Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Negotiated Settlement

Remember back in January when the City Attorney wrote a letter to all of the labor groups in San Diego and asked to meet so he could, "engage in mediated settlement negotiations regarding pending lawsuits and disputed issues." He went on to say, "This should not be confused with annual labor negotiations under the Myers-Milias-Brown Act."

The other day it was revealed a meeting took place with a mediator, the City Attorney and the Labor Groups and after discussions and a private meeting with the City Attorney, the mediator said the two sides were so far apart there was NO hope of reaching agreement and his services would not be useful. This leaves us to speculate to the reasons the two sides were so far apart.

My belief is the suggestion to "engage in mediated settlement negotiations" was simply a political play by a City Attorney who is no different than the one he beat out for the job. Remember when shortly after being elected, Aguirre called a meeting of all labor groups and said if all the groups agreed to his changes to the retirement benefits there would be 600 million dollars on the table for negotiations? There WAS NO REAL intent on reaching an agreement then or now. The initial letter signaled the intent of the so called negotiations. First there were items of a high priority for ALL of the Labor Groups that were "OFF LIMITS." There would be no discussion or negotiations regarding Retiree Medical. Who is he kidding?

Now that the so called "Mediated Negotiations" are in the toilet where they belong, what is next? Will those responsible for setting policy in this city step up to the plate and enter into legitimate, good faith negotiations with these same Labor Groups? Will the City Council members sit back while one of their own furthers his own agenda by paying for signatures to secure a place on the ballot for HIS "reforms" for everything he views as wrong with employee wages and benefits? Who will make the first move?

Additional changes loom to Retiree Medical. Hiring continues to be frozen and attrition continues to shrink the ranks. Tomorrow begins the SDCERS vote for proposed changes to DROP. I would strongly encourage EVERY City Employee to take the few minutes it will take to vote. I am voting NO and would ask each of you to do the same. The proposed changes are not necessary and will do nothing to solve any of the perceived problems with the retirement system. PLEASE VOTE NO on the proposed changes.

Be safe and do the right thing out there.

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