With just 400 to 450 words for our Thursday State Worker column, much of what we learn in the ramp-up to writing it never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that don't make the cut.
This week's column quotes Department of Personnel Administration Director Ron Yank, the man Gov. Jerry Brown assigned to negotiate contracts with the last six state employee unions without deals. His comments in the column were part of a 90-minute lunch at a restaurant around the corner from DPA's S Street offices.
This report started with that conversation. CCPOA hasn't yet returned an e-mail seeking comment.
The state is ending contributions to a retirement fund for Bargaining Unit 6 employees, according to state officials, in exchange for a higher deferred pay raise and to maintain the current leave system for the 32,000 or so correctional and parole officers represented by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.
Our earlier report, based on a letter to members by union Executive Vice President Chuck Alexander, said that the program, called POFF II (Peace Officer and Firefighter) would be temporarily suspended to help offset the state's cost to bring CCPOA members' health coverage even with the rest of the state work force. State payments into the fund -- an employer contribution equal to 2 percent of base salary -- were to resume in January 2014.
Employees have paid nothing into POFF II, which was established in fiscal 1998-99 as a capped supplement to union members' regular CalPERS pension. CCPOA was the only state union that negotiated the benefit for members. As of January 31, the plan had nearly 40,000 participants and $79 million in assets, according to CalPERS.
Ron Yank, director of the Department of Personnel Administration said during an interview Wednesday afternoon with The State Worker that CCPOA closed talks with DPA in the wee hours of March 15. That afternoon it issued the Alexander memo to members.
Meanwhile the union went directly to Gov. Jerry Brown's office and proposed ending POFF II contributions for good. It also agreed to increase the employee pension contribution 3 percentage points instead of the 2 percentage points bargained and closed that morning, meaning that members would pay 11 percent instead of 10 percent into their retirement accounts.
In exchange, the union received a higher deferred step increase (4 percent for the top step instead of the previously negotiated 3 percent increase) and kept the current sick leave/vacation leave system (instead of forcing all members into the annual leave system as it had bargained with DPA).
Finance Director Ana Matosantos blessed the tradeoff, as did Yank and Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Matt Cate. By the evening of March 15, the deal was done.
As of Thursday night, DPA hadn't published tentative agreements or summaries of the agreements reached with CCPOA, or the deal reached with the International Union of Operating Engineers (BU 13). Tentative agreements with Professional Engineers in California Government (BU 9), the California Association of Professional Scientists (BU 10) are now online. You can access them by clicking here and scrolling down the page to the appropriate link.