that instead of trying to roll back benefits, the city should focus on paying down the pension deficit.

MEA President Judie Italiano says the union doesn't have the authority to bargain away constitutionally protected benefits without the consent of the membership.

Italiano: "But if we're talking about going into this with Aguirre still standing on his platform that all benefits are illegal that were granted in 96 and 2002, they're never going to give that approval."

MEA attorney Ann Smith has written to the mayor saying she would prefer to settle the matter in court, rather than in what she calls a circus at the city.

Mayor Sanders says a court could take six years to settle the question of whether benefits were illegally granted and therefore could be rolled back. Alison St John KPBS News.

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