Union Wins Sick Leave Payout Suit Against San Jose

In an important and far-reaching decision, a Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Labor and found that the City of San Jose cannot unilaterally, retroactively eliminate Sick Leave payouts for employees who have a vested right to such deferred compensation.

This victory for AFSCME, and the entire Labor Coalition in San Jose including IFPTE Local 21, continues a tidal wave of rebuke for the overzealous and unlawful actions taken by this administration over the last couple of years, in its effort to “reform” retirement plans and reduce benefits and compensation. The City imposed a contract on AFSCME, which eliminated any and all sick leave payouts. Some Unions, including Local 21’s three chapters (AEA, AMSP and CAMP) at the City, retain our payout for existing employees.

In the decision, Judge Mary Arand ruled that the City could not “unilaterally eliminate [plaintiff’s] right to a payout for sick leave hours that had accrued prior to the expiration of the MOA.” The court also stated that such “vested rights” were not limited to the specific time frame of a particular contract, but rather spanned such agreements.

The “vesting” issue requires a full review. We will have more information in the coming weeks as we further evaluate and understand this important decision, which could have greater implications for all of us.