The State Worker

Brown administration cuts labor deals with state attorneys, scientists

The Brown administration has reached tentative labor agreements with unions representing state attorneys and scientists, potentially settling – at least temporarily – two longstanding disputes about pay.

The California Association of Professional Scientists, whose membership earlier this year rejected a 4.5 percent raise phased in over two years, said Thursday it has reached a shorter-term deal that includes a smaller, 3 percent raise on July 1, 2015, but allows the union to re-open compensation talks sooner. The contract would expire next year, union spokesman Ryan Endean said.

He said union scientists are “pushing hard for salary equity” with scientists in comparable jobs elsewhere.

“We’re continuing to try to move that process forward, and our bargaining team felt the best way to do that was to take this deal with the 3 percent, a shorter deal which allows us to get back to the bargaining table sooner,” he said.

The administration confirmed it had reached tentative agreements this week with the scientists and the California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment, two of three unions with outstanding contracts.

The attorneys have long complained that they earned less than workers in comparable public-sector jobs, and Gov. Jerry Brown himself, while attorney general, said in a court declaration that the Department of Justice faced “a compensation crisis.”

The tentative deal between the attorneys and the state is similar to agreements accepted by other unions, including a 2 percent pay increase retroactive to July 1 and an additional 2.5 percent increase on July 1, 2015.

If ratified, the agreement would run through July 1, 2016. A union official did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.