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Monday, April 13, 2009 | Regarding “Battle over Retiree Health Care Looms in Contract Talks” by Rani Gupta, as much as I appreciate voiceofsandiego.org‘s ongoing discussions of the various components of and negotiations regarding the city’s budget obligations and shortfalls, I found Rani’s article to continue the bias seen in so many articles about this topic. They imply that the city’s workers and their negotiated compensation are nothing but burdens and problems, and that eliminating them would bring nothing but benefits — would “vaporize” a significant chunk of the city’s current budget deficit, as she put it.
Rani mentions that the city agreed to institute a defined benefit retiree health plan in exchange for acceptance of the city’s plan to withdraw from Social Security, but she doesn’t provide any facts about what the city gained by opting out of the SSI contributions and what benefits employees consequently won’t receive from SSI when they retire. That perspective would have made her article a more complete discussion of the trade-offs that budget and labor negotiations always require of the city and its employees, and allow comparisons between city employee compensation and private-sector employee compensation.