The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 13, 2013
California Legislature closes, three unions still without contracts

130222 Blanning.JPGWhen California lawmakers closed the books on their 2013 session Thursday night, state employee unions representing state attorneys and other legal officials, scientists and stationary engineers still didn't have contracts.

California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers In State Employment (CASE), California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS) and Bargaining Unit 13 of the International Union Operating Engineers (IUOE) represent a combined 7,700 or so employees who will be working for the next several months under the terms of contracts that expired in July.

The Legislature's recess ended any chance that it would authorize money for new labor contracts before it returns to work in January. Until lawmakers appropriate funds, a deal can't be sealed.

Because state law says that the terms of their expired pacts remain in place until a new agreement is reached, there's little consequence to holding out. The state isn't going to lock out its workers (although some have argued that furloughs essentially did that). Looking at other deals bargained recently, it's clear that Gov. Jerry Brown wasn't going to sign off on any raises that would take effect before mid-2014.

The big drawback for CASE- and IUOE-covered workers, about 5,000 employees combined, is that health care premiums will increase by an average 3 percent in January and they'll have to pick up the entire increase.

Why? The terms of their expired-but-still-in-effect contracts, specify a dollar amount -- not a percentage -- that the state contributes for their medical insurance. New agreements probably will include paying employees for the employer's share that they pick up before a contract is done.

Here are links to legislation that lawmakers approved to fund contracts for eight unions covering 16 bargaining units (the Highway Patrol officers' and firefighters' unions did not expire this year):

AB 1377
Service Employees Local 1000 (bargaining units 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21)

AB 478
California Correctional Peace Officers Association (BU 6)
California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (BU 7)
Professional Engineers in California Government (BU 9)
International Union of Operating Engineers (BU 12)
Union of American Physicians and Dentists (BU 16)
California Association of Psychiatric Technicians (BU 18)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (BU 19)

Also ...
SB 102 which authorizes wage increases of up to 37 percent for some employees at the Department of Water Resources, officially authorizes a 5.9 percent raise for CHP officers, provides a moving allowance for some displaced Department of Developmental Services employees and increases travel allowances for state firefighters.

PHOTO: Professional Engineers in California Government Executive Director Bruce Blanning speaks to a reporter in the PECG offices in Sacramento in 2012. PECG was the last union to reach an labor agreement before the 2013 legislative session ended. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

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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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