Thousands of unionized grocery workers from Bakersfield to the border turned out to vote Monday on whether to authorize a future strike — a move that could potentially lead to a massive walkout not seen since 2003.The outcome of the vote will not be known until late Tuesday, but if approved it would give union leaders the authority to call a strike should future negotiations fail with supermarket chains Albertsons — which now owns Vons and Pavilions — and Ralphs. A series of dates have been scheduled in July for further talks, which stalled earlier this month.“If the authorization vote carries, we have every intent to go back and negotiate and get a contract,” said Todd Walters, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135, which represents 7,000 grocery workers in San Diego and Imperial counties. “Now with that said, if we go back in July, and the stall tactics continue, we’ll have a problem and we may call a … [Read more...] about Will grocery store workers in San Diego vote for a strike?
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The San Diego City Council took a big step Monday aimed at straightening out its troubled retirement system, but it will still take officials a long time to wade through the morass that has been decades in the making.Decisions in 1996 and 2002 to underfund the pension system while boosting benefits helped to create a huge deficit that continues to grow. These were widely viewed not as simply bad choices but potentially corrupt ones. Federal and local investigations were launched, individuals were charged -- though all of the cases collapsed -- and several top city officials resigned, including the mayor.The city currently faces a pension shortfall of nearly $3 billion and annual payments to the system of more than $350 million. Proposition B, approved by 65 percent of the voters in June 2012, was supposed to whittle down those numbers over many years by giving new employees -- other than police officers -- 401(k)-style plans instead of the pensions.In addition to those moves some two … [Read more...] about Column: San Diego makes pension move but long slog remains
San Diego’s status as the only city in California where firefighters lack death-and-disability benefits may soon be coming to an end after a seven-year battle.City labor negotiators and the city’s firefighters union recently reached a deal to provide those benefits to more than 350 firefighters hired since San Diego voters approved the 2012 Proposition B pension reform ballot measure.City negotiators also want to extend the deal to all 4,000 city workers hired since Proposition B, which eliminated pensions for newly hired employees except police officers and gave them 401(k)-style retirement plans instead.In addition to eliminating pensions, Proposition B wiped out death-and-disability benefits for newly hired workers except police officers, because those benefits provide guaranteed, long-term payouts similar to a pension. Roughly 7,000 city employees have death-and-disability benefits, and about 4,000 don’t.The deal reached by city negotiators and the firefighters … [Read more...] about San Diego firefighters on verge of winning seven-year battle to restore key benefit
San Diego officials are proposing a long-awaited incentive program aimed at providing more housing for middle-income workers such as nurses, teachers and firefighters.The goal is spurring developers to build housing for a group of residents that make too much to qualify for the subsidized housing developers get incentives to build, but not enough to afford the high-end housing projects that developers prefer because of wider profit margins.Supporters say the incentive could be a key to solving the local housing crisis, where many middle-income workers can’t afford the county’s roughly $600,000 median price for a home or the $1,600 average rent for a one-bedroom apartment. “In so many cases, households who make $80,000 to $100,000, which is essentially the middle range, do not qualify for assistance,” Councilwoman Vivian Moreno said last week. “And on top of that, units that fit the need of these families are not being built. These are important people to … [Read more...] about San Diego moving forward with middle-income housing incentive
La Prensa San Diego, the region’s long-standing bilingual newspaper, has not been printed or distributed in recent weeks. Meanwhile, some employees, contributors and vendors have not been paid for work this year, according to three individuals who work or have worked under the publication’s owner and publisher. The individuals requested that their names not be published because they feared they would not be paid. Owner and publisher Art Castañares, who purchased the English- and Spanish-language publication in 2015, acknowledged some parties have not been paid but did not offer an explanation in a series of emails in response to questions from The San Diego Union-Tribune. “All of the outstanding invoices have been reviewed and will be paid with next week’s check run,” he said on Friday. Castañares said La Prensa is contemplating changes to its business model — including switching to a monthly publication — as it plans to expand its … [Read more...] about La Prensa San Diego workers say they’ve gone unpaid; newspaper production spotty