Just hours after San Jose voters approved a nationally watched pension reform measure, city employee unions are planning to file lawsuits challenging it. The police, fire and other unions have scheduled an 11 a.m. press conference outside the Santa Clara County Superior Court to officially announce the legal action.
An email from the unions said: "Following the passage of San Jose's Measure B -- a City ballot measure that unlawfully modifies pension benefits for city employees-San Jose's Police Officers, Fire Fighters and other workers will file multiple lawsuits to enjoin the City from implementing the unlawful changes to employee pensions, health care and disability benefits."
San Jose voters last week handed Mayor Chuck Reed a crucial victory with his nationally watched pension reform measure passing by a decisive margin.
It was a big night for pension reform, with a San Diego measure also winning by a wide margin.
But voter approval of San Jose's Measure B puts Reed and the city in the vanguard of efforts to shrink taxpayer bills for generous government pension plans. Passage also strengthens Reed's hand as he and his City Council allies work to enact the measure's reforms with a vote next week to reduce pensions for new hires.
The San Jose and San Diego votes drew interest around the country as a gauge of voter support for reforming pensions at the ballot box. Gov. Jerry Brown's pension reform proposals have gained little headway in the Legislature.
Reed proposed Measure B a year ago after his efforts -- from championing new tax measures to imposing 10 percent pay cuts on city employees -- failed to erase budgetary red ink that has soaked the city ledger for a decade. Though the city projects a modest $9 million surplus in the upcoming budget, thanks largely to the pay cuts and hundreds of job cuts, a $22.5 million shortfall is expected the year after.