California’s largest state-employee union announced Tuesday that it will go on strike Dec. 5 in response to what union leaders complain is “unlawful conduct and egregious unfair labor practices” during negotiations for a new contract.
The union, which represents 95,000 workers in nine of the state’s 21 bargaining units, has been in talks with the Brown administration since April, with no agreement. Members voted to authorize a strike last week.
The union has denounced the administration’s proposed wage increase of 12 percent over four years as inadequate because it fails to address what it contends are gender pay inequities in the state workforce. It also objects to the administration’s proposal that employees pay more for their health benefits.
“We are giving notice out of concern for our families and the communities we serve,” Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said in a statement Tuesday. “The state has provided no explanation or justification for its unlawful conduct and it is our duty and responsibility to hold them accountable.”
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Joe DeAnda, a spokesman for Cal HR, said in a statement the administration “has been committed to bargaining in good faith” on a new contract. Without addressing the announced strike date, DeAnda said the state “will continue good faith negotiations during this process until an agreement is reached.”
State unions have periodically authorized strikes during contract talks, including Local 1000 in 2009. No state employees, though, have actually walked off the job.
Brown has struck deals with several unions in recent months that generally paired raises with members contributing more to their health benefits.
Negotiators for the state and Local 1000 have reached tentative agreement on several items. The union, though, contends that the state has “inexplicably failed to budge” from its initial salary and benefits proposal.
Tuesday’s statement alleged that state officials have engaged in “bad faith conduct” and threatened the union with “regressive bargaining” if Local 1000 did not accept the administration’s proposal.
According to the union, the administration has offered 2.96 percent annual raises for four years in return for a 3.5 percent “giveback” in higher retiree health care contributions.
The proposed Dec. 5 strike day coincides with the swearing-in of new and re-elected state lawmakers, when dozens of family, friends and other guests will be in town.
Editor’s note: This post was updated at 9 p.m. Nov. 22 to add comment from Cal HR spokesman Joe DeAnda.