The State Worker

What California state workers earn: scientists

After years of complaining to governors on both sides of the political aisle about pay, this summer the California Association of Professional Scientists rejected a contract offered by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown that would have given them a modest raise.

The 4.5 percent increase wouldn’t have come close to the 30 percent or more bump that rank-and-file employees would need to close the salary gap with counterparts in other government sectors. Even worse, from the 3,000-member union’s perspective, is that some state engineers do the same work but earn more money.

State law says the union’s contract remains in effect even though it expired a year ago. The Brown administration cited that fact to withhold the slightly higher travel and meal per diems negotiated by other unions in the last round of contract talks. The scientists appealed the policy to an arbitrator and won. Then the state cited another law that says it can take up to 100 days to review and appeal such decisions. So the union took Brown to court.

Meanwhile, 68 percent of voting members turned down the contract, marking the second time in a month that a state-employee union had failed to ratify a deal with the governor.

Against that acrimonious backdrop, labor negotiations between the scientists and the Brown administration are continuing.

This is the eighth in a series of State Worker blog posts looking at what unionized government employees earned in 2013. The numbers feeding the series come from the state controller’s payroll data. The figures include only regular pay issued to full-time employees represented by the 21 bargaining units that negotiate contracts with the state. Employees who earned less than $1,000 last year are not included in the calculations.

Bargaining Unit 10 – Scientists (California Association of Scientists)

Number of full-time employees in 2013: 2,582

2013 average full-time pay: $62,398

2013 median full-time pay: $67,540

Number of full-time employees in 2012: 2,561

2012 average full-time pay: $61,032

2012 median full-time pay: $66,157

Number of full-time employees in 2011: 2,439

2011 average full-time pay: $59,995

2011 median full-time pay: $63,257

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