By Jon Ortiz
jortiz@sacbee.com The Sacramento Bee
Published: Thursday, Apr. 7, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

The Oscars have the buildup for best picture. College basketball has the finals. And this year’s state labor deals have the CCPOA contract.

Sometime between now and Monday, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office will publish a cost estimate on an agreement with the 32,000-member California Correctional Peace Officers Association, one of six unions that approved tentative deals with Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration last month.

The LAO crunches the numbers for legislators, two-thirds of whom must agree to the deals for them to take effect. So far, the LAO has dinged the first four deals for saving too little money.

A key legislative committee assumed Brown would cut deals saving the state about 10 percent for the fiscal year that begins in July. Brown’s January budget proposal assumed the same. But the analyst says the deals reviewed so far cut only 3 percent to 7 percent.

Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said Wednesday that Brown will make up the difference in his May budget revision. According to the LAO, that could mean layoffs.

That possibility adds weight to the CCPOA deal. It matters financially because it would cover more than half the state workers without a contract when Brown took office. And politically, it’s a measure of how much oomph CCPOA has regained since former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reached a bargaining impasse with the union four years ago.

Brown’s Department of Personnel Administration Director Ron Yank is a retired labor lawyer who used to work for CCPOA. His appointment signaled to some observers that Brown was capitulating to labor in general and to CCPOA in particular. Unions chipped in millions to help Brown win election last year.

During a recent lunchtime interview, Yank picked at his chicken Caesar salad and described how he immersed himself from the start in the CCPOA talks. That deal, more than any other, bears his stamp.

The broad contours of all the agreements are the same, including no raises next year, higher employee contributions to pensions, and 12 unpaid days off over 12 months.

CCPOA’s deal also includes a union concession on holiday pay and ends a 401(k)-style program in exchange for a slightly higher top-step increase.

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