The City Council’s push to increase the minimum wage for all workers in the city of San Diego has triggered labor negotiations at City Hall.

An increase in the minimum wage would affect only a very small number of city employees but raising their pay will essentially violate the five-year labor agreements provoked by the pension reform effort in 2012.

City salary data shows some of the city’s low-level aides and student workers are among the few groups likely to benefit from the revised recommendation. Gloria’s initial $13.09 proposal would’ve affected at least about 50 city workers.

Not that many city workers would be affected under the revised $11.50 proposal City Council President Todd Gloria unveiled this week.

But those low numbers don’t stop bureaucratic requirements activated by any attempt to increase city workers’ salaries.

Proposition B in 2012 inspired five-year labor deals with city employee unions that incorporate a five-year freeze on the portion of the city workers’ salaries that’s factored into the pension payouts they receive post-retirement.

Making any salary changes now requires support from six of the nine City Council members, which looks pretty likely with the current Democratic majority.

Before they can vote, though, the city must analyze how a benefit or compensation increase will affect pension costs.

Earlier this month, the city’s pension system projected the initial $13.09 proposal would add about $50,000 in annual city payroll costs. It assumed the yearly bill for its pension liabilities would increase by about $25,000.

The City Council called for another review this week after Gloria unveiled his less ambitious proposal.

A spokeswoman for the city’s pension system said the new recommendation means fewer employees will be directly affected by the measure, so related pension costs would now “most likely be immaterial.”

The city has yet to detail the exact number of employees who would receive a raise if the minimum wage hike is approved.

But even if there are only a few, Prop. B and the state’s collective bargaining law ensure city unions get a chance to weigh in.

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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