Union sues San Jose to block pension reform measure

Labor leaders say new law is unconstitutional by allowing city to ignore employee contracts

Union representatives announced Wednesday that they have filed lawsuits against the city of San Jose to contest the legality of pension reform Measure B, which voters passed with 70% approval Tuesday night, according to semi-final results.

Measure B's approval, a victory for staunch supporter San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, prompted representatives of city employees to file two

lawsuits in state court Wednesday morning.

Among the changes contained in Measure B, new employees would pay 50 percent of pension costs, while current employees would be given the option to choose a lower-cost plan or pay more for their current one.

The measure would also give the City Council the right to temporarily suspend retiree cost-of-living adjustments during fiscal emergencies and would require voter approval for any future increases in retirement benefits.

Reed has said the city's retirement costs have tripled in the last decade and now cost the city $245 million per year.

Some union leaders and lawyers representing city employees say Measure B is unconstitutional because it allows the city to walk away from a

contract it made with employees.

Attorney Gregg Adam also filed a lawsuit Wednesday morning on behalf of about 1,065 current San Jose police employees.

In a statement Wednesday, Reed said he disagreed with union representatives, and that "Measure B was carefully crafted to follow California Law."

Reed went on to cite the California Constitution, which gives charter cities like San Jose the authority to follow their charters regarding

compensation for city employees.

The two lawsuits filed by unions Wednesday morning come as no surprise. Union leaders had said they would contest if voters approved the

measure, according to union consultant Tom Saggau, and the law was written to give time for such debate before going into effect in July of next year, according to Michelle McGurk, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office.

According to McGurk, the city also filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday night seeking validation of Measure B.

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 7, 2012 at 8:35 am

Of course the lawyers will sue. This reforms needs to happen in every city and for every public employee job. The passage of 3% at 50 is the worst thing to ever happen to taxpayers. Cops and firefighters retire at age 50 with 90% or more of their final earnings for life. They get raises every year. They get free health insurance for life. The taxpayers get raped.
The San Jose measure also addresses the sham disability retirements. Cops and firefighters start working toward that disability from day one on the job. They retire with full pensions that are tax free for life. Once the disability has been granted it can never be challenged even when proven to be fraud. (Yeah, you know who you are, retired with a "bad back", get your pay tax free and play golf every day right here in P-Town). The taxpayers have had enough.
Time for reforming the Pleasanton pensions as well. These people retire young and go to work full time somewhere else, all the time collecting the full taxpayer funded pensions. Nothing less than theft.

Like this comment
Posted by Angry taxpayer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2012 at 11:17 am

Isn't it interesting the guys can't stand tall, display some degree of character and honor the wishes of the voters....the will of the people ! ! ! ! ! ! amazing and sad
I guess they plan on selling their homes by retirement day, knowing they would be shamed going out in their neighborhoods living loose and large at the age of 50, while their neighbors are either UNemployed AT 50 and WITHOUT ANY PENSION OR SOC SEC, or still working at age 65 because they have NO pension.
The personal greed and sense of entitlement is unbelievable....quite willing to sacrifice schools, to squeeze their neighbors,flipping off the majority of their neighbors and voters. Maybe they plan on slinking out of night during the night.

Like this comment
Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 7, 2012 at 11:35 am

Wheres George Wallace when you need him. I'm really really angry. Let's bring Rick Scott in and try to remove the unions from the voting rolls. Show some backbone. Stand tall. Unions don't deserve to live. They are a bain to our existance. Only corporations should have validity. We should be United States of Privite Enterprize Free Capitalist Corporations.

Like this comment
Posted by Rip off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm

How can someone with a "Bad Back" play golf even once a week, much less every day?

So how many police chiefs is Pleasanton paying for simultaneously now?

Like this comment
Posted by Rip off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Oh yes, and it is amazing how the rest of Pleasanton has to work while the rest of these young city retirees can wile away the days and weeks motorcycling around the country....including those with 'bad backs' according to Web Link

"More often the rides begin in Pleasanton with several friends, who include retired police chief Mike Fraser, retired fire chief Bill Cody, retired deputy fire chief Jeff Zolfarelli, and others."

Like this comment
Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm

For Rip Off -- just to be clear about my post, the retired firefighter did not work for Pleasanton, just lives and plays golf here. He worked for San Jose. Retired at 50, full disability, no income taxes ever and that "bad back" does not seem to cause him any problems these days.
People like that give the whole system a bad name. We need to stop the abuse and it needs to happen now.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm

As more and more municipalities face bankruptcy, pension reform becomes the obvious move. You can't expect to last long if you kill the goose that lays the eggs.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 7, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I agree with the troll also named Steve, except for his constant spelling and grammatical errors.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm

p.s. I'd correct the troll's spelling and grammatical errers but I don't no how. George Wallace was my hero. And David Duke rocks!@!

Like this comment
Posted by Rip off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Landslide victories on ballot measures to cut pension costs is a victory for all citizens!!!

In San Jose, nearly 70% of voters Tuesday approved a plan that gives workers the choice between increasing their pension contribution to 13% of their pay, currently 5% to 11%, or switching to a lower-cost plan with reduced benefits.

In San Diego, where pension cuts already have been implemented, voters opted to eliminate pensions for new workers and instead has them switch to a 401(k) program. It also removes elected leaders' ability to improve retirement packages without a popular vote.


Like this comment
Posted by Truth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2012 at 11:45 am

Wahhwaaaawaaaa. Get a new hobby you lazy pukes.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Any policy that takes money from middle class workers and puts it back into the hands of owners, bartenders, and other people who desert a good life is a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

Like this comment
Posted by Angry taxpayer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Steve, it is right and good that middle-class TAXPAYERS have the final word on what they pay their employEES !!!
I use to be quite happy with Pleasanton VOLUNTEER firemen..... they could still handle our TWO story town quite well...and we didn't pay ANY retirement ! ! ONLY FOOLS would set up a program to pay their employees MORE than we, ourselves, earned. ANY IDIOT should have been able to see that would be UNsustainable !! again putting faith in electeds was foolish,..but it got them REelected for that moment in time. Appropriate at THIS moment in time, to now clean house of those who sell out or have sold out TAXPAYERS. BIG MISTAKE ! !

Like this comment
Posted by To Angry
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm

The FD is grossly overcompensated in every city in this state.

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