The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 11, 2010
CCPOA says that its contract offers 'have fallen on deaf ears'

Executive Vice President Chuck Alexander has sent a letter to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg refuting a claim by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that CCPOA doesn't want to negotiate a new labor deal.

Schwarzenegger made that charge in a letter June 4 to Steinberg about his administration's contract talks with the unions: "We are, in fact, in active negotiations with 19 of the 21 bargaining units at this time. Of the two units not yet in active negotiations with us, one has requested delay until its new head of bargaining is in place, and a formal meeting is scheduled for next week. The last remaining bargaining unit, Unit 6 (CCPOA), has made it clear that it is not interested in negotiating this year."

That last line clearly rankled Alexander. Here's his letter to Steinberg, unedited as forwarded to us by CCPOA board member Ian Pickett:

The Honorable Darrell Steinberg
President pro Tempore
California State Senate
State Capitol
Room 205
Sacramento, CA. 95814

Dear Senator Steinberg,

Thank you for writing to the Governor and encouraging him to bargain in good faith with the public employee unions.

I want to make it abundantly clear that CCPOA and our members understand the fiscal problems facing our great state. This association and our members have a long history of compromising with reasonable state officials to achieve significant savings during past fiscally troubled times. In that vein, we opened our 2001 MOU and negotiated a salary deferral in 2004 which saved the state over 100 million dollars. Yet, before the member vote was even concluded this Administration reneged on part of that deal while reaping the benefit of the salary savings.

Since then, CCPOA has made enormous effort to negotiate and reach agreements with this Administration on issues ranging from local procedures to a complete MOU. The vast majority of these efforts have fallen on deaf ears and resulted in no agreement. Last year, you yourself were instrumental in facilitating numerous meetings between CCPOA and the Administration, in an effort to reach a new MOU. As you no doubt recall, after many months and hours of meetings, with CCPOA compromising on virtually every issue claimed as an obstacle by the Administration, they walked away without concluding a deal. That, despite their representation to you and us that they wanted to negotiate a deal in good faith. Since that time, CCPOA has heard nothing from the Secretary or the Administration regarding an MOU.

It is curious that the Governor has somehow concluded that we "have made it clear" that we are not interested in negotiating this year. I can only surmise that he bases this opinion on the fact that we have not, as yet, participated in this year's "sunshine" process. CCPOA is still determining the appropriateness of submitting a sunshine package as this is written, but have in no way determined that we are not interested in negotiating this year. Mind you, it is particularly difficult to imagine bargaining with an Administration that continuously reneges on agreements, and can't even abide by its own imposed last best and final.

However, CCPOA does believe there may be room to negotiate non-monetary work condition improvements in exchange for monetary compromises. Unfortunately, the Governor's letter to you clearly illustrates this Administration's disinterest in participating in "good faith" negotiations. Clearly, pension reform is a subject of bargaining and should be included as part of any "good faith" bargaining that this Administration engages in.

CCPOA has a proven track record of working cooperatively with reasonable Administration's and reaching mutually acceptable compromise that benefits all Californians and we stand ready to do so again.

Sincerely,

Chuck Alexander
CCPOA
Cc: Speaker John Perez
Governor A. Schwarzenegger

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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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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