The State Worker

California operating engineers approve contract with Gov. Jerry Brown

After months of rancorous talks over pay and a threat to strike, California’s state building operators have ratified a contract with Gov. Jerry Brown.

Steve Crouch, who negotiates for about 850 state building operators and water-system engineers, said members approved the three-year deal but declined to characterize by what margin. Union members were the last state employees without a current contract. State attorneys and scientists signed off on deals in recent weeks after working under the terms of their expired contracts for more than a year.

The vote accepted conditions similar to those taken by other state unions, including a 4.5 percent pay raise phased in over two years. The state also agreed to pay members a $250 bonus once the deal was ratified.

Like the scientists and the attorneys, the operating engineers union sought significantly higher pay increases, citing a wide gap with counterparts in private industry and other governments.