The California Highway Patrol officers union and Gov. Jerry Brown's administration have reached a furlough agreement to cut pay 5 percent for a year.
Under the deal, the CHP's roughly 6,300 officers will be furloughed eight hours per month starting July 1.
The union is the first to reach agreement with Brown, who wants pay reduction deals in place with all state worker unions to save an estimated $839 million to help close a budget gap estimated to be at least $15.7 billion.
The governor proposed putting most state workers on 9.5-hour shifts four days per week and closing departments on either Fridays or Mondays.
The agreement with the California Association of Highway Patrolmen signals that other unions representing workers in 24/7 jobs prison officers, psychiatric technicians, firefighters and others are under pressure to take similar deals.
It may also complicate talks scheduled with other unions, including today's scheduled negotiations with SEIU Local 1000, which represents 93,000 workers. Those talks center on Brown's plan instead of the arrangement worked out with the CHP union.
CHP officers will be able to bank the hours to take later, but their paychecks will reflect the 5 percent pay reduction regardless.
Jon Hamm, CEO of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, said that the language of the agreement encourages officers to take their banked furlough time before taking paid vacation.
The Brown administration had said that it wanted to avoid a policy that allowed banking furlough hours because that leads to employees taking less paid leave, creating a deferred cost for the state when the leave credits with monetary value are cashed out at the end of an employee's career.
Until now, CAHP members had never been furloughed. Hamm said union members understand that they need to make a sacrifice, given the state's $15.7 billion budget crisis.
"Our members' reaction has been pretty positive (to the furlough)," Hamm said Friday. "I think this is sinking in. They're saying, 'I'm lucky to have a job.' "
The union plans to put the furlough agreement to a ratification vote next week.
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