Mayor's pension reform lacks union’s endorsement

The City’s largest labor union, representing about half the workforce, has yet to officially support Mayor Ed Lee’s pension measure proposed for the November ballot.

The influential Service Employees International Union Local 1021 is withholding support as it attempts to negotiate a pay increase for a number of its members who were laid off in 2008 and then rehired to specially created positions with less pay. The difference in value is about $7 million a year.

The union was part of a working group that helped craft Lee’s pension measure. And when it was unveiled Tuesday, Local 1021 was present as other labor leaders praised the agreement. The union, however, said while it supports the process used in arriving at the agreement, it has yet to officially endorse it.

The measure is now undergoing review by the Board of Supervisors, which has until July to vote on the proposal and make changes. But Lee and other supporters of the measure say they are not concerned about Local 1021’s holdout. “SEIU has a separate issue. We’ve agreed to meet with them on that issue. We don’t expect them to have a whole lot of influence around any changes on this package,” Lee said Wednesday in an interview with the San Francisco Examiner.

On Tuesday, Patty Tamura, a representative of SEIU Local 1021, said that “We’re supportive of everything that’s gone into putting this together.” The lower-paid posts, called “deskilling,” is “something that The City did in a different administration. We will always be concerned about the deskilled workers,” she said.

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