The lines are drawn on Santa Clara Street in San Jose.
One one side, the mayor and his fiscal reform proposals.
On the other, labor interests fighting for what they call blue collar worker benefits.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed will ask the city council to officially declare that the city is in a fiscal and public safety emergency
In an email that went out Tuesday morning, the mayor's spokeswoman, Michelle McGuirk said, "Declaring an emergency doesn't give the City extraordinary powers, but it does recognize the city's inherent power and responsibility to protect its people in the event of an emergency".
San Jose is mired in a $115 million budget shortfall, with hundreds of city employees facing layoffs, including police and firefighters.
The proposal raises the retirement age for sworn public safety officers to 60.
The retirement for non sworn employees would be 65.
The city would also eliminate the sick leave-payout employees now enjoy, and it would amend retiree health care plans.
But critics contend the mayor has declared war on labor, and they plan to fight to keep many of the benefits they've earned over the years.
The changes proposed by the mayor require changes to the city charter, so the final decision will be left up to the voters.
City negotiators plan to meet with the various bargaining units over the next few weeks to hammer out the ballot language for a possible vote in November.