By Jon Ortiz
Published: Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

After years without a contract, the union that represents California’s prison officers and parole agents has a new labor deal.

If approved by union members and lawmakers, the tentative agreement would end the furloughs for the 32,000 members of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association that have cut their pay by roughly 15 percent.

The union’s bargaining team agreed to a contract that calls for one unpaid day per month for a year – roughly a 5 percent reduction of pay and hours – and for members to pay 2 percent more of their pay toward their pensions. The highest-paid officers also would get a yet-unspecified raise at the end of the contract.

“The 30,000 members of CCPOA have been without a contract for 3 1/2 years,” Department of Personnel Administration Director Ron Yank said in a press release. “It’s about time they get an even-handed agreement that respects their difficult work and generates savings for the state. ”

Administration spokesman David Gay said specific savings and cost figures from CCPOA’s tentative agreement weren’t available on Tuesday.

CCPOA Executive Vice President Chuck Alexander said in a Tuesday letter to members the deal “contains enhancements as well as concessions.”

The union didn’t respond Tuesday to a phone message seeking comment.

CCPOA has been working under terms imposed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger since September 2007, after a year of contentious talks broke down and mediation failed.

When Brown ran for governor, the union spent about $2 million for media ads supporting him and attacking rival GOP candidate Meg Whitman.

CCPOA’s agreement also raises what the state pays toward employees’ health insurance from the 2006 level locked in by Schwarzenegger to the current level paid for other state workers.

To help offset that added health expense, the union agreed to suspend state payments into 401(k)-style plan that supplements their members’ defined benefit CalPERS pension. The state currently pays 2 percent of an officer’s base wage into the plan.

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