The so-called "sunshine meetings" are required by state law, but often offer little insight into contract negotiations. Union leaders and the administration often informally work out the broad parameters of a deal. Bargaining teams then hammer out the fine details at the table.
Contracts for 19 of the state's 21 bargaining units expire on July 1, 2, or 3 this year. Unions representing state fire fighters and Highway Patrol officers extended their current pacts until 2017 and 2018, respectively.
If a union fails to reach an new agreement before its contract expires, the terms of the expired deal remain in force (with some notable exceptions) until a new contract is in place.
CalHR has set 1 p.m. on Feb. 28, Mar. 7 and Mar. 14 for the first round of presentations and will schedule additional meetings as needed.