San Jose, Unions May Yet Negotiate Pensions

City Hall reverses course, decides to explore pension reform with city unions.

By Damian Trujillo
|  Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011  |  Updated 11:15 AM PDT
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San Jose, Unions May Yet Negotiate Pensions

baycitizen.org

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed read a statement reversing the city's stance on pension reform negotiations -- following a three-hour closed session.

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It looks like parking an RV in front of San Jose City Hall may have worked.

On Monday, three city unions in San Jose symbolically parked the RV, telling city leaders to walk 150 steps across the street, encouraing them to negotiate pension reform with them.

On Friday, city leaders told the unions the pension talks would be put on hold while they negotiate language for a pension reform measure on the November ballot.

But the unions representing 600 city workers insisted they want to talk about these reforms now, so they parked the RV, telling the city they can talk at any time in the RV.

On Tuesday, the city changed course.

Mayoral spokeswoman, Michelle McGuirk, forwarded NBC Bay Area the mayor's comments in his report after the closed session of Tuesday's city council meeting.

The Mayor Chuck Reed reportedly said, "We have heard the concerns from the bargaining units regarding timelines and processes related to retirement reform."

In a statement,  McGuirk also said, "The City Council has provided staff direction to work with the bargaining units on potentially giving more time to the process for the good of the City and to provide capacity to talk about both issues together:  the potential ballot measure and negotiations over broader retirement reform issues."

This morning, a spokesman for the unions told NBC Bay Area, ""We are ready, willing and able to talk and supportive of pension reform," said Tom Saggau, Local 21 spokesperson.

The move also means pension reform might not make it on the November ballot.

Saggau said, "Moving the November date is recognition that a negotiated settlement is better than a legal battle. I think they've finally seen a little bit of the light -- let's see if we can work this out."

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