The State Worker

State scientists’ union reaches contract deal with Brown administration

Gov. Jerry Brown and California’s state scientists’ union reached a tentative contract agreement, but the disgruntled union’s negotiators are unhappy with the pay provisions and say there’s a “distinct lack of enthusiasm” about the deal.

“This deal falls short of our goals,” said Chris Voight, executive director of the 3,000-member California Association of Professional Scientists. “But we’re putting it out because democratic organizations allow their members to vote.”

Calls to Brown’s Department of Human Resources were not immediately returned late Thursday, but the department has a “no comment” policy on pending contract talks.

The scientists’ agreement mirrors other state union contracts that phase in a 4.5-percentage-point across-the-board pay increase over the next two fiscal years. The deal gives an extra 1.5 percent to about 450 senior environmental scientists the second year.

The scientists have been holding out for significantly more money. They point out that state engineers performing virtually the same work earn up to 30 percent more money and that a similar gap exists with other public- and private-sector counterparts.

The scientists’ agreement leaves California’s attorneys’ union as the final group without a deal to offer its members.

– Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau