Some California state workers inched closer Wednesday to a long- deferred raise after the state Senate ratified a new contract agreement.
The agreement, negotiated between the state and the Service Employees International Union Local 1000, would boost salaries 4.5 percent by 2015.
The Assembly has already given it the green light, and rank-and-file union members have until Monday to cast ratification votes.
Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, described the contract as a "modest agreement," particularly given the money workers have surrendered through furloughs over the last few years.
Several Republicans voted against the bill, which passed 27-8. Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Oakdale, said the bill contradicted the will of voters who passed Proposition 30 last fall by putting a chunk of the resulting revenue toward state workers rather than schools.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, countered that state workers have earned a raise after enduring years of budget cutbacks.
Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543. Follow him on Twitter @CapitolAlert.