This guest post was authored by Alison Neufeld

The San Diego Superior Court has denied the Public Employment Relations Board’s request for a preliminary injunction preventing the City of San Diego from implementing Proposition B, also known as the Comprehensive Pension Reform Initiative (CPRI).  This local ballot measure was passed by a significant majority of voters at the election on June 5, 2012.  The CPRI provides that most new hires will receive a defined contribution plan, akin to a 401(k) plan, rather than the defined benefit plan employees currently receive.

As reported in our previous Blog Post, on July 10, 2012, San Diego Superior Court Judge Luis Vargas issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) requiring a “temporary delay” in the implementation of the CPRI following the issuance of the Court of Appeal’s published decision in San Diego Municipal Employees Assn. v. Superior Court (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 1447.  That decision held that PERB has exclusive initial jurisdiction to determine whether the City violated the MMBA by placing the CPRI on the ballot before meeting and conferring with the San Diego Municipal Employees Association (MEA).

In the Order issued yesterday, Judge Vargas stated that the parties had demonstrated sufficient progress in meeting and conferring over “priority implementation of time sensitive issues of the CPRI.”  Specifically, the City has proposed that an Interim Defined Contribution Plan be implemented and the MEA has had an opportunity to respond.  In addition, the PERB hearing has been held and the parties are awaiting the decision.

Judge Vargas stated that while PERB has initial jurisdiction to determine the unfair practice charge filed by the MEA, the Superior Court retains jurisdiction regarding implementation of the CPRI.  In evaluating a request for injunctive relief brought by PERB, courts determine whether there is “reasonable cause to believe an unfair labor practice has been committed and the relief sought is just and proper.”  Judge Vargas indicated that the preliminary injunction requested by PERB would not be “just and proper” and that “traditional equitable considerations now weigh in favor of the voters, the City of San Diego and of a proper and orderly implementation of the CPRI.”