Local union rallies against Mayor's outsourcing plan - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Local union rallies against Mayor's outsourcing plan

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Some local union workers are speaking out against the mayor's plan let private companies take city jobs.

A so-called "managed competition" plan to allow the city to outsource some city services was approved by voters as a way of saving the city money. However, negotiations to implement this plan have reached an impasse, with union members charging that the mayor's plan will lead to more uninsured families in San Diego.

A handful of Local 127's blue-collar workers, along with San Diego City Council President Ben Hueso railed against Mayor Jerry Sanders Saturday.

"The mayor has made no bones about the fact he's interested in outsourcing 20 percent of our garbage truck drivers to a private company," Joan Raymond City Trash Truck Driver and President of Local 127.

Under a voter-approved initiative passed three years ago - known as "managed competition" - city services, such as garbage pick-up, could be outsourced through a bidding process as a way of saving the city money.

But in recent weeks, negotiations between the city and the union on how to implement this program have reached an impasse.

And union members now charge that Mayor Sanders has backtracked on a commitment to prevent contracts from going to private companies, which can outbid city employees by not offering its workers health care benefits.

"There are 500,000 workers in San Diego County without insurance right now and unfortunately what they mayor is trying to do is add to those numbers," said Lorena Gonzalez who is with the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council.

"Taking away health care simply to put more profit in the profit column of a corporation I think is highly irresponsible," note San Diego City Council President Ben Hueso.

But the mayor's spokesman refutes this, saying in a statement:

"The city, of course is not against providing employee healthcare...It is, however, against creating a playing field that gives city employees an unfair advantage over the private sector when bidding on city services. Our goal is to ensure that the process is fair and equitable...."

An impasse hearing in front of the city council is scheduled for October 27. At that meeting, the council could vote to impose the managed competition plan, side with the union's plan or send both sides back to the drawing board.

Local 127 has also asked the mayor's office that private contractors use city workers whose divisions are being outsourced under the managed competition plan.

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