Unions opposed to San Diego's recent overwhelming vote to reform its pension system won two legal victories this week.

The California Public Employment Relations Board can now move forward with its investigation into a labor complaint that city leaders violated state law by helping to create the pension reform proposition without negotiating with the unions, according to the UT San Diego newspaper.

Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Council members helped craft Proposition B, which gained more than 100,000 signatures before it passed with more than 66% voter approval.

City attorney Jan Goldsmith's attempt last week to get the state Court of Appeals to hear any claims filed against the city first in a bid to speed up the process also failed, according to the paper.

The city expects the union challenge to eventually reach the court.

On June 5, voters in San Diego, California's second-largest city, approved switching new government employees to a defined contribution 401(k)-style plan from the current defined-benefit plan. For current employees, the parts of their salaries that are tied to pension contribution rates would be frozen for five years.

However, police officers will remain in the old plan with an 80% salary cap that will be calculated using the three consecutive highest years rather than just the three highest years. The change is designed to help prevent pension "spiking."

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