California unions win another pension lawsuit. Will their streak continue?

The state Supreme Court last Thursday struck down one of the biggest efforts yet to force California public employees into 401(k) plans, giving unions another win in their effort to protect defined benefit retirement plans from elected leaders who want to rein in pension costs.

The court sought to write a narrow decision, finding that former San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders failed to meet with unions while he campaigned heavily for a 2012 ballot measure that promised to put most new city employees in a 401(k)-style plan instead of a pension fund.

It was the second significant pension lawsuit that favored unions this year. In January, an appeals court held that government agencies must consider the financial harm they’re causing to public employees if they want to adjust pension benefits.

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