SEIU Local 1000 resumes contract negotiations with the Department of Personnel Administration today. Obviously, since the local covers about 95,000 employees -- and had a contract deal fall apart last year -- the outcome of the negotiations will be highly significant and very closely watched.
The SEIU team is also sitting down to talks the same day that two more groups, International Union of Operation Engineers and Union of American Physicians and Dentists, have announced their own tentative agreements with the administration.
The last time that SEIU had a tentative agreement with Schwarzenegger, way back in early 2009, union members ratified the tentative pact but it didn't survive Republican opposition in the Legislature.
If you think about it, that doomed contract had some of the same concessions recently bargained by AFSCME and CAPT: Unpaid leave days equal to one per month, two fewer paid holidays and changes to how the threshold for overtime is calculated.
(That aborted deal also had two floating holidays that essentially replaced the holidays lost, but it didn't include the new step raises in the tentative agreements announced last week.)
If those concessions are still mutually acceptable to union and administration negotiators this go-round -- by no means a given -- that leaves pensions as a big sticking point. AFSCME, CAPT, CAHP, CDFF, IUOE and UAPD all tentatively agreed to a two-tier pension system for new hires and higher employee contributions to their own pensions.
SEIU covers some of the lowest-paid state workers. Doubling their pension payments from the current 5 percent of their earnings to 10 percent would be difficult for many to handle, particularly coming off 17 months of furloughs.
Local 1000 also is planning a rally for Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to showcase its members' importance to the state. The event's theme: "We are California." Click here to read more about it.