Some political figures support the union, others say they should stay out of it.
Last May the San Diego County Board of Supervisors announced that the San Diego Department of Animal Services would no longer be providing that service as of July 1. That left city officials trying to figure out who would take over the massive responsibility.
Councilman Chris Ward was very unhappy with the news, “The county is really disappointing us all — after 45 years just getting out of the business," he said according to Times of San Diego. "We’re doing our best to pick up really big pieces here.”
San Diego City Council’s Budget and Government Efficiency Committee proposed that the San Diego Humane Society take over the responsibilities. If approved, it would be for a term of 18-months.
The Humane Society has a long history in San Diego and oversees many facilities including in the cities of Escondido, Imperial Beach, Oceanside, Poway, San Marcos and Vista.
Some of the county’s animal service employees are represented by the Service Employees Union International, Local 221, and last week that organization requested a “labor peace agreement” if the city’s contract with the Humane Society is approved.
This means the Humane Society could become a unionized organization which some city officials are welcoming of, while others warn against.
“We urge the Humane Society to be more open-minded and take care of workers,” said a supportive Councilwoman Georgette Gomez (D).
But former council member and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio (R) says the Humane Society contract should be approved by the city council as-is without employees being asked to support the union.
"What would a unionized Humane Society look like?" DeMaio asked on his KOGO Newsradio webpage, "It would cost more and provide fewer services for animals and residents alike. Worse, volunteers would be marginalized and even possibly banned from providing free services that the union might insist be done by dues-paying union workers at taxpayer expense."
The City Council will vote on April 30 on whether or not the San Diego Humane Society will take over San Diego's animal services.
As a matter of full disclosure, Hale Media Publisher Johnathan Hale is married to Carl DeMaio.