The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 8, 2013
University of California union to ask members to authorize strike

131008-berkeley-campus.jpgThe bare-knuckles contract brawl between the University of California and one of its larger unions has entered the next round, with an announcement Tuesday that AFSCME Local 3299 is planning to take a strike vote at the end of this month.

The union represents some 22,000 employees who provide staff support and medical services at UC hospitals. Contract talks have been deadlocked for more than a year.

AFSCME officials have said they are pressing for changes to policies that waste public money and put public health at risk. The university counters that AFSCME's concerns are a smokescreen to hide its real agenda to curtail pension changes that other unions have already accepted.

The union plans to take its unfair labor practice strike vote from Oct. 28 to Oct. 30.

AFSCME's move comes after the Public Employees Relations Board last month charged the UC system with intimidating employees who participated in another strike last summer.

And 10 Democratic lawmakers recently sent this letter to the UC's new president, Janet Napolitano. The letter notes the imposed working terms on AFSCME-represented service staff affect some of the UC's lowest-paid employees, "90% of whom are immigrants and people of color."

UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said that the university's terms for service employees gave them a 2 percent pay raise this year following 5 percent raises during each of the last two years and that they earn more than counterparts in the California State University system or the private sector.

Last August, neutral factfinder Paul D. Roose summed up the relationship between AFSCME and the university like this:

Arguably, the parties are tens of millions of dollars apart in their economic proposals. And, in the opinion of the neutral, each side is vigorously attempting to take away rights traditionally reserved to the other party.

The parties surely recognize that they are a few short steps away from a collision - in the form of a unilateral implementation and / or work stoppage - that will benefit neither side and will harm many other stakeholders in the University community.

Napolitano is planning to meet with AFSCME leaders soon, Klein said, as part of her effort to meet various UC constituencies as she learns her new job, but "not to collectively bargain."

PHOTO: People walk through Sproul Plaza near Sather Gate on the UC Berkeley campus on June 1, 2011. Associated Press/Eric Risberg

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.

September 4, 2013
California state law enforcement contract costs $26.5 million

RP_STATE_PARKS_BINOCS.JPGA new three-year contract for about 7,000 state workers in public safety and inspection jobs will add about $26.5 million in costs through fiscal 2015-16, according to a just-published review by the Legislative Analyst's Office.

The centerpiece of the agreement with the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association and Gov. Jerry Brown is a 3 percent raise on July 1, 2015. The union represents employees including California Highway Patrol dispatchers, Department of Motor Vehicles licensing-registration examiners, park rangers and game wardens.

Two other employee subsets in the union, state hospital police officers and developmental center peace officers, are in line for an additional 4.67 percent bump on the same date.

Related: Law enforcement officers' union agrees to new contract

The agreement also gives employees the option to cash out up to 20 hours of vacation or annual leave each year at their employing department's discretion.

There's no official estimate of what that would cost, although the LAO says it would be "a few million dollars in any given year." While the leave buyouts would hit departments in the short-term, they're a long-term savings because employees who cash out when they exit state service do so at their final pay rate.

"At the end of fiscal 2011-12," the analysis embedded below notes, "the state's liability associated with Unit 7 employees' vacation/annual leave balance was about $55 million."

September 3, 2013
Read the contract between Jerry Brown, California engineers

AerialDelta.JPGAs we reported over the holiday weekend, California's state engineers' union has tentatively agreed to a two-year contract that includes an across-the-board raise.

The deal "deep classes" a handful of engineering job classifications and also adds State Water Project engineers to a paid-time-off incentive program. Other union contracts already include the program, which pays up to 80 hours to employees whose divisions within the Department of Water Resources meet certain water delivery and power generation goals.

Here's the tentative agreement. Scroll down to pages 18 and 19 for more details about the incentive program:

August 30, 2013
Operating engineers' new deal costs state up to $54.9 million

130620-capitol-mall.JPGThe tentative agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and the union representing roughly 11,000 heavy equipment operators will add up to $54.9 million to the state's payroll costs, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.

The two-year deal, like most Brown has negotiated with other unions over the last two months, relies on a fiscal trigger to determine whether the money will be split over two years or deferred to the last year.

One scenario for state workers in Bargaining Unit 12, who are represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers, provides a $1,200 bonus on July 1, 2014 (which equals 2.5 percent of the average wage for employees covered by the contract) and a 3 percent raise on July 1, 2015.

That, along with higher employer contributions to health insurance premiums and a few other minor non-wage increases, would cost the state $54.9 million, according to the LAO.

But if Brown says revenues in fiscal 2014-15 aren't sufficient to cover the bonus, union members will have to wait one year to get a 3.25 percent raise with no bonus. That plan would reduce the contract's three-year cost to $42.3 million.

That hits the high points of the IUOE deal, but if you want to get more deeply into the numbers and terms, here's the analyst's report:

August 27, 2013
Read the CCPOA tentative contract and summary

PRISON-officer-0275.JPGThe Department of Human Resources has released a summary of its tentative contract with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the agreement in full.

You can read our weekend report on the dealhere. We've embedded the documents below.

The state's accounting of the two-year agreement doesn't include the contract's estimated costs. which includes significant changes to the way overtime is calculated and shortens correctional officers' academy training.

Look for the Legislative Analyst's Office to do that within the next week or so. The LAO has 10 days from when it receives official documentation of the agreement to turn around a cost estimate for the Legislature.

August 26, 2013
Law enforcement officers' union agrees to new contract

Another union has reached a tentative contract agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown.

This time it's the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association agreeing to a three-year deal that includes a 3 percent raise for all 7,000 state workers it represents, a diverse group of employees who do everything from protecting state lands and property to issuing licenses and permits and conducting investigations. Some arrest people.

The across-the board raise takes effect July 1, 2015. Hospital police officers and peace officers working in state developmental centers get an additional 4.67 percent raise effective July 1, 2015 on top of general raise.

Unlike many contracts negotiated with the Brown administration, the raises come in the last year of the agreement, so there's no "trigger" provision for delaying the increase if the state's financial projections are down.

Like other agreements, the contract brings employees' pension contributions in line with new public pension law requiring workers split the normal costs of their retirements with their employers.

Police officer/fire fighter members will contribute 13 percent of their pensionable pay for wages earned July 1, 2014 and beyond, with workers in the state safety category contributing 11 percent starting the same date.

Miscellaneous and industrial workers will continue paying their current rate of 8 percent toward retirement.

The administration estimates the deal will add $32.1 million in total costs to the state budget, assuming the Legislature and union rank and file OK it.

Here's the Department of Human Resources summary:

August 26, 2013
California state labor deals add up to $63 million in new costs

RDB090.JPGTwo union agreements recently reached with Gov. Jerry Brown will add between $43.1 million and $62.8 million in new employee compensation costs to the state, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.

The three-year contracts cover approximately 1,500 doctors and dentists represented by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists and another 5,000 or so psychologists, social workers and other health professionals in the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

The proposed agreements raise pay 4 percent for most UAPD employees and 3 percent for most AFSCME-covered workers, although some job classes get bigger pay hikes.

The nearly $20 million swing in the analyst's estimate comes from contingency clauses in both contracts that allow the state to delay raises based on budget projections.

If for example, the state's 2014-15 projected revenues are deemed healthy, most AFSCME-covered workers would receive a 1.5 percent raise on July 1, 2014, and a second 1.5 percent raise a year later.

If the state's projected 2014-15 revenue is down, the raises are lumped together in the contract's final year.

Here's the LAO review:

August 24, 2013
California correctional officers' union reaches tentative contract

110520_Jimenez.JPGCaifornia's state prison officers will receive a 4 percent pay raise and earn overtime more easily under the terms of a tentative agreement reached with Gov. Jerry Brown.

The deal also allows the state to continue reassigning staff to cover vacancies and reduces the length of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's academy training.

"We feel that the deal that was agreed on was a fair and equitable deal that is reflective of the way the bargaining process should work," California Correctional Peace Officers Association spokesman JeVaughn Baker said in a telephone interview. "Both parties made some concessions, and both parties gained in the process as well."

CCPOA leadership met in Sacramento today and unanimously voted to send the deal to its 30,000 rank-and-file members for a ratification vote. The two-year contract would expire in July 2015 if approved by members and the Legislature.

Costs of the agreement aren't yet available. A phone message seeking comment from Brown's Department of Human Resources, which negotiates contracts with the unions representing state employees, was not immediately returned this afternoon.

Among the agreement's provisions, according to Baker:

August 23, 2013
Operating engineers union reaches labor deal with Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown and the International Union of Operating Engineers have reached a two-year tentative agreement that boosts the pay of workers in Bargaining Unit 12 by at least 3 percent.

The deal, which must be approved by The Legislature and voting union members among the 11,000 or so workers covered by it, provides a one-time $1,200 bonus on July 1, 2014 and a 3 percent raise on July 1, 2015 contingent on projected state revenues sufficient to cover it. If the Brown administration determines that revenues aren't sufficient for the bonus and the raise next year, then the pay his back one year and increased to 3.25 percent with no bonus.

The tentative contract doesn't apply to IUOE-represented workers in Bargaining Unit 13. It also doesn't address raises that the Brown administration gave to State Water Project workers such as water and power dispatchers who have been routinely picked off by better-paying utilities. (We've posted detailed breakdowns of those pay hikes below.)

Here's the summary of the Bargaining Unit 12 deal:

August 19, 2013
Jerry Brown, California state doctors' union reach labor pact

130813_prison_doctor.jpgThe Union of American Physicians and Dentists has come to tentative terms on a labor contract that includes raises ranging between 4 percent and 8 percent within three years.

The agreement negotiated with Gov. Jerry Brown's Department of Human Resources covers roughly 1,500 employees. Like contracts other unions have bargained in the last several weeks, the timing of the pay increases depends on state revenue projections.

If the numbers look good, the raises will be spread over the the last two years of the deal, 2014-15 and 2015-16. If the administration anticipates revenues will slump next year, the pay increases will be delayed and lumped together in 2015-16.

The administration estimates that the agreement adds a total $28.9 million in salary expenses.

Some medical consultants and public health medical officers are in line to receive a total 5 percent raise, and a few subsets of doctors and surgeons will receive a total 8 percent hike. All other UAPD-covered employees will get a total 4 percent raise within three years.

The agreement guarantees no furloughs during the life of the contract and accepts the changes to pensions that the Legislature and Brown made law last year. Business and travel reimbursement rates get a bump and employers' contributions to health, dental and vision plans increase by 8 percent.

The Legislature and UAPD rank and file must both approve the agreement, which would run retroactively from last month to July 1, 2016. Here's the official summary:

August 16, 2013
Feds delay ruling to withhold California's mass-transit funding

130816_light-rail-bridge-rnady-pench.jpgWith billions of mass-transit dollars at stake, the U.S. Department of Labor said today that it will delay ruling on whether California's new pension law violates a 49-year-old federal statute that ties the funds to collective bargaining rights.

A spokesman for the Labor Department confirmed this morning that federal officials are holding off on making any decisions for now while they continue talks with strong Gov. Jerry Brown's office to resolve the thorny issue.

Brown spokesman Jim Evans said in an email that the administration is "gratified" federal authorities are giving the state more time and that state officials "will continue to work closely with the federal government in an effort to resolve this issue."

California has more than 100 regional mass-transit agencies in the pipeline, $1.6 billion for this year alone. Earlier this month, however, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez warned Brown that the department would begin withholding the funds because the state's new public pension law likely violates the collective bargaining rights of some 20,000 mass transit employees.

Federal law requires that the Labor Department certify that mass-transit grant recipients preserve their employees' collective representation. Mass-transit unions contend the pension law that took effect Jan. 1 has imposed terms on their members that should be bargained.

In a letter to Brown earlier this month, Perez signaled that he agrees with the unions and that a series of decisions could have come down as early as today to decertify one transit agency after another, which would block their federal funds.

Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has said the pension law merely sets a new framework for public pension bargaining but that it doesn't weaken collective bargaining itself.

A message left this morning with mass-transit union spokesman Barry Broad wasn't immediately returned.

PHOTO: In this January 2013 view looking east, the Blue Line bridge - under construction - loops over Cosumnes River Blvd. near Bruceville Road. A conflict between California's public pension law and federal mass-transit grant law has put funding for the project in jeopardy. The Saramento Bee/Randy Pench

August 13, 2013
From the notebook: California and federal laws about to collide

NOTEBOOK_use_this.jpgOur story in today's fiber/cyber Sacramento Bee explains the looming crash between California's Public Employee Pension Reform Act and a federal mass-transit grant law that makes the money conditional on preserving collective representation of mass-transit workers.

Congress tied the federal strings tied to mass-transit money with a 1964 law intended to protect private mass-transportation employees' collective bargaining rights. Struggling mass-transit operations around the country were shifting from private-sector control to the public sector at the time, and unions worried their members would lose vested pension benefits, the right to strike and power to collectively negotiate contracts if they became public employees.

Back then, unions were common in private industry, but relatively rare in government. (California didn't allow local government employees to organize until 1968. First-term Gov. Jerry Brown signed a collective-bargaining law covering state employees nearly a decade later.) And then, as now, state and local government employers were expressly exempt from the National Labor Relations Act.

Today unions are much more prevalent in the public sector and have nearly disappeared on the private side.

Some links and embedded documents that add history and more details to today's report:

"Bill would exempt thousands of California public employees from pension overhaul" (Jan. 29 Sacramento Bee report)
Assembly Bill 160 analysis. The measure would exempt public mass-transit employees from pension reform.
"Brown aide defends pension reform for mass-transit workers" (Feb. 21 State Worker blog post)
Background on the Federal Transit Act, Section 13(c)
Legal Research Digest: "Transit Labor Protection -- A Guide to 13(c) Federal Transit Act"

And here's the memo from Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority CEO Arthur Leahy that includes a list of MTA projects at risk and a letter from U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to Gov. Jerry Brown warning that the feds are prepared to cut off funds:

August 9, 2013
California state health professionals union reaches labor deal

Jerry_Brown_HJA3698.JPGGov. Jerry Brown and the union representing state health and social services workers have reached a tentative agreement that includes an 8 percent raise for two job classifications, a 3 percent increase for the rest and assurances that the state will consider further hikes for a a handful of jobs.

The deal with AFSCME Local 2620, like contracts recently negotiated with SEIU Local 1000 and the state psychiatric technicians' union, covers three fiscal years ending July 2016.

And, like those agreements, the timing of the proposed pay hikes depends on the Brown administration's assessment of state government finances next year.

The Brown administration hasn't yet completed its cost analysis. A message left with AFSCME senior business agent Cliff Tillman wasn't immediately returned.

August 5, 2013
California psych techs' contract adds a total $39 million in costs

mac_taylor.JPGCalifornia's state psychiatric technicians' new tentative contract, which includes an across-the-board pay raise, increases the state's cost for their service by a total $39 million over three years, according to Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor's office.

Assuming approval by the Legislature and the union rank-and-file, the agreement pushes nearly all of the increases into the last two years of the three-year deal. For example, the Brown administration has the option to split the proposed 4.25 percent pay hike between fiscal 2014-15 and fiscal 2015-16 or to defer the whole thing until fiscal 2015-16 if the state's finances warrant it.

Local 1000, the first union to reach a deal, is receiving a cumulative 4.5 percent raise with the same deferral terms.

The raises for about 5,000 employees represented by the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians will account for $15.4 million, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office report released Friday.

Increased employer contributions to health insurance will add another $14.1 million over the life of the agreement. Those contributions will roughly equal 80 percent of the premiums' cost. The contract also reduces waiting times to one year for employees to add dependents to medical coverage, a $200,000 state cost increase that starts in 2015-16, the analyst says.

The association's contract also calls for an increase in travel reimbursement rates and evening and night shift differentials. Neither add much to the state's employee costs -- about $400,000 over the life of the contract.

The shift differential money doesn't count toward pension calculations. Under the expired contract, it did. A new trend?

For context, salaries for state employees under the governor's authority will cost an estimated $15.3 billion this year. That figure doesn't include benefits.

Here's the LAO's review of the CAPT contract:

July 18, 2013
Column Extra: The first try at CHP pay parity

Our column in today's Bee takes on the question: How did CHP officers' pay become set by law?

The answer is a story than spans four decades, Republican and Democratic governors and battles wages in the statehouse, the courthouse and the ballot box.

Ironically, Caifornia voters rejected a measure to guarantee CHP officers receive pay comparable to the maximum paid their counterparts statewide. Gov. (and former actors' union president) Ronald Reagan signed the first CHP pay parity law.

The documents below include the 1972 ballot measure's title and summary in a letter from then-Attorney General Evelle Younger to -- that's right -- former Secretary of State Jerry Brown.

Proposition 16 Title and Summary

July 16, 2013
University of California, AFSCME contract talks deadlocked

130716-AFSCME_UC_REGENTS_Protest.JPGDespite more than a year of bargaining, a two-day strike and union accusations that its medical facilities are understaffed and poorly managed, the University of California's contract talks for its 15,000 hospital workers remain deadlocked.

Now the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 says it's prepared to make concessions on pensions, including higher contributions from all workers and later retirement ages for future hires, but it wants the UC to hire more hospital employees and cap high-end pensions.

July 3, 2013
What California state workers earn: Psychiatric technicians

RCB_SHARON_VISITS_NAPA_ID.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

Although Ken Murch retired in 2012 after decades as the executive director of the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians, he returned this year to bargain for the union. It's a plus for CAPT. Murch and Gov. Jerry Brown have a relationship that dates back to the governor's first go-round in office.

Meanwhile, California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Diana Dooley has established a task force that will consider the future of state's developmental center system. Many of California's psychiatric technicians work at the four large developmental centers and one small community facility that serve roughly 1,500 residents with an annual budget of $545 million.

Number of employees in 2012: 5,484
2012 average pay: $48,525
2012 median pay: $56,430

Number of employees in 2011: 5,627
2011 average pay: $46,833
2011 median pay: $53,418

2012 Largest job class: Psychiatric Technician (Safety) (2,858)
Highest paid job class (2012 average): Psychiatric Technician Instructor ($64,742)
Lowest paid job class (2012 average): Psychiatric Technician Training Candidate ($811)

This chart shows the average and median pay for Bargaining Unit 18 in 2011 and 2012.

With talks and ratification votes for new state employee contracts on the agenda over the next few weeks, The State Worker is taking a first-ever look at what unionized workers earned over the last two years by bargaining unit.

The numbers feeding the series come from the State Controller's payroll database. The figures include only regular pay issued to full-time employees represented by the 21 bargaining units that negotiate contracts with the state. The number of employees includes only full-time workers who were paid during the calendar year. University of California and California State University employee earnings are not included in these figures. The data covers calendar 2011 and 2012.

Check out The Bee's state worker pay database here.

PHOTO: Sharon Benda shows her license as ID to gain entry to visit her mentally ill son at the Napa State Hospital in Napa on Saturday September 4, 2004. The Sacramento Bee/Renee C. Byer.

July 2, 2013
What California state workers earn: Operating engineers

RCB_20121010TEENJOBS_0087.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

The International Union of Operating Engineers represents two state employee groups. Unit 12 covers craft and maintenance employees while Unit 13 bargains for stationary engineers.

Unit 12 negotiators, including president Tim Neep, have argued that the state needs to pay more to keep key employees who work on the massive State Water Project.

The Brown administration, according to the union, has resisted that push for fear of opening up the issue for other groups.

Here's what members of those two bargaining units earned over the last two years:

July 1, 2013
What California state workers earn: Scientists

RB_Salmon_10.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

For years, the California Association of Professional Scientists has argued that its members are underpaid, not only relative to counterparts in other governments and private business, but also when compared to what other state employees earn for doing exactly the same work.

The disparity has hit the union hard as its members leave for jobs represented by other unions, particularly engineer classifications.

CAPS also has filed a grievance over what it says are violations of its contractual telecommuting provisions.

A look at what state scientists earned in the last two years:

July 1, 2013
What California state workers earn: Engineers

20120814_HA_CATRANS0203.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

Professional Engineers in California Government was the last employee group to negotiate pay parity for its members with contracts that dramatically increased wages over a number of years.

But the last big pay bump was five years ago. Since then, PECG has fought to hold the line on wages and curtail outsourced engineering and inspection contracts, and also has battled furloughs all the way to the state Supreme Court. Now union leaders say it's time to look again at what members earn compared to their local- and regional-government counterparts and boost travel reimbursements that have been stagnant for many years. (Oh, and the union also wants managers to earn more, since wages tend to roll downhill.)

Here is a look at what state engineers earned in the last two years:

June 28, 2013
What California state workers earn: Firefighters

RP_FIRE_TRAINI_G_MCCLOUD.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

Like California Highway Patrol officers, the state's firefighters avoided furloughs during Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration.

When Gov. Jerry Brown insisted that all unions accept furloughs of one day per month last summer, the firefighters' union went along -- and it got a four-year contract extension out of the deal.

Here's what California Department of Forestry Firefighters' members earned over the last two years:

June 28, 2013
What California state workers earn: Law enforcement

RB_Memorial_3.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association stubbed its toe during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign when it endorsed Republican Meg Whitman and became the subject of an embarassing voice mail recording from candidate Jerry Brown's camp.

Observers, this blog included, thought that CSLEA would be the last union to reach a contract in 2010 because of the infamous "whore" incident, but that distinction went to the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

Still, the fallout from the campaign incident continued long after the election. And the special agents, wardens and park rangers it covers are on a never-ending quest to split away from CSLEA, convinced that their pay is being held back by the union's representation of non-sworn employees in the union, such as dairy inspectors.

June 27, 2013
What California state workers earn: Prison and parole officers

DS_PRISON_OFFICER.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

Perhaps no union worked harder to curry Gov. Jerry Brown's favor in 2010 than the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

The union put in $1.8 million into an independent campaign to return Brown to office, invited him to CCPOA's annual convention in Las Vegas (the Democratic governor accepted) and didn't declare war on Brown's plan to shrink the state prison system and shift parole duties to local governments.

CCPOA reached agreement on a contract with Brown in 2010 after years of working under terms imposed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. That pact, like most of the others covering state employees, expires at the beginning of July.

A look at what CCPOA members earned in calendar 2011 and 2012:

June 26, 2013
What California state workers earn: State lawyers

LS_ALBERTA_LEE_UC_Davis_Law_Library.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

California's state attorneys are paid far less than their counterparts in local governments and the private sector. The union, one of the smallest bargaining units in the state, for years has argued for pay parity with little success.

In the last few years the union has taken a different tack by aggressively fighting contracts that outsource legal work it says should go to its members.

Here are pay numbers for California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment , Bargaining Unit 2:

June 24, 2013
What California state workers earn: SEIU Local 1000, part 2

San_Quentin_State_Prison_Nurse.jpgBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

With talks and ratification votes for new state employee contracts on the agenda over the next few weeks, The State Worker is looking at what unionized workers earned over the last two years by bargaining unit.

The numbers feeding the series come from the state controller's payroll database. The figures include only regular pay issued to full-time employees represented by the 21 bargaining units that negotiate contracts with the state. University of California and California State University employee earnings are not included in these figures. The data cover the calendar years 2011 and 2012.

SEIU Local 1000, bargaining units 15, 17, 20 and 21. (Click here for info about Local 1000 units 1, 3, 4, 11 and 14.)

Now, SEIU Local 1000, bargaining units 15, 17, 20, and 21.

June 21, 2013
What California state workers earn: SEIU Local 1000, part 1

JM_STATE_DIGITAL_ARCHIVE.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

With talks and ratification votes for new state employee contracts on the agenda over the next few weeks, The State Worker is taking a first-ever look at what unionized workers earned over the last two years by bargaining unit.

The numbers feeding the series come from the state controller's payroll database. The figures include only regular pay issued to full-time employees represented by the 21 bargaining units that negotiate contracts with the state. University of California and California State University employee earnings are not included in these figures. The data cover the calendar years of 2011 and 2012.

First up: SEIU Local 1000, bargaining units 1, 3, 4, 11 and 14.

June 17, 2013
California finance director will decide when state raises kick in

matosantos.jpgState workers, welcome to the back of the line.

The tentative agreement covering 95,000 state employees represented by SEIU Local 1000 includes a 4.5 percent raise spread over two years starting in mid-2014.

But the deal includes a contingency that puts employee pay raises below the state's other obligations and leaves it to the finance director, currently Ana Matosantos, to make the decision.

Here's the caveat in the Local 1000 tentative agreement posted online last week:

June 17, 2013
SEIU deal increases state worker costs by nearly $735 million

The tentative agreement hammered out between Gov. Jerry Brown and SEIU Local 1000 will add roughly $734.8 million over three years to California's compensation costs for the 95,000 employees the deal covers.

Put another way, the state's average cost per employee would increase under the proposal by roughly $7,700 -- $210 per month from July 2013 through June 2016. Union members must ratify the pact before it can take effect.

Raises phased in over the last two years of the deal account for the bulk of the money, according to estimates released last week by Brown's Department of Human Resources.

A planned 2 percent raise in fiscal 2014-15 would add a total of $262.5 million over two years. A second 2.5 percent pay increase anticipated in fiscal 2015-16 adds another $167.4 million for that year.

Higher health benefits costs will add another $271 million. Raises for seasonal clerks, employee pay differentials and a few other relatively minor items make up the balance.

Meanwhile, the state will save $2.79 million over the contract's three years because new CalPERS members will be under the lower-benefits, higher pension-contribution formulas mandated by the 2012 pension-change law.

The documents:
CalHR's summary of the contract
The summary of the contract's cost (total costs are in the "total budgetary" column on the right)

The Bargaining Unit 1 tentative agreement is posted below. Click here for links to tentative agreements covering all nine state bargaining units under SEIU.

June 11, 2013
What triggers raises in CA state worker union contract?

First there were "trigger cuts." Now, trigger raises.

The tentative agreement reached between Gov. Jerry Brown and SEIU Local 1000 features a deferred raise of 4.5 percent over three years, but it's timing depends on the state's financial health. The agreement requires approval by the union's members before it takes effect.

"Revenues have to be consistent with meeting the state's obligations," said Pat McConahay, spokeswoman for Brown's Department of Human Resources, "and that's determined by the Department of Finance."

Brown, speaking to reporters this afternoon about the state budget deal reached with Democrats in the Legislature, said the SEIU agreement is "a fair proposal and I hope it will be ratified."

By linking pay raises to higher revenue, the agreement reflects the same sort of trigger thinking that characterized the 2012-13 state budget. That deal would have automatically cut spending for a wide variety of programs last December if state voters had not approved tax increases.

The governor and public employee unions leveraged the threat of trigger cuts when they pushed for Proposition 30 and voters approved the measure by a wide margin.

SEIU Local 1000 hasn't returned phone messages and texts seeking comment on the deal announced early this morning.

Bruce Blanning, the long-time executive director of the state engineers' union, said that he has seen state labor proposals contingent on certain economic factors in the past, but that they weren't put into contracts.

"They were too difficult to measure," Blanning said.

June 11, 2013
SEIU Local 1000 says tentative labor agreement includes raises

20120620_HA_WALKER0083.JPGThe state's largest public employees union says it bargained a new contract with Gov. Jerry Brown that includes an across-the-board pay raise of 4.5 percent over 3 years.

The contract, which must be ratified by voting members of the 95,000-employee of SEIU Local 1000, provides either a 2 percent raise July 1, 2014 and a 2.5 percent raise a year later if the state "achieves certain revenue targets," according to an early-morning union email announcing the deal.

If the state misses the revenue targets, the entire 4.5 percent increase would be effective July 1, 2015.

The announcement, emailed this morning around 5 a.m., doesn't detail the revenue thresholds for the pay increases. A spokeswoman for Brown's Department of Human Resources could not be immediately reached for comment.

The agreement falls short of the pay increases that local negotiators wanted: an across-the-board $2,500 bonus this year for all 95,000 state employees covered by Local 1000, followed by a 7 percent salary increase in 2014 and 9 percent boost the following year.

After talks stalled last week, Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said "the fight is on" over money.

PHOTO: SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker. Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

June 6, 2013
Column Extra: California state unions veer around 'Jerry Brown'

20130605_HA_SEIU0601.JPGOur State Worker column in today's Bee looks at Wednesday's SEIU Local 1000 rally and how it underscores tension for state employee labor and the local in particular as it negotiates new contracts: How do you push back against Gov. Jerry Brown?

Unions tend to separate the governor himself from the administrative machinery of governing when disagreements arise. Unlike their highly personal public criticisms of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger during the height of his battles with labor, union leaders tend to place blame anywhere but on Brown personally.

Local 1000, for example, has called out "the state's bargaining team" for rejecting bonus and pay raise proposals. Of course, that's a reference to the Department of Human Resources, which is under Brown's authority.

Last year, the state's engineers and scientists filed a grievance over furloughs, but blamed the matter on Schwarzenegger, even though the events in question involved Brown's budget.

PHOTO: Robert Walsh of San Diego, a state lottery worker, holds a sign expressing his feelings about Gov. Jerry Brown as state workers wearing purple shirts rally at the Capitol in support of a raise on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

June 5, 2013
SEIU 1000 president: Contract 'fight is on' with Jerry Brown

20120620_HA_WALKER0083.JPGThe head of the state's largest public employee union has told its members that contract talks with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration have snagged over money.

"The fight is on," SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said in a statement issued just a few hours today before a Capitol rally expected to draw several thousand state employees in Sacramento.

Brown's labor relations arm, the Department of Personnel Administration, has been telling SEIU and nine other unions in bargaing talks that new labor contracts must be "cost-neutral," despite the state's improving budget picture. The pacts all expire on July 1, 2 or 3.

"Our members do not lead 'cost-neutral' lives, and we will not end this contract without money," Walker said.

The union said that the administration rejected a proposed pay increase across the board for Local 1000 members and nine other money proposals that its negotiators have brought to the table.

CalHR spokeswoman Pat McConahay declined to respond to the union's characterization of bargaining talks.

"We do not comment on ongoing negotiations," McConahay said.

PHOTO CREDIT: SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee 2012 file

May 10, 2013
University of California wants court to stop hospital strike

130419-UC-Davis-Med-Center-Pench-2012.jpgThe University of California said today that it will ask a judge to keep hospital workers from striking later this month.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 says its members will walk off the job at the university system's five hospitals May 21 and May 22.

UC officials and the union have been in negotiations since last summer for a new contract covering some 13,000 patient care workers. The contract expired Oct. 1, and the contentious talks deadlocked earlier this year.

AFSCME says it's fighting to fix unsafe hospital conditions and foolish spending by high-level university officials who enrich themselves while seeking cuts to employee compensation.

The university counters that the union's real aim is to avoid new state laws that significantly reduce retirement benefits for new pension-system members.

This isn't the first time that AFSCME Local 3299 has threatened a walkout. In 2008, the union called a strike at all five UC medical centers. A San Francisco Superior Court judge issued a restraining order. The union ignored it and walked off the job for five days in July that year.

April 19, 2013
Union schedules strike vote for University of California workers

130419-UC-Davis-Med-Center-Pench-2012.jpgThe American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has scheduled a strike vote for the University of California hospital employees it represents.

AFSCME Local 3299 said in a press release that it will hold the vote for three days starting April 30.

The union's 13,000, patient care assistants, vocational nurses and radiology technicians and other hospital staff at the UC's five medical centers have been without a contract since October.

With talks at a standstill, the union released a report earlier this year that claimed the UC hospital system has sacrificed patient care for money, recklessly run up debt and enriches administrators while understaffing front-line care positions. University system officials dismissed the charges as a bargaining ploy.

PHOTO CREDIT: UC Davis Medical Center. Randy Pench / Sacramento Bee 2012 file

February 21, 2013
Brown aide defends pension reform for mass-transit workers

Thumbnail image for 130221 Morgenstern.JPGA top administration official has weighed in on a federal fight over the public pension law Gov. Jerry Brown signed last year law and whether it puts at risk billions of federal grant dollars.

In a letter last week, Brown's Labor Secretary Marty Morgenstern told the U.S. Department of Labor that the new pension law doesn't diminish mass-transit workers' collective bargaining rights, a prerequisite of the federal money.

"My legal staff and I have reviewed this matter carefully," Morgenstern wrote, concluding the law "merely modifies" the public pension plans that state and local government employers can offer.

The Public Employee Pension Reform Act caps benefits, hikes employee contributions and offers less generous formulas for employees hired Jan. 1 and later. Unions representing roughly 20,000 mass-transit workers in California contend the benefit terms that must be negotiated, not imposed.

February 12, 2013
California state HR department sets contract 'sunshine' dates

130212 CalHR logo.JPGThe California Department of Human Resources has announced three dates for unions to deliver their initial labor contract proposals and to allow public comment on them.

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.

January 11, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Jerry Brown tells unions to brace for cuts

countdown 2.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

With California's economy slow to rebound, the Brown administration held a series of secret meetings in the warming days of May to tell state employee union leaders that cuts in his 2012-13 budget revision would include about $800 million from compensation costs.

Brown was confronting converging issues: The state budget deficit had grown since his January budget draft, which didn't include the payroll cuts. He wanted to voters to approve a tax hike measure and the effort would be made tougher if state employees were spared from the same fiscal ax he was applying to social services and schools.

Some state workers thought Brown's whispers to the unions were treasonous. Isn't he a Democrat? Hasn't he said that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furloughs were a bad idea? And now he's leaning on furloughs???

But eventually, 19 of 21 bargaining units negotiated a monthly furlough day with the administration. Lawmakers imposed the unpaid time off on two bargaining units that held out.

Furloughs are scheduled to end June 30 of this year and, since voters approved Brown's tax measure, the 2013-14 budget is in better shape. (Brown says there's no deficit. Others disagree.) The governor's new budget plan avoids extending any state employee compensation cuts into the next fiscal year.

Here's the post that some state workers thought they'd never see: Jerry Brown tells unions to brace for California state worker pay cuts

January 4, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Jerry Brown proposes 4-day work week

countdown 5.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

As Democratic candidate for governor in 2010, Jerry Brown said that state worker furloughs were a bad idea. But as a governor confronted with a $16 billion budget deficit in 2012, he offered up a modified version of the policy last summer -- a four-day, 38-hour work week that would cut state employees' pay by the same amount as one furlough day per month.

(The administration protested when media accounts used "furlough" to describe the short work-week plan.)

Critics noted that Utah saw workplace productivity drop off when state employees there went to a 4/10 weekly schedule. Others wondered how departments closed on Fridays or Mondays would do business with private businesses and other government entities that ran on a five-day work schedule. And what about months with five Mondays or Fridays?

Brown eventually worked out an unpaid personal leave day program -- don't call it a furlough program! -- with most state employee unions and imposed it on the holdouts.

Here's the breaking news post from May 14, ranking No. 5 on the State Worker's most-viewed items of 2012:
Jerry Brown's budget proposes longer days, shorter weeks for state workers.

January 2, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: U.S. Supreme Court rules against SEIU

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for countdown 8.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

In a year that saw government unions sustain losses in Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere, perhaps the biggest hit that a California public labor organization took in 2012 came out of Washington, D.C.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that SEIU Local 1000 didn't appropriately notify members and fair-share payers when it temporarily raised fees in 2005 and 2006. The 7-2 decision in Knox v. SEIU Local 1000 further defined the law requiring unions give nonmembers in closed-shop workplaces a chance to opt out of unexpected fee increases or special assessments.

The news of the court's decision was quickly drowned out a few days later by Local 1000's deal with Gov. Jerry Brown to accept furloughs for the last year of the union's contract.

Here is 2012's No. 8 State Worker blog post: U.S. Supreme Court rules against SEIU Local 1000 in fee case

November 7, 2012
Now that Prop. 32 has lost and Prop. 30 has won, what next?

As we reported in the wee hours this morning, Proposition 32 has lost and Proposition 30, Jerry Brown's tax increase measure, has won.

When we asked State Worker blog users last week to forecast the votes on the politically linked measures, 34 percent of you correctly predicted the outcome.

Now here's a new question for you to ponder:


October 12, 2012
Court overturns raises for SEIU Local 1000-represented medical staff

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgSacramento's 3rd District Court of Appeal today ruled for the state and against SEIU Local 1000 in a dispute over pay raises for Corrections Department medical staff.

An arbitrator and a superior court judge had ruled that the negotiated raises were valid. The appellate court said today that the raises weren't valid because the Legislature didn't sign off on them.

SEIU Local 1000 declined to comment on the ruling.

The case dates back to 2006 and agreements negotiated between then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Local 1000.

October 4, 2012
Column Extra: Three cheers for union workers!

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Our column in today's Bee mentions a few lessons that public employees can draw from the events leading to the recent NFL labor agreement with the union that represents its referees. When you strip away the sports entertainment aspect of the story, what's left is a private-sector union representing 121 part-time entertainment regulators who have been earning an average $149,000 per year with pension benefits.

The public would be appalled with those terms in a public-sector union contract, but as the video below shows, football fans absolutely gushed when the refs' lockout ended last week. We assume that most didn't know the new deal increases referees' average annual pay by 38 percent over seven years, offset by a phase-out of defined benefit pensions. And if fans did know, would they care?

August 9, 2012
Column Extra: California's state worker layoff process

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Today's State Worker column references the complexity of the state's process for laying off employees. Using the flowchart below, we came up with 14 steps: three before a department announces a layoff and 11 steps during and after -- and that doesn't include what CalHR has to do.

The process is negotiated with unions. Here's a chart that lays it out, backed by nine pages of explanation:

August 9, 2012
Column Extra poll: Furloughs versus layoffs in California

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Our State Worker column today looks at why state employee unions may agree to speed up the layoff process in exchange for a no-furlough guarantee when labor contract talks commence next year.

Clearly, the best scenario for state employees would be pay raises, not any sort of pay reduction. And state workers and the unions say the state needs to pay more attention to soaring outsourcing costs.

But if the state budget continues to struggle and Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature again force the unions to accept some sort of payroll cut in fiscal 2013-14 to help close another deficit, what's the least-bad solution?


July 23, 2012
From the notebook: A student assistant comments on her impending layoff, tuition hikes and job prospects

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe never get all of what we learn into a news story, but this blog can give users the data, the notes and the quotes from the notebook that informed what was published.

Our story in today's Bee takes a closer look at the state's plan to ax hundreds of its student assistants at the end of next month, in keeping with a furlough agreement Gov. Jerry Brown reached with SEIU Local 1000 lastt month.

In the course of reporting, we talked to about a dozen students and corresponded via email with about the same number.

Here's one of those emails from Sacramento State student Heidi Temple. We're posting her words here unedited and with her permission. She was speaking for herself, not her colleagues, supervisors or her employer:

July 20, 2012
Only about 5 percent of SEIU Local 1000 voted for furlough ratification

120508 Yvonne Walker 2008 brian baer.JPGAbout 5 percent of the 93,000 workers represented by SEIU Local 1000 voted for a recent agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown that included a new round of furloughs for one year.

According to union sources familiar with the June 27 vote, 7,223 members cast ballots. Local 1000 officials didn't respond to several requests to confirm or deny the number. On July 3 the unions did announce that 65.76 percent of the votes supported the agreement. That means 4,750 Local 1000 members supported the deal.

The side-letter ratification process was unusual for several reasons.

July 19, 2012
Column Extra: Arnold Schwarzenegger's pitch on banking leave

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Today's column looks at the Parks Department leave scandal as a failure of management. In fact, if you talk to anyone who has looked at the issue of excessive state leave accrual, a common comment you'll hear is that it's primarily a management problem.

State policymakers have been talking about fixing it for years. Here's a proposal that the old Department of Personnel Administration made to SEIU Local 1000 back in 2005. The same proposal went out to all the unions that year, but it fell flat. The unions pointed out that the growing leave-balance problem was a management issue, not a rank-and-file problem. Managers pushed back. The idea fell flat.

Side note: The two sides did eventually agree that year on using a highest three-year average to calculate pensions for future hires.

Scroll down to Article 8 at the top of page 3:
DPA's 2005 bargaining proposals to SEIU Local 1000

July 11, 2012
Jerry Brown administration issues furlough orders for holdout California state worker unions

blanning.jpegIt's official. Gov. Jerry Brown has accomplished what his predecessor couldn't: All state workers under the governor's authority are now furloughed.

Despite Brown's long-time criticism of furloughs as a bad business practice for the state, his Department of Human Resources (the former Department of Personnel Administration) last week issued a memo to government personnel officers detailing how to execute a 4.62-percent cut in the hours and pay for employees whose unions didn't negotiate a salary reduction with Brown.

The memo applies to about 11,000 state engineers in Bargaining Unit 9, most of whom work for Caltrans, and another 900 or so heavy machinery operators in Bargaining Unit 13.

Although the state's furlough memo applies retroactively to July 1, the Brown administration is still open to a negotiated reduction, said CalHR spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley.

"We've certainly left the door open," Jolley said.

Bruce Blanning, executive director of Professional Engineers in California Government, said that the union is continuing to talk with the Brown administration. In the meantime, it has told members to comply with the furlough policy, even though PECG may later fight it in court.

"We've told them to take days off if they're told to," Blanning said. "Obey now, grieve later. Anything else would be insubordination."

Still, Blanning said, "We'd prefer to work it out."

July 5, 2012
Budget ends furlough protections for State Compensation Insurance Fund employees

California's state attorney's union launched its furlough agreement ratification today. While it's 3,700 or so members ponder their vote, several hundred who work at the State Compensation Insurance Fund face a new reality: They're no longer protected from furloughs.

Lawyers representing the state attorneys' union and SEIU Local 1000 employees won several court cases that turned back furloughs and restored lost pay for employees at the self-sustaining fund by relying on a state law that protects them from "staff cutbacks." Nearly 8,000 State Fund workers were wrongly furloughed, the courts said.

This time around, however, things are different.

July 5, 2012
Column Extra poll: More state labor concessions down the road?

Today's State Worker column looks ahead at what accepting furloughs while under contract means for state employee unions next year.

Our conclusion: Unless voters approve Gov. Jerry Brown's tax hike on the November ballot, state employees will likely face more furloughs in the 2013-14 budget year. If the unions were willing to do it while under contract this year, how can they resist pay reductions next year when nearly all bargaining units' agreements expire July 1, 2 or 3, 2013?



July 5, 2012
From the notebook: More about the union furlough agreements

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

Here are some interview quotes that didn't get into Tuesday's Sacramento Bee story on the SEIU Local 1000 ratification vote on the side-letter furlough deal with Gov. Jerry Brown:

July 3, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 members vote to accept furloughs

SEIU Local 1000 has announced that 65.76 percent of its members have approved a furlough agreement reached with Gov. Jerry Brown last month that assigns them them 12 unpaid days off over the fiscal year that started on Sunday.

The union announced the results on its website this morning, a day later than it had promised last week when it announced that members would have one day to vote at one of more than 80 polling places around the state. It did not release the raw tally of the votes in its announcement this morning.

"Because Local 1000 chose to negotiate with the governor rather than let our members be subject to imposed furloughs, we were able to achieve important solutions that went beyond a pay reduction in exchange for time off," Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said in a statement posted this morning on the union's website.

The agreement requires the state to purge its payroll of all student assistants and "non mission-critical" retired annuitants by Sept. 1. The state won't hire either again while Local 1000-covered workers are on furlough.

The deal also sets up a task force that will regularly review outsourced service contracts.

The vote affirms a cost-cutting move that the Brown administration estimates will save the state some $839 million, about $401 million of that payroll relief to the general fund. SEIU's agreement is key to achieving the savings because the union covers 93,000 employees, roughly half the state's unionized workforce.

Many state workers were angry when Brown figured those savings into his May budget revision, since they are under two- or three-year contracts that already included a year of furloughs and remain in effect through June of next year.

Some SEIU workers were particularly upset, thinking that Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker had privately assured Brown that she could deliver the pay cut. Walker said that she had suggested going to a four-day, 10-hours-per-day workweek which Brown "tweaked" to a 4/38 schedule. That essentially amounted to a two-hours-per-week furlough that reached the 5 percent pay cut the governor sought.

Eventually, Local 1000 negotiators pressed for a more conventional floating furlough day that cut state employees' monthly pay by nearly 5 percent but allowed some flexibility with when they took the time off. Several other unions had previously agreed to similar furloughs, including, for the first time, groups representing CHP officers and state fire fighters.

June 26, 2012
Defining 'mission critical' retired annuitants in California's state workforce

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

So what's a "mission critical" retired annuitant, anyway?

We'll soon find out. As we've reported, the horse-trading between Gov. Jerry Brown and SEIU Local 1000 over furloughs included a mandate that departments purge their payrolls of RAs by Sept. 1. Only those deemed mission critical -- in other words, people whose departure would impair the normal function of the organization -- will be exempt.

June 25, 2012
Poll: Will SEIU Local 1000 members vote for a pay cut?

As reported here, SEIU Local 1000 will let members cast ballots on Wednesday to register where they stand on a new furlough agreement negotiated with Gov. Jerry Brown.

The results of the vote will be announced on July 2. How do you think it will turn out?

June 22, 2012
Jerry Brown reaches furlough deal with California state doctors, dentists

The Union of American Physician and Dentists has agreed to an 8-hours-per-month furlough for its members that will begin July 1.

The agreement covers roughly 1,800 doctors and dentists. The union has posted the details of the side letter that avoids reopening the union's full contract. Under the terms of the so-called "personal leave program," or PLP, the state deducts 4.62 percent of gross pay from each employee's monthly paycheck. They have some flexibility to schedule the time off, according to the union's summary of the agreement:

PLP 2012 must be used in the month in which it is earned. PLP 2012 shall be requested and used by the employee in the same manner as vacation or annual leave. If the employee has not submitted a PLP 2012 leave request by the 20th of the month in which PLP 2012 is accrued, the time shall be scheduled by his/her supervisor. When this is not operationally feasible, PLP 2012 shall be used before any other leave except sick leave.

That provision lines up with furlough deals recently accepted by other groups, including state fire fighters and Highway Patrol officers. UAPD is the sixth state employees' union to accept furloughs that will contribute to an estimated $839 million in payroll savings during the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Brown also agreed to create a Contracting Out Committee comprised of four UAPD representatives and four state officials. The "CoCo" will meet at least once every two months with an agenda to curb state job outsourcing.

The state's largest public employees' union, SEIU Local 1000, has been in talks with Brown for two weeks, but hasn't yet announced a furlough agreement.

Click here to open UAPD's summary of the side-letter deal.

June 20, 2012
State worker calls on SEIU Local 1000 leaders to 'force the state to honor our contract'

Thumbnail image for 120130 Yvonne Walker 2008.JPGHere's an email from state employee Paul Warrick to SEIU Local 1000 leaders regarding the 5-percent pay reduction that union and Brown administration negotiators have been discussing since June 9.

Warrick cc'd The State Worker on Tuesday when he sent the email to Local 1000. With his permission, we're publishing it here, unedited:

Dear President Walker and SEIU 1000 Board Members,

Thousands of state workers are concerned that you won't stand up for us, and force the state to honor our contract. You need only mention the furloughs of the two years preceding our current contract, our increased contribution towards our retirement, the rare Unit 1 cost of living adjustments over the last decade- plus, and the scaling back of benefits for new employees to completely justify a firm stand.

We are sick and tired of the threats of layoffs. We don't want new employees to be laid off, but those of us who have been here for the long haul are weary of layoffs being characterized as our responsibility, when it is not.

Please don't act complicity with the Governor by continuing to further sacrifice our benefits and wages for political appearances aimed at persuading the electorate to support the Governor's tax increase in November.

When the Governor begins his campaign for the tax initiative, his recitation of cuts and concessions mentioned in the first paragraph above is more than sufficient to illustrate that rank and file state employees have done their fair share in these tough economic times.

Besides, the electorate are clamoring for pension reform, not more furloughs. They won't be impressed.

PHOTO: Yvonne Walker / Sacramento Bee 2008 file, Brian Baer

June 15, 2012
Correctional officers, firefighters, psych techs, Jerry Brown tentatively agree to furloughs

State firefighters, correctional officers and psychiatric technicians will take a 5 percent pay hit starting next month under agreements their unions reached Friday with Gov. Jerry Brown.

The news came at the end of a week that saw several unions engaged in intense negotiations with the administration over the wage reduction. The largest group, the 93,000-member SEIU Local 1000, had submitted a proposal to Brown but as of this afternoon had yet to finalize the deal.

The agreements with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the California Department of Forestry Firefighters and the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians all mirror a deal reached with the CHP officers' union last week. Under those terms, employees' pay is docked eight hours per month for one year, but the time can be taken later.

The deal with the firefighters marks the first time that group has been furloughed since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger launched the policy in February 2009.

Firefighters' union spokesman Terry McHale said that members have "given and continue to give" with budget hits to department staffing and equipment the last few years.

"We understand the tenor of the times," McHale said.

Spokesman JeVaughn Baker declined to talk specifics about CCPOA's deal with Brown until the union's leadership could evaluate it.


June 14, 2012
CA budget bill deletes state worker furlough language -- for now

Thumbnail image for assembly seal.gifThe Legislature's 2012-13 state budget proposal eliminates language that Gov. Jerry Brown proposed that would have allowed him to furlough or make other payroll-cutting moves against rank-and-file state workers if their unions refused to negotiate a 5 percent pay reduction.

The unions have been pushing Democrats in the Legislature to make the change, which strengthens their position in negotiations with the administration to cut a total $839 million from the state's payroll costs.

Lawmakers could make more language tweaks between now and Friday's budget deadline or later enact legislation that restores some or all of the authority Brown wanted.

The budget language indicates that Democrats are hoping that all the unions will negotiate payroll reductions for the coming budget year without legislative intervention. But just as the union's hand is strengthened at the bargaining table now, Brown's position is weakened. The unions, which all have current contracts, could view the watered-down bill as a reason to seek more at the table, give Brown less or refuse any pay-cut deal at all.

There's a question in this for Brown, too: How much does he want explicit authorization to enact payroll reductions if bargaining fails? Is he willing to veto a budget that fails to give him that leverage? Or is he certain that all the unions will accept a 5 percent pay reduction even if there's no imposed furlough threat backing him up?

Here's the pertinent language in Assembly Bill 1464 and Senate Bill 1004, which was released this morning. We've underlined the key phrase:

June 14, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 waiting for Jerry Brown to respond to its furlough offer

SEIU Local 1000 has submitted a pay- and cost-reduction proposal to the Brown administration that includes flexible furloughs, but as of this morning has not received a response.

"Local 1000 has proposed that any reduction in pay would be in exchange for time off," the union said in an online statement. "Our proposal would maximize flexibility in how members take their time off."

The union also wants the administration to create a task force "with real authority to cut private contracting," and reduce the ranks of state retired annuitants and student assistants.

June 13, 2012
From the notebook: Read the 'lost' passages from California retired annuitants story

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

Today's story about the costs and politics of how the state uses retired annuitants in today's Bee is the product of two days of number-crunching and interviews, most of which didn't see print.

That's often the case when reporting complex stories. Reporters and editors sift through what's known and written, making dozens of decisions about what to leave in and what to take out.

We made a decision to take out the following paragraphs from today's piece, concluding that they were probably number-heavy details that general readers either wouldn't easily follow or care about.

State Worker blog users, however, tend to be more knowledgeable about the fine details of state government and the bureaucracy. So rather deleting these paragraphs forever, we thought they would make for good blog item:

... Some agencies relied relatively little on retirees. The California Department of Transportation, the Highway Patrol and the State Compensation Insurance Fund spent less than 0.1 percent of total payroll last year on retired annuitants.

Others relied more on them. The departments of Mental Health, Water Resources and Social Services all spent at least 1.4 percent of their payroll on retired annuitants - twice the statewide average.

Among moderately-sized agencies, Department of Community Services and Development spent about 12 percent of its payroll on 42 retired annuitants in calendar 2011, 17 times the state average and the highest rate of any department.

Spokeswoman Rachel Arrezola attributed that to heavy workloads triggered by federal monitoring standards for how the department is spending $275 million in Recovery Act money received a few years ago.

"Given the increased federal requirements, CSD needed temporary support to meet the temporary workload," Arrezola said.

Before that, the department employed just 13 retirees and currently has 27, about one-third the number of its regular state-employee staff.

"Our Recovery Act program will wrap up in December," Arrezola said. "We'll reduce the department's temporary support accordingly."

RELATED POST:
Audit: State could lose $93 million in Recovery Act money

June 12, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 pushes for trade: furloughs for tougher outsourcing rules

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 080811 Jerry Brown.JPGSEIU Local 1000 negotiators resumed bargaining with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration this morning, and are seeking cuts in outsourcing and ending the use of retired annuitants and student employees as conditions to accept a pay reduction.

The union said in a memo to members on its website that negotiators also want "maximum flexibility" for employees to take unpaid time off to meet Brown's goal to cut workers' hours and pay by 5 percent. The governor has suggested achieving the savings by putting state workers into a four-day workweek schedule of 9.5 hours per day, but is open to alternatives.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown / 2010 Sacramento Bee file, Hector Amezcua

June 11, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker holds online meeting on bargaining, Jerry Brown's furlough

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Yvonne_Walker_small.jpgSEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker held an online town hall meeting on Saturday to discuss negotiations with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration over his proposal to cut employees' hours and pay by roughly 5 percent per month.

Formal talks started that day and continued Sunday. There's been no word on the status of the discussions or any agreement between the state's largest public employee's union and the administration.

In the following video, Walker says the union first proposed a four-day, 10-hours-per-day workweek, but that Brown's May budget revision give it a "twist": four 9.5-hour days.

Still, Walker gives Brown credit for including organized labor in his budget plans, for explaining to the unions why he wants $839 million in employee compensation cuts ($401 million from general fund wages) and for negotiating with the unions.

"I'm going to be honest with you. The 5 percent cut, that's real," Walker said, "But what's not real is how you get there. I think the bargaining teams have been spending a lot of time over this past week trying to get to that dollar amount in different ways."

June 8, 2012
Unions meeting with Brown administration on 5 percent cut

Look for a series of announcements in the next few days from Gov. Jerry Brown and several bargaining units that they have reached agreements to reduce employees' compensation.

Brown proposed putting most state workers on 9.5-hour shifts four days per week and closing departments on either Fridays or Mondays. Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Marty Morgenstern has said that the administration wants the workweek furlough or equivalent cuts of 5 percent negotiated in time for scoring in the budget, which lawmakers must pass by June 15.

That doesn't leave much time.

SEIU Local 1000 is meeting with the administration Saturday. California Association of Psychiatric Technicians is meeting Tuesday. We've heard -- but haven't confirmed -- that other unions have already met with the administration and that deals with those groups will soon be announced.

June 8, 2012
State employees suggest alternatives to Jerry Brown's four-day-workweek furlough plan

The Association of California State Supervisors is running a poll on its website to gauge the popularity of various alternatives to Gov. Jerry Brown's four-day workweek proposal.

The Brown administration has said it will consider alternatives that accomplish the 5 percent cut in employee compensation costs the governor wants in the 2012-13 state budget, so ACSS asked its members for ideas and then used them for the online poll. The options include:

• Reinstituting the Personal Leave Program.
• Going to a one-day-per-month furlough.
• A five-day workweek with 7.5-hour shifts.
• Closing offices at 3 p.m. on Fridays.
• A 5 percent pay cut, working hours not impacted. (0.8 percent picked that option)
• Letting departments design their own savings plans.

June 4, 2012
From the notebook: More about the union challenge to Corrections' legal services contract

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

Our story in today's fiber/cyber editions of The Bee includes a reference to a request for the State Personnel Board to review a $5 million legal services contract between a private law firm and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment filed the request and the board overturned the contract, albeit so late that the law firm will continue its work until the agreement expires on June 30.

Here's the paper trail:

CASE's Feb. 14 request that the State Personnel Board review the contract
CDCR's Mar. 23 response to the request for contract review
CASE's Mar. 30 reply to CDCR's response
The State Personnel Board's decision to disapprove the contract

May 24, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 to start pay cut talks with Jerry Brown

In a letter to members this afternoon, SEIU Local 1000 officials said that they are preparing to negotiate with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration early next month, spurred by his proposal to put state workers on a 4/9.5 workweek that would cut their hours and pay by 5 percent.

The chairs of Local 1000's nine bargaining units said that whatever concessions they negotiate will be put in a "side letter" agreement. That would avoid reopening the local's contracts.

Ahead of that, union officials are soliciting savings ideas to offer as alternatives to Brown's furloughs. Next week the local will conduct an online survey of members.

The union's bargaining team will review all of that information ahead of negotiations scheduled to start June 9. Whatever agreement is reached at the table will go to the rank and file for a ratification vote.

Here's the union's rationale for bargaining cuts:

"As the elected leaders of all nine bargaining units within Local 1000, we agreed that it's better to be aggressive participants in the effort to find solutions to achieve savings. We intend to be part of the action, not acted upon.

"We could have said 'no,' and demanded that the governor honor our contract. By staying engaged, we minimize the potential for a huge number of layoffs and even deeper cuts in vital services, like education and the programs that serve California's most needy."

Here's the entire letter:

May 22, 2012
Poll: Adopt Jerry Brown's workweek plan or return to personal leave program?

Why not just extend the personal leave program?

It's a question that we've heard often in the last week as we sifted through emails from several hundred state workers reacting to Gov. Jerry Brown's 4/9.5 furlough plan to cut their pay by 5 percent through a 2-hours-per-week furlough.

Most of the calls, comments and emails about the policy fall into one of four groups: workers who would love the three-day weekends, workers who think the policy is a betrayal of their contracts, those who hate losing the pay and workers who think the switch would harm state functions.

(As we reported earlier, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has some issues with Brown's workweek proposal.)

Then there's a fifth camp asking, why not simply return to giving state workers a floating unpaid day off each month? Departments already know how to manage it because of furloughs and the so-called "personal leave program" that was a provision in most of the latest union contracts.

So what do you think?

May 17, 2012
Live chat today at noon will take on Jerry Brown's workweek plan

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for chat logo.jpgWhat does Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to restructure the state workweek mean for state workers and the public?

Is it a good idea or a bad idea? Will it really happen? What about other aspects of his plan to cut costs, like reducing outsourced work and eliminating hiring of retired annuitants?

Join us here at noon today for an hour of your questions and comments during what is sure to be a lively online chat about Brown's version of furloughs. You can even sign up for an email reminder at sacbee.com/live.

May 10, 2012
Union president says she told Jerry Brown: 'furloughs are off the table'

Thumbnail image for 120508 Yvonne Walker 2008 brian baer.JPGIn a memo to members today, SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said that she was consulted about Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to cut state employees' pay and that she drew a line at imposing unpaid time off on workers.

"First let me say that I have made it clear that furloughs are not on the table," Walker wrote.

She said that she has had several meetings with the administration and is continuing talks.

"Under the previous governor, our input was not sought, in fact, it was dismissed. Under Gov. Brown, we have a seat at the table," Walker's memo said. "We have offered our own proposals to deal with this crisis."

Among the suggestions: cutting private vendor contracts, eliminating the use of retired annuitants and, "if necessary, implementing a four-day, 40-hour work week."

PHOTO: Yvonne Walker / Sacramento Bee 2008, Brian Baer

May 9, 2012
Jerry Brown tells unions to brace for California state worker pay cuts

State workers' compensation is back on the budget chopping block.

Brown administration officials met with the state employee union leaders last week, according to sources familiar with the meetings, to warn them that the next version of the governor's budget will include an unspecified cut in employee costs up to 10 percent.

The administration in January estimated that California is confronting a $9.2 billion deficit through 2012-13, but a recent state analysis concluded the actual gap is considerably more.

The sources, who declined to talk on the record because the administration asked all involved to keep the discussions secret, said Brown told the unions he was seeking $750 million in state employee cost savings for fiscal 2012-13.

The sources said the Brown administration asked union leaders to come up with ways to make the reduction -- pay cuts or higher benefit contributions, for instance.

Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said, "The governor has already indicated that more difficult reductions will be required," because the state's budget deficit has grown since Brown issued his first budget proposal in January.

"The details of those reductions will be detailed in the May Revision," Palmer said.

The governor could order wholesale layoffs, but the civil service process usually takes at least six months and the savings often fall short of expectations.

Furloughs are an option only if the Senate and Assembly authorize Brown to execute them, because the courts have ruled the policy falls under the Legislature's authority to set wages and working conditions. That seems unlikely, given the Democratic majority in the statehouse.

Other cost savings such as outright pay cuts, higher employee contributions to pension or health benefits, would need to be bargained.

Last month Brown recently extended the contracts of four unions with deals set to expire in July. Two of the extensions covering about a total 16,000 psychiatric technicians and operating engineers increased the state's health benefits costs 9.5 percent for those workers.

With the four extensions in place, the contracts covering roughly all 180,000 unionized state workers expire in July 2013.

Brown is set to deliver the budget revision on Monday.

May 3, 2012
California Senate OKs state management pay analysis bill

The Senate this morning approved a measure that mandates the state report the costs of pay raises for supervisors and managers when analyzing union labor contracts.

Much of the time, managers and supervisors get similar employment terms to those negotiated for the employees they supervise. For example, if SEIU Local 1000 negotiates a 2 percent pay raise for its members, the related managers get the same.

But not always. The Department of Personnel Administration (and soon the new California Department of Human Resources) negotiates labor pacts and also sets the pay for excluded employees. By law, it must issue a fiscal analysis of what the negotiated contracts cost, but the department isn't required to do the same for related management compensation.

Senate Bill 1113 would mandate CalHR include analyses of the financial obligation for related excluded employees. The California Correctional Supervisors Organization, which is sponsoring the bill, says the measure would make employee costs more transparent.

Early versions of the bill also required the state to "address salary compaction and parity concerns for excluded employees," but that language was struck from the legislation the Senate OK'd today on a bipartisan 36-0 vote.

SB 1113, authored by Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, now goes to the Assembly.

April 9, 2012
Read the California state worker unions' contract extension letters

As we reported earlier today, four unions representing roughly 24,000 state workers have reached agreements with Gov. Jerry Brown to extend the terms of their current contracts, which are due to expire in a few months.

The agreements cover state employees in bargaining units 12 (skilled crafts workers), 16 (doctors and dentists), 18 (psychiatric technicians) and 19 (health and social services professionals).

Open a larger view of the contract extension letters embedded below by clicking the "full screen" button at the bottom of the document display.

Contract extentions for bargaining units 12, 16, 18 and 19

April 9, 2012
California state worker unions reach tentative labor pacts with Jerry Brown

Four unions representing a combined 24,000 state employees have reached tentative agreements with the Brown administration to extend their existing contracts for another year.

The unions represent state skilled crafts workers in IUOE, Bargaining Unit 12; doctors and dentists in UAPD, Unit 16; psychiatric technicians in CAPT, Unit 18; and health and social service professionals in Unit 19, which is represented by AFSCME.

All four groups are working under contracts that expire July 1. The extensions freeze the status quo for the unions until after potential ballot box decisions on a state tax hike in November, including one promoted by Gov. Jerry Brown. The deals also set up a scenario where the entire unionized state workforce, roughly 190,000 employees in 21 bargaining units, will be under labor pacts that expire on July 1, 2 or 3 of 2013.

Lynelle Jolley, spokeswoman for the Department of Personnel Administration confirmed the agreements contained in four one-page letters that roll over the terms of the four existing contracts. The letters aren't yet available, but as soon as they are, The State Worker will link to them or post them here.

March 9, 2012
AFSCME proposes extending state worker contract for one year

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2620 has proposed extending its expiring labor agreement for one year.

Cliff Leo Tillman Jr., Local 2620's senior business agent, made the initial proposal to Gov. Jerry Brown's administration in a letter (posted below) presented at yesterday's public "sunshine" meeting at the Department of Personnel Administration. State law requires the meetings to publicly air initial labor proposals and allow public comment on them.

AFSCME represents about 4,600 health and social service professionals in Bargaining Unit 19. Its contract expires July 2. State doctors, psychiatric technicians and skilled crafts employees and maintenance staff in three other bargaining units are working under contracts with the same expiration date. None have yet offered a formal initial proposal.

AFSCME's proposal clearly signals the union isn't going to press for pay raises or other big gains while Brown is trying to close a $9.2 billion state budget gap, but detailed talks will still occur behind closed doors later when state and labor negotiators meet.

It's no surprise that AFSCME has proposed extending its current deal. Click here for a recent State Worker column that explains why.
AFSCME contract rollover proposal

January 20, 2012
Four state unions, Jerry Brown administration to start bargaining

120119 negotiate.JPGDidn't we just do this?

With contracts covering tens of thousands of state employees set to expire this summer, the Department of Personnel Administration has scheduled meetings in February and March so that the government and four unions can publicly release their initial bargaining proposals.

Agreements with the International Union of Operating Engineers (Unit 12), the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (Unit 16), the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians (Unit 18) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Unit 19) expire July 1. The four groups represent roughly 24,000 state workers.

December 12, 2011
University of California, clerks' union agree to two-tier pensions

100831 calculator.JPGThe Coalition of University Employees - Teamsters Local 2010 and the University of California have agreed to a new labor contract that trades raises for a new pension plan tier and higher employee contribution costs for current employees and future hires.

The deal covers more than 12,500 university clerical staff, marking the end of tough bargaining talks that started in 2008.

November 11, 2011
State posts last three realignment agreements with unions

The Department of Personnel Administration earlier this week posted the contract addenda on realignment for the last three unions to sign agreements. The arrangements are intended to streamline the transfer process for Corrections and Rehabilitation employees and cut the department's cost as it downsizes.

Click the links below to download the documents:

Bargaining Unit 2 - California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment

Bargaining Unit 9 - Professional Engineers in California Government

Bargaining Unit 10 - California Association of Professional Scientists

November 7, 2011
Modesto residents take up pension reform proposals

Watch Modesto for an indication of the public's mood about public pension "reform." Residents of the Central Valley city on Tuesday consider three ballot measures that sound a lot like retirement changes proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown and others rolled out last week by the California Pension Reform group.

Measures Q, R and S, written by city councilman and mayoral candidate Brad Hawn, are non-binding advisory measures, but they would gauge the direction that that residents in the Stanislaus County seat think their officials should take labor negotiations.

Measure Q asks whether the city should transition from traditional defined benefit pensions for employees to defined contribution plans common in the private sector. Measure R asks whether the city should jettison the single-year salary factor for pension calculations in favor of a three-year salary average. Measure S asks voters to weigh in on increasing the minimum retirement age, which for most city employees is 55. Police officers and firefighters can start drawing pensions at age 50.

Click here for the measures' ballot language. Click here for the Stanislaus County sample ballot. Analyses and statements for and against Q, R and S start on PDF page 36.

Labor has launched local ads against the measures, including the one above that criticizes pushing back the retirement age for police.

Hat tip to Blog User S for alerting us to the union ad.

October 10, 2011
Union ratifies contracts with the University of California system

111010 University of California seal.jpgMembers of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 have overwhelmingly ratified contracts covering 20,000 patient care and service workers at the University of California's campuses and medical centers.

A union official didn't immediately return a call from The State Worker seeking more details about the ratification vote results.

Some of the contracts' highlights, according to a release by the university system:

August 31, 2011
Legislative Analyst issues summary of labor contract provisions


The Legislative Analyst's Office has issued a webcast and handout summarizing the major provisions of collective bargaining agreeements that lawmakers ratified in fiscal 2010-11.

Think of it as a sort of an analytical cleansing of the contractual palate as the first wave of state workers return to regular hours and pay after 31 months of furloughs and personal leave programs.

View the video above, read the summary below.
Summary of State Collective Bargaining Agreements

August 26, 2011
Poll: Will anti-union initiative get big-bucks backing for ballot?

Thumbnail image for 110713 lanny ebenstein.jpegLanny Ebenstein, the UC Santa Barbara economics lecturer who wrote a ballot measure that would end collective bargaining for California's public employees, is looking for someone with deep pockets to pay for a signature collection campaign.

"I've got a couple of people who said they'd put in $100,000 each," Eberstein said in a telephone interview earlier this week. He figures he needs about $1.5 million to get enough signatures to qualify the measure for voters statewide to consider it next year.

"And that's with pretty good volunteer participation" to help the effort, he said.

Those two backers, whom he didn't name, won't write their checks until others step forward, Ebenstein said.

Which leads us to ask ...

PHOTO: Lanny Ebenstein / courtesy of Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association

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:

March 8, 2011
Live chat about public employee bargaining rights set for today

chat logo.jpgJoin The Bee's Head-to-Head team of Pia Lopez and Ben Boychuk for a live online chat as they take on the question, "Should states rethink collective bargaining?"

The chat begins at noon today. Join to share you comments and questions at www.sacbee.com/live.

On a related note, we're planning a State Worker live chat for next week. We'll have more information soon.



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.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK

State Pay Database

This database allows you to search the salaries of California's 300,000-plus state workers and view up to four years of their pay history.

Categories


October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Monthly Archives