Everything about the ongoing mayor-union contract dispute is still disputed, down to who should be making the first move.

While a number of union officials say the ball’s in the mayor’s court, Council President Scott Peters today said it was up to the unions to make the first move.

Another issue is deadlines. According to mayoral spokesman Fred Sainz, the unions need to unite around a single pension proposal tonight, or else the mayor will soon attempt to take his pension plan — the details of which he has not yet announced — to voters in November.

Previous talks between City Hall and the unions involved separate negotiations for three different contracts, but because the mayor wants to get going on his pension initiative they must unite under a single pension plan, Sainz said. Pensions for non-public safety employees in San Diego are traditionally enforced across the board.

“The mayor needs to move forward with a proposal for the council to put on the ballot,” Sainz said. “Unless there is substantial amount of movement on this, immediately, the mayor intends to move forward and ask the council to place his pension proposal on the ballot.”

San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council Political Director Evan McLaughlin said the Mayor’s Office was setting an informal deadline for political show head of the June primary.

“The mayor’s rushing this with his eye on June 3rd,” McLaughlin said. “If he actually wanted to come to agreement on the comprehensive pension reform, he would have included employees in the process, he would have included the City Council sometime before Monday on his proposal, and he didn’t.”

Peters also said today that he would like to see the unions coalesce around one pension proposal.

“We could agree on one if we had a proposal from the mayor, but it is incumbent on the mayor to make a proposal first,” McLaughlin said. “The unions do not bargain with each other, the unions bargain with the city.”

Yesterday, Local 127 President Joan Raymond said 127 would not endorse the alternative pension plan put forward by the Municipal Employees Association, which Mayor Sanders adopted at the 11th hour during Monday’s impasse hearing in front of City Council. Sanders has not yet clarified whether he still endorses MEA’s proposal and will seek to place it on the November ballot if negotiations do not resume.

“We wouldn’t agree on [MEA’s] pension plan because what it would do is after working for 30 years, one of our blue collar workers who makes an average salary of 42,000 dollars would be retiring for only 18,000 dollars per year,” Raymond said. “And as you know you can’t live in … San Diego and have a family with 18,000 dollars a year.”

But future agreement may be on the horizon. Raymond also said Local 127 is “willing to even move more” on their own pension plan “if necessary,” while Italiano said “We’re not married to our plan .. it doesn’t have to be our plan but it has to contain some of the same components.”


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