San Jose Unions Wage War on Pension Reform

Union lawyers asked for an injunction on Measure B, which soared to victory with an almost 70-percent win.

By Bob Redell and Lisa Fernandez
|  Wednesday, Jun 6, 2012  |  Updated 8:31 PM PDT
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Today union leaders in San Jose say the election may be over, but the battle is far from over. The vote is a major victory for the SJ Mayor, but a major blow to city employee unions.

Today union leaders in San Jose say the election may be over, but the battle is far from over. The vote is a major victory for the SJ Mayor, but a major blow to city employee unions.

In a widely expected move, the San Jose police officers and firefighters unions filed two lawsuits Wednesday showing how upset they were with a pension-reform bill passing Tuesday night.

The two suits, filed separately by the police (PDF) and fire  (PDF) unions, follows a separate federal lawsuit  (PDF) filed by the city of San Jose in U.S. District Court, claiming that the city has the right to "create and amed" city retirement plans.

Despite the three suits and a contentious election, both sides agreed that nothing will be done until a court hearing on June 19.

Union lawyers asked for an injunction on Measure B, which soared to victory with an almost 70-percent win Tuesday night.

San Jose Police Officers' Association President Jim Unland said the lawsuit argues that the measure violates employees' "vested rights" to their pensions. He cited other court rulings that have restricted government employers from cutting back their workers' retirement plans without offering a comparable benefit in return.

Measure B's biggest backer, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has been arguing for pension reform to help close the city's budget deficit. He said Measure B would save the city $25 million in its first year -- enough to begin hiring back police and firefighters, and reinstating libraries and communities. On Wednesday, Reed said he was confident the measure would hold up to litigation.

A hearing is expected in two to four weeks, but experts say that the legal fight could drag on for months, if not years.

To see a report on Measure B passing, watch the video below.
 

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

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