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    Unions Attempt to Undermine San Diego’s Pension Reform Measure

    Unions Attempt to Undermine San Diego’s Pension Reform Measure

    I recently described how San Diego citizen activists helped pass public employee pension reform in San Diego, when we approved Proposition B in June of last year by an overwhelming majority.

    Of course, no conservative victory can go unchallenged. And, when conservatives win clearly, opponents head to the court system to reverse the results of a vote they don’t like.

    Such is the case with Proposition B.

    In fact, there was a pre-election challenge that was led by the San Diego Municipal Employees Association (MEA)to prevent the measure even being on the ballot. As an example of union tactics, a case was filed with the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) alleging that the City was required to bargain over Proposition B and so it shouldn’t go to a vote. Tim Yeung of the PERB blog reported on the first union failure:

    The superior court denied PERB’s request for injunctive relief, finding that the electorate should have the opportunity to vote on Proposition B. Subsequently, the superior court issued a stay of PERB’s proceedings until after the election.

    After passage of the measure, the unions went to PERB again to attempt to stop its implementation.  This act, too, was full of fail.

    PERB sued the city in Superior Court earlier this year to get the pension reform initiative removed from the June ballot and, after it was approved by two-thirds of the voters, tried to stop its implementation.

    The agency has, separately, commenced administrative proceedings that have not been resolved.

    According to the documents, a lawyer for the board filed for the dismissal on Monday.

    “The Superior Court lawsuit was a wasteful effort by this politically charged agency to deter pension reform initiatives in California,” San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. “PERB lost its motions because we demonstrated it had no legal justification.”

    Opponents of Proposition B — primarily labor unions that represent municipal workers — contended that the city erred by placing the measure on the ballot without consulting them. Goldsmith maintained that the meet-and-confer process with unions was not required until the city began to implement its provisions.

    The implementation process is taking place now.

    The City Council recently instituted an interim 401(k)-type plan to offer most new employees, who will not be enrolled in the debt-ridden pension system. The plan was developed in consultation with union officials.

    Negotiations are under way on a permanent retirement benefit.

    Other provisions of Proposition B will be negotiated with the unions later.

    Goldsmith indicates that more lawsuits filed by the unions are likely, as the implementation process continues.

    The importance of having taxpayer-sensitive judges on the courts cannot be overlooked. Here is a question for Legal Insurrection readers to ponder: During elections, how much research do you do on judges?

    One of the most important actions our group of activists in San Diego take is promoting a website that assesses the background and rulings of candidates, the California Judge Voter Guide.  There also is a wealth of information on California judges at Judgepedia.

    A court win over unions is a sign that slowly, the network of information promoted by citizen organizations is having a positive effect — even in my crazy state!


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    Milwaukee | January 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    The advice I got was this: since we have a liberal Governor in Colorado right now, vote to keep all judges in. If a good conservative was voted out, the liberal Governor would replace him with a liberal. Conversely, if we had a conservative Governor we should to vote them all out. The Governor could then find more conservative judges as replacements.

    The unions are truly short-sighted.

    BarbaraS | January 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    The brits are a strange breed. Before WWII many, many of them said they would not fight for their country. They did not believe in war; nevermind war was being forced on them. For some reason they are influenced by communism in its various forms. If not that, they are certainly influenced by socialism. They are pacifists, they say. Does that mean they will lay down and let their enemies walk on them? Maybe the ones who refused to fight did just that. Luckily for them enough patriots answered the call to defend the country.

    Back in the 70s and 80s and 90s Time magazine defended the Palestinians in many sob stories. I read Time at that time and found myself sympathizing with this riffraff. I thought maybe they had a point. Then one day I woke up and remembered the history of all this farce. The media, including Time, worked hard to change our perception of Israel and, unfortunately, they succeeded with many. We have to face the fact that the media and our government are allied with not only the Palestinians but with other muslim organizations to the detrement of our country. If anyone doubts this they should remember the alliance of Hitler (a socialist cum communist) with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem before and during WWII. Now we have obama allied with the muslim brotherhoos and more than likely al quaeda allied also and people are still blind to this fact.

    star1701gazer | January 25, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I have a question for the group. How does this affect contract law, when a party can basically invalidate a good-faith negotiated contract by going to court when one side decides it no longer likes the terms of the agreement? Doesn’t that pretty much make all contracts un-enforceable? While I agree that some of the benefits seem ridiculous when compared to private sector benefits, remember that two parties sat down at a negotiating table and agreed to these. Why is this not being handled as most contract disputes, by being renegotiated at the end of the contract term? I believe the judge over-stepped in this case, and should have advised the parties to renegotiate the contract, either when it expires or at an earlier date (if allowed by provisions of the contract). Hold elected officials accountable for agreeing to these contracts.

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