California state worker unions bargain for pay hikes

agebert@sacbee.comJuly 6, 2013 

After years of lost wages due to furloughs, pay is atop the list of state worker demands as Gov. Jerry Brown and representatives for 10 bargaining units continue to negotiate new deals.

Contracts expired earlier this week for most of the state government workforce.

So far only SEIU Local 1000, which represents more than half of the state's roughly 171,000 full-time non-university rank-and-file workers, has successfully renegotiated a deal.

SEIU's new contract includes a 4.5 percent pay increase for rank and file members by 2015. It has been ratified by the Legislature, and union members can cast ratification votes through Monday.

The new SEIU deal covers nine of the state's 21 bargaining units. Units covering California Highway Patrol officers and state firefighters have existing deals that last through 2018 and 2017, respectively. The CHP, however, received a 5.9 percent pay increase effective immediately based on a provision in the existing contract that allows raises tied to compensation at five large local law enforcement agencies in the state.

The remaining 10 units, including those representing doctors, lawyers and engineers, are still at the bargaining table. Some unions contend the workers they represent are paid well below their private sector counterparts.

Until new deals are struck and ratified, the workers will continue to operate under the terms of their current contracts.

On Monday, Brown demurred when asked about the status of labor talks. "I never like to characterize these negotiations," he said. "The state is productively engaged."

• Read our series on salary data for each state bargaining unit at the State Worker blog

• Search our state worker salary database at sacbee.com/statepay/ Call Amy Gebert, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5544. David Siders of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.

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