The State Worker

State government spam filters hamper union contract ratification vote

Some state computers are blocking emailed contract ratification ballots to state attorneys, their union said Thursday.

California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment, or CASE, informed its members of the problem and the union’s board announced it would extend the voting period by one week to 11:59 p.m. on August 28.

“(I)t appears that the firewalls and/or spam filters of some State departments are blocking e-mail messages originating from Votenet ( that contain the tentative agreement ratification ballot,” the union’s board said in an e-mail to members.

The glitch between the union’s system and state computers briefly delays a vote count on a contract bargained more than a year after the union’s last pact expired. Since then, the 4,000-or-so employees that CASE represents have been working under the terms of the expired contract, without the raises and higher employer health insurance contributions afforded other employees whose unions took agreements last year.

Unions representing operating engineers and scientists also reached tentative agreements with Gov. Jerry Brown in the last week, but only after their members rejected prior deals. Like CASE, those groups wanted more money for their members than the modest pay raises Brown offered.

As with most of the other labor contracts Brown signed with other unions, the CASE deal provides for a 2 percent general salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2014 and a 2.5 increase one year later. It expires July 1, 2016.

CASE for years has pressed for significantly higher pay for state attorneys, whose salaries lag those of local government counterparts by a wide margin. The deal bargained with Brown references that disparity with an agreement “to negotiate a successor (contract) with the intent to, if economically feasible, address legal professional salary and classification issues,” according to a state summary of the agreement.

The union’s emailed message to members instructs those who haven’t received a ballot to call the CASE office with a personal email address or to email the union with “BALLOT PROBLEM” in the subject line.

“Upon receipt of your request we will update your file and direct the elections company to send you a new ballot,” the union email says. “Please note that it may take 24 to 48 hours for you to receive a new ballot.”