San Francisco Labor Unions Sue to Stop Pension Ballot Measure

August 12, 2010 ( - San Francisco's largest city labor unions have filed a lawsuit asking a judge to strip a measure from the November ballot that calls for city employees pay more into the retirement system and to pick up more of the health care costs for their dependents.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the lawsuit, brought by five individual city workers and labor unions for police officers, firefighters and others, contends Proposition B is unconstitutional and the petitions that more than 49,000 San Franciscans signed to get the measure on the November ballot misled voters and violated state election law. The lawsuit contends the circulated petitions violated state law by not including the official 368-word summary of the reasons for the measure that had been submitted to the San Francisco Department of Elections and signed by both Public Defender Jeff Adachi and the campaign’s treasurer, Craig Weber.  

According to the news report, information conveyed in the summary could be found in different wording on the petitions, the attorney who brought the suit on behalf of the workers said that is not enough.   

City employees say the measure has unintended consequences, like endangering $23 million in federal funding next year (see SF Official Warns of ‘Prop B’ Pension Cutback Effects), and forcing some to stop covering children, spouses, or partners because of the health care costs hike. Adachi says the initiative could save the city an estimated $170 million a year and is a needed to help rein in skyrocketing pension costs that have led to chronic budget deficits.