The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 25, 2010
State scientists' union rejects contract offer

California Association of Professional Scientists has rejected a contract proposal by the Schwarzenegger administration, calling the deal "inadequate on its face" and "a threat" in this e-mail to members.

The administration's offer made a few improvements on its Mar. 2 initial offering to the union. For example, the administration's latest proposal included 12 days of unpaid leave over one year instead of the straight up permanent 5 percent pay cut proposed in March.

But the administration's deal fell far short of the mixed bag of gains and concessions CAPS proposed earlier this month, which included unpaid leave for a year and then a series of raises to bring the underpaid scientist classification into pay parity. The union pulled back its offer over
the threat of minimum wage and public comments by the governor that, in the union's view, undermined bargaining.

"The CAPS Team told the state's chief negotiator that the state's proposal is inadequate on its face," the CAPS e-mail says, "and that it provides far LESS in total compensation to scientists than comparable agreements provide to the four unions which have already reached an agreement."

DPA gave CAPS 24 hours to accept the deal. The deadline is up at 5 p.m. today, but the union didn't need that long to reject the proposed agreement.

"The CAPS Team took this gesture by DPA -- on behalf of Governor Schwarzenegger -- as a threat, which in fact was exactly how it was framed," says the e-mail. "Either CAPS agrees or worse things will happen, they said."

The administration's proposal would have given CAPS similar furlough and minimum wage protections as those in the tentative agreements reached last week between Schwarzenegger and CAPT, CAHP, CDFF and AFSCME. But now, CAPS says it will fight any legislation to shield those unions from minimum wage impositions, "UNLESS scientists are included."

DPA, which is in talks with several other unions, declined to comment.

This link opens the administration's Mar. 2 opening proposal. Click here for the union's June 3 counter. You'll find the administration's May 10 contract offer, which was presented again on Thursday, by clicking here.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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