The State Worker

State equipment operators’ new agreement would hike state payroll by about $8 million

Raises for the state’s building-equipment operaters will add a total $7.9 million to the government’s payroll costs over the next two years, according to an assessment of a tentative agreement between their union and Gov. Jerry Brown.

A 4.5 percent across-the-board pay raise phased in over two years accounts for more than two-thirds of the increased state costs. Health benefits, pay differentials and a $2,400-per-employee bonus at some facilities in 2015 make up the balance.

The Legislative Analyst on Monday generally agreed with the Brown’s cost calculations of the deal with the International Union of Operating Engineers (Bargaining Unit 13), although it noted the administration’s projections didn’t include the cost of an employee leave cash-out program or the impact of mandatory overtime.

The union represents a little less than 1,000 employees in charge of heating, cooling, water and waste water facilities and other mechanical systems at state buildings that include everything from prisons to the state Capitol.

The equipment engineers were one of three state-employee bargaining units that started 2014 without a contract. During contentious talks over pay, a union negotiator threatened to take a strike authorization vote, even though the law prohibits state employees from walking off the job. Calls to the union were not returned.

Unions representing state scientists and attorneys are still without labor agreements.

Analysis of Bargaining Unit 13 Tentative Agreement

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post had an incorrect contract sum in the title.