The State Worker

California state maintenance workers reach deal with Jerry Brown

California’s Edmund G. Brown California Aquaduct runs in the foreground alongside the federal government’s Delta-Mendota Canal. State employees in IUOE Unit 12 operate the state project.
California’s Edmund G. Brown California Aquaduct runs in the foreground alongside the federal government’s Delta-Mendota Canal. State employees in IUOE Unit 12 operate the state project. Sacramento Bee

State maintenance workers would receive a cumulative 10 percent pay increase but pay nearly half that back for retiree benefits, under the terms of a tentative contract between the International Union of Operating Engineers Unit 12 and Gov. Jerry Brown.

The agreement runs retroactively from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2019 and covers roughly 12,000 state employees who do everything from repair vehicles and drive trucks to window cleaning and dispatching power and water.

According to two sources with knowledge of the talks, the contract provides a 3 percent salary increase effective July 1 of this year, a 4 percent bump a year later and 3 percent hike on the same date in 2018.

Electrician classes would receive and extra 5 percent raise starting next month. Heavy equipment mechanics and telecommunications technicians would receive an extra 5 percent raise on July 1 and another extra 5 percent on the same date next year.

Unit 12’s last contract required employees to contribute 0.5 percent of pay to a retiree health-benefits fund. The new agreement, assuming the Legislature and the rank and file ratify it, will incrementally push the contribution to 4.6 percent of pay as of July 1, 2019. The state will match those contributions.

The union’s prior contract allowed employees to cash out up to 20 hours of leave credits each year if their employing departments could adsorb the cost. The new agreement raises the cash-for-leave ceiling to 80 hours per year.

Approximately three months after ratification, the contract would change the union’s Caltrans employees from a semi-monthly pay cycle to a monthly pay cycle. As part of that, affected employees would receive a one-time supplemental payment not to exceed $1,200.

In 2015, according to a Bee analysis of state payroll records, median annual pay for state employees in Unit 12 was $48,404.

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