San Diego’s private sector is a mere 5.3 percent unionized, while the public sector runs at 45 percent, according to a recent study by the University of California Los Angeles. Compare that with the state’s 9.7 percent and 56.1 percent, respectively.
Although San Diego’s government employees are less unionized than those elsewhere in the state, government plays a bigger role in the local economy. Government is 17 percent of the San Diego economy, compared with 13 percent nationally and 12 percent in California, says Kelly Cunningham, economist for the National University System Institute for Policy Research.
The irony is that while pension commitments to City of San Diego workers may have to be adjudicated in a Chapter 9 bankruptcy, money from Washington D.C. and Sacramento pours into the local economy, softening the blow a little bit.