Jerry Brown signs six labor deals for 60,000 state workers

Published: Tuesday, May. 17, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 4A
Last Modified: Tuesday, May. 17, 2011 - 8:11 am

Brown signs 6 labor deals for 60,000 state workers

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday put the final signature on labor contracts for about 60,000 California state workers, including correctional officers, after the Assembly sent him the legislation.

Brown signed Senate Bill 151, which contained the negotiated pacts for prison guards, engineers, scientists, administrative law judges and other law enforcement officials. The Assembly approved the pacts on a 54-17 vote, the bare two-thirds majority required. Republicans Paul Cook of Yucca Valley and Katcho Achadjian of San Luis Obispo provided the two GOP votes needed to reach two-thirds.

The deals are similar to those reached by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year with 15 other bargaining units.

Cumulatively, SB 151 would save the state's general fund about $110 million a year, but critics note the total is far less than the $308 million in reductions Brown initially targeted.

Key provisions would:

• Require workers to pay more toward their pensions, but give top-level employees an offsetting raise in two years.

• Mandate 12 unpaid days off over the course of a year, but end the three-day-per-month furlough program in place since early 2009.

Farmworker bill passes Assembly, goes to Brown

Legislation to allow farmworkers seeking union representation an alternative to secret-ballot elections passed the Assembly on Monday.

The measure, Senate Bill 104, cleared the Assembly by a vote of 51-26, with Republicans opposed. It now goes to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not yet said whether he will sign it.

Proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, the bill would let farmworkers bargain collectively if a majority of employees submit petition cards to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board.

Provisions also would stiffen penalties for employers who seek to thwart farmworkers' efforts to unionize. The bill was sponsored by the United Farm Workers union.

Supporters say SB 104 is needed because employers wield too much power and can coerce farmworkers into voting against collective bargaining. Opponents say the bill violates a fundamental precept, secret-ballot elections, and could lead to intimidation of farmworkers by union leaders.

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