If pension reform measures in San Jose and San Diego on June 5 are any indication, then unions -- even in two cities with Democratic voter majorities -- have thrown in the towel. They aren't fighting reform at the ballot-box any more, knowing that such a battle is a losing effort. The public favors reform, thanks in part to the endless sea of pension abuses that have been reported on for a few years and also to cities facing deep financial problems.
San Jose's pension costs, for instance, have risen 350 percent in a decade and now pensions devour 20 percent of the city's general fund budget -- sucking the life out of every other program. Their lack of electoral fight doesn't mean the unions have given up. They simply are taking non-democratic means to achieve victory, relying on the courts and on unelected boards to invalidate pension reform measures. This is more evidence that reformers are winning the rhetorical battle, but we still have miles to win the policy war.