The State Worker

California union’s proposal for higher pay in Bay Area rejected by Newsom administration

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has rejected a proposal from SEIU Local 1000 to boost state workers’ pay in expensive cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, according to the union.

Local 1000, the largest union in California state government, urged members last week to send their stories of living in high-cost areas to a union email and to post them on social media, suggesting the union will keep pressing for geographic pay incentives.

The union and the California Department of Human Resources each declined to comment on contract negotiations.

The union, which represents 96,000 employees in jobs ranging from custodians to nurses and information technology specialists, is in negotiations with the state for a new contract. Its current four-year, $4 billion contract expires in January.

The union’s current contract included a provision creating a joint task force with the state to study geographic pay. The task force finalized a report in March suggesting California could follow the model of the federal government, which incorporates “locality payments” that boost wages in expensive areas.

The federal government pays Bay Area workers about 39 percent more than its national baseline rates, and workers in LA about 31 percent more.

The report recommended considering other perks that could help compensate for high living costs, including more opportunities to telecommute, state-owned housing rentals and relocation subsidies.

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Wes Venteicher anchors The Bee’s popular State Worker coverage in the newspaper’s Capitol Bureau. He covers taxes, pensions, unions, state spending and California government. A Montana native, he reported on health care and politics in Chicago and Pittsburgh before joining The Bee in 2018.