The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 11, 2011
Column Extra: Did CASE get a better deal than SEIU?

Space limits our Thursday State Worker column to about 450 words, so 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.

We've been hearing some rumblings about the tentative agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment. The critics, nearly all of them SEIU-covered, are particularly upset over the deferred 4 percent increase for top-step employees at the end of the contract and the extra 1.73 hours of paid leave that the attorneys will accrue each month.

The deal negotiated by SEIU Local 1000 in October has a 3 percent deferred raise for the top step and no extra hours of paid leave each month. It's that 1 percent difference, plus the CASE deal's extra paid leave, that's prompting some SEIU-covered state workers to shoot some heated e-mails our way.

So what's the story? Did Brown throw a little extra something to the union that represents lawyers who not so long ago worked for the former attorney general? Is the CASE deal sweeter than the one negotiated by SEIU Local 1000?

Here's what sources familiar with the talks tell us:

According to CASE, the state's negotiators told the union's bargaining team that all the unions must boost their employee pension contributions by at least 3 percentage points. (SEIU-covered employees' current contract took employee contributions from 5 percent to 8 percent with an eventual 3 percent raise at the top step.)

CASE pointed out that its members have been paying 6 percent since 2005 (about 150 safety employee members pay 7 percent) -- 1 percentage point more than SEIU -- but it couldn't get the administration to agree to a 2 percentage point increase instead of 3 percentage points.

So the two sides agreed that the union would accept the same hike in what employees put into their pensions and the administration would give top-step CASE members a delayed 4 percent pay raise.

To compensate attorneys for the lag time before the pay raise kicks in, DPA agreed to that 1 percent leave credit equal to 1.73 hours per month during the life of the agreement.

That will give full-time BU 2 members an extra 45 hours of leave by the contract's July 1, 2013 expiration date, offsetting 1 percent of the pension contribution that CASE members make.

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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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