The State Worker

Gavin Newsom wants to get to the bargaining table, starting with expired CHP contract

Contracts are expiring this summer for five state worker bargaining units and the state still has no agreement with a California Highway Patrol union whose contract ended nearly a year ago.

The state’s contract with the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, which represents uniformed officers, expired in July 2018.

Gov. Gavin Newsom called attention to it in a budget update this month, declaring his administration’s intent to get to the bargaining table.

The union says it’s also ready to reopen talks.

“We don’t know when we’ll get back to the table but we think it will be soon,” said Carrie Lane, the highway patrol union’s chief executive officer.

Lane declined to discuss what the union might be seeking in this round.

The union’s 7,400 members received a raise in 2018 despite the expired contract, due to a special provision in its last contract agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

The 2013 agreement included a mechanism for patrol officers to receive automatic raises based on salaries of local police departments around the state.

Each year, CalHR and the union compare CHP compensation with what officers make at the Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles police departments and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. If a weighted average of the compensation for those departments is higher than what CHP officers make, the CHP officers get a raise.

Last year, CHP officers received a 6.2 percent raise based on the survey results.

The union negotiated the automatic increases after decades of receiving lower pay than the major departments. The union also began kicking in more for future retiree health care costs in 2013.

Lane said the automatic increases don’t decrease the union’s incentive to get a new contract.

“Negotiations are about so many more things than just salary,” she said. “There are other things having to do with pay and working conditions that aren’t directly salary related.”

The five unions with contracts expiring this summer are the California Correctional Peace Officers Association; the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association; the International Union of Operating Engineers, the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians; and the California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges, and Hearing Officers in State Employment.

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