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SF Pension Measure Faces Fierce Opposition From Labor

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - The high-stakes campaign to overhaul the city's pension and benefit program has garnered two high-profile endorsements and much opposition.

Former Mayor Willie Brown and former Supervisor Matt Gonzales stand apart from nearly every elected official in San Francisco who has come out against Measure B.

The measure that Public Defender Jeff Adachi collected 47,000 signatures to put on the November ballot would require all city workers to contribute to their pension funds and pay health premiums for dependents.

"All of the progressive causes that we care about, and programs, are being eliminated because of these rising pension costs. Next year, the pension costs are going to increase by something like $20 million to $30 million," Adachi said.

KCBS' Barbara Taylor Reports:

The average city worker takes home $93,000 a year excluding benefits, he said, and the reform would cost most individuals around $200 a month.

City nurse Martha Hawthorne worries that Adachi's measure will hurt colleagues who make far less than that.

"I will squeak by. I'm not worried about myself. I'm mostly worried about my coworkers who will choose between rent payments, health payments, food or medical care for their children."

Union workers complain they have already sacrificed raises and in some cases agreed on wage cuts, and question why they should be asked to give up even more.

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