A talking point is no longer a selling point for the city’s white collar labor union.

Accused of stalling in negotiations to develop an outsourcing plan, Michael Zucchet, head of the Municipal Employees Association, recently told the City Council that his union had years ago proposed using the outsourcing guide developed by the county of San Diego. The Mayor’s Office rejected that overture back then, saying it didn’t want to waste the time and effort it had put into crafting its own plan.

Now with labor negotiations deadlocked again, several city officials had asked Zucchet if the county plan was still good for the outsourcing program known as “managed competition.”

It isn’t, Zucchet told the mayor and City Council in an e-mail last week. Zucchet gave the same reasons the Mayor’s Office used before: they’ve put too much work into the program that remains stalled.

He wrote:

MEA is NOT proposing (nor is MEA willing to agree) to simply “go with the County guide” today. As was discussed at the impasse hearing, MEA did offer up the County guide TWO YEARS AGO as a negotiating position. We did that not because we thought it was perfect, but because we thought it was adequate and we knew that its adoption would save us from years of costly negotiations that would probably result in about the same caliber of product …

My point in bringing up our previous offer of the County guide at Tuesday’s impasse hearing was simply to respond to those City officials and certain media outlets trying to portray MEA as stonewalling “the will of the voters” as it relates to managed competition for the last several years. That is demonstrably false in many ways, but we think the most compelling fact debunking that rhetoric is our previous offer to essentially end this process with the County guide two years ago, only to be rebuffed by the City. 

Here’s Zucchet’s full e-mail.


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