The State Worker
Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers
March 11, 2011

Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association have reached a tentative labor agreement that the members will vote on starting next week, the union said this afternoon.

The union represents 7,000 state workers in 180 different job classifications, including fish and game wardens, park police, drug agents and business inspectors.

The Department of Personnel Administration, which handles state labor talks, confirmed the news in this e-mailed release and says that the deal saves the state $37.8 million for the current fiscal year and $12.2 million in fiscal 2011-12 before increasing costs by $25.5 million in its final year, fiscal 2012-13.

That brings the total savings for the lifetime of the agreement, which starts April 1 and ends July 1, 2013 to $24.5 million.

“This agreement balances budget relief with California’s need for public safety,” said DPA Director Ron Yank in the department’s press release, Director of DPA. “We gain immediate savings through increased funding of pension benefits, and at the same time we provide a stable work environment for our employees.”

The deal contains several of the same elements found in the October’s agreement reached by SEIU Local 1000 and and the tentative agreement announced on Monday by California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment.

Among the specifics: unpaid days off, an increase in what members pay toward their own pensions and an eventual pay increase for members at the top step of their job classification.

Some of the tentative agreement’s details include:

• A 12-month Personal Leave Program beginning April 1 that equals a 5 percent pay reduction in exchange for 12 days of unpaid leave.
• An immediate 2 -percentage-point increase for what Unit 7 peace officer/firefighters pension pay toward their pensions. A 3-percentage-point hike in Unit 7 safety members’ contribution towards retirement.
• Peace officers/firefighters will get a 2-percent step added to the top of their pay scales on July 1, 2013. Safety workers will receive a 3-percent top step increase on that same date.
• Two professional development days each year, while accepting legislation that eliminated Lincoln’s Birthday and Columbus Day as paid state holidays.
• An immediate increase in what the state pays toward employee health benefits.

With California facing a $26.6 billion budget deficit, Brown told CSLEA and five other unions without contracts that they must accept terms that cut employee’s pre-furlough take home pay by between 8 percent and 10 percent.

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