Gov. Jerry Brown and California's state engineers' union have reached a tentative two-year agreement that provides a raise, moves toward eliminating promotional examinations for a relative handful of lower-level job classes, provides incentive bonuses for a few hundred State Water Project employees and increases travel expense allowances.
Brown's Department of Human Resources estimates the added cost of the contract at $48.7 million, assuming voting members of Professional Engineers in California Government and the Legislature approve the deal.
The centerpiece is a 3.3 percent raise that would kick on July 1, 2015, the last day of the contract. The deal also stipulates that the Brown administration and the union will start the process to eliminate civil service promotional examinations for a halfdozen job classifications. The so-called "deep classing" of those positions would base promotions on experience and job performance and requires approval by the State Personnel Board.
Roughly 200 engineers working on the State Water Project for the Department of Water Resources would be included in an incentive program that ties up to 80 hours per year of additional paid time off to meeting water and power delivery goals. The provision applies to engineers in the department's Operations and Maintenance field divisions. Other unions representing employees in those divisions have similar terms.
The contract also calls for a relatively small number of engineers to pay more for their pensions in keeping with California's new law requiring employees contribute at least half the normal cost of their retirement funds. Most of PECG's members, however, already meet that requirement and won't see their contributions increase from the current 8 percent of pensionable pay.
Like other contracts Brown has negotiated in the last few months, the engineers' deal increases the state's reimbursement schedule for travel expenses and provides protections against furloughs. Like some other recent deals, the PECG bumps up shift differentials.