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Unions Score Point In Prop. B Fight

Aired 6/19/12 on KPBS News.

The legal wrangling over San Diego’s Prop. B continues. The city’s been ordered to take part in a hearing with the state’s Public Employment Relations Board.

— California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled San Diego must go through an administrative process with the Public Employment Relations Board, or PERB. Before the June primary, San Diego’s white-collar union filed a complaint with PERB over Mayor Jerry Sanders’ role in campaigning for Proposition B.

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Proposition B Rulling

Proposition B Rulling

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Former Mayor Jerry Sanders and other supporters of Proposition B to change city pensions.
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Above: Former Mayor Jerry Sanders and other supporters of Proposition B to change city pensions.

The Municipal Employees Association contends Sanders used his role as mayor to promote the measure, which the MEA said violates labor laws. Proposition B eliminates pensions for most new hires and instead offers them a 401 (k) plan. It also seeks to implement a five-year pay freeze on current employees.

MEA General Manager Mike Zucchet said the city could have saved time if it had agreed to going through the PERB process in the spring instead of asking courts to delay it.

‘It’s the same city that has been doing a lot of chest thumping about how they need to be aggressive in implementing Proposition B,” he said. “But it would have been nice to have this process already behind us. Instead it’s already beginning.”

Zucchet said it’s unclear what this will ultimately mean for Proposition B, which voters overwhelmingly passed.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said he believes the case will end up right back at the Court of Appeal. He said you just have to look at the board’s actions to see whose side it’s on.

“They filed a lawsuit seeking a court order removing Proposition B from the ballot,” he said. “They went so far as that. They are adamant.”

Goldsmith said he will continue to work toward implementing Proposition B while the legal fight plays out. Zucchet said his union would negotiate when it sees an implementation plan from the city.

The Court of Appeal has also dismissed a request by the city to consolidate all five claims currently pending against Proposition B.

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