SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco and its employee unions have agreed to share the cost of rapidly growing retiree health care obligations beginning in 2009 in order to protect the city's credit ratings and long-term financial health.

"This is a massive problem that we need to begin to address," said Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who negotiated the deal on behalf of the city. "If we don't address this, 20 years or 30 years from now, this would have a crushing impact on basic city services."

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