I am volunteering to be your next Local 1000 leader for many reasons, but I will only address our pay increases at this time.
Since the election of our current President in 2008, Local 1000 has lost a considerable amount of money and influence critical to the healthy assembly of our Union. Our current leader is unable to ensure the appropriate allocation of finances and authority and has negatively affected the lives and livelihood of our represented employees. New leadership is not just necessary but imperative to the quality of life of Local 1000 constituents so they may have a good life in sustainable communities while enjoying the fruits of social and economic justice.
Without term limits for elected leaders in Local 1000, our current president has held the position for 3 consecutive elections – 2008, 2011, and 2015. Since our current president assumed leadership in 2008, Local 1000 has lost valuable fiscal resources and indispensable authority. This loss of resources and authority was initiated with the State budget in 2008. As part of the FY 2008-09 budget, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger implemented a crisis-evading budget that included spending reductions and a yearlong furlough program implemented in February 2009. This furlough fiasco started with two days each month beginning in February, with a third day added in July, creating a considerable loss of pay for certain Union represented state employees. This equates to a loss of approximately 5% of pay per day for each furlough day. Although this furlough fiasco was far-reaching and detrimental to many Union members, it was not exclusively applied. Some members of our Union were not affected by the furlough, including our current president.
According to §3517.8 of the Ralph C. Dills Act, we are permitted to strike, and this dire situation called for an immediate strike to show our unity and power. When a union goes on strike, they take such action to ensure their represented employees have the opportunity to have the highest quality of life possible in their sustainable communities. After the furlough ended, Governor Schwarzenegger admitted that it did little to help fix the State deficit. Since the furlough fiasco, our Union leadership, led by our current president, has displayed a lack of financial transparency and integrity. Because our current president refused to fight for us through a strike action or through developing a real strategic alliance with key leaders and organizations, over 30,000 State employees represented by Local 1000 suffered home foreclosures, car repossessions, and divorces created by the furlough fiasco. Many of our dues-paying members lost hope and no longer wanted to engage in Union matters, while others simply became non-germane objectors. This has severely impacted the image, perception, and morale of our Union.
It should be noted that 700 members working at five State agencies – California Lottery, First 5 California, Prison Industry Authority, California Earthquake Authority, and California Housing Finance Agency – were given back their furlough compensation from the furlough seizure, while the rest of the 95,000 employees never recovered the financial losses suffered from this furlough fiasco. Please see the following concerning the furlough loss of wages.
5/12=4.2 x 10%= 4.2% 7/12=5.8 x 15%= 8.8% so 4.2% + 8.8%= 13% for FY 2009-2010 PAY LOSS
On November 8, 2010, Local 1000 signed a new agreement that was also ratified by the State Legislature for a new contract with an effective date of July 1, 2010, through July 1, 2013. This contract retracted one day’s pay each month for an entire year (2010 PLP). This was a 5% pay cut for a year for the one day per month furlough. (Note: There was a 3% pay increase on July 1, 2013, for employees at the top step, but it was not applied to the rest of Local 1000 represented employees.)
Despite 2012 being a national election year for Democrats across the nation, Governor Brown, a Democrat, still wanted us to give up one day’s pay (2012 PLP) even though we were under a signed contract that had already given up one day's pay per month for a year (2010 PLP). At the encouragement of our Union leadership and because Governor Brown threatened to resort to a four-day work week composed of 9.5 hours per day, 65.76% of our dues-paying membership who voted approved of the June 2012 side-letter agreement, which reduced our pay by 5% per one day per month for a year (The total number of voters was not disclosed).
The FY 2013-16 contract provided an overall 4.5% pay increase over the three years of the contract – no increase for FY 2013-14, a 2% increase in FY 2014-15, and 2.5% in FY 2015-16. The increase for FY 2014-15 was dependent on State revenues for that year, with the condition that if there were insufficient revenue, the entire 4.5% general salary increase would go into effect in FY 2015-16.
When our most recent contract negotiations came to an unsatisfactory standstill, a strike was called for December 5, 2016, but Local 1000 informed everyone that strike benefits would not be paid. In the end, this strike action was called off after the Union reached an agreement with the State on December 3, 2017. Governor Jerry Brown later signed this agreement on March 15, 2017, after it was ratified by both our dues-paying membership and the State Legislature.
The new contract for July 2, 2016 through January 1, 2020 gives 4%, 4%, 3.5% pay increases for FY 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20, respectively. However, for the first time in our history, we will now help pre-fund the other post-employment retirement benefits (OPEB) even though these have already been guaranteed. As per this contract, we are now bound to contribute 1.2% towards our retirement healthcare starting July 1, 2018; an additional 1.1% (meaning 2.3% total) starting on July 1, 2019; and an additional 1.2% starting on July 1, 2020, when our retirement healthcare contribution reaches 3.5% total. This contract has a net total pay increase of only 8% after the healthcare contribution is factored in. (Pay increases of 4% + 4% + 3.5% = 11.5%, minus 3.5% for healthcare equals an 8% net increase.) There was no pay increase for FY 2016-17. Instead, a $2,500 bonus was awarded to certain Local 1000 represented employees.
California Government Code §2287 (a) (b) states that medical costs in retirement are guaranteed to be paid by the State unless the State and a Union agree to negotiate this matter. If this were not the case, Governor Brown would have simply imposed this 3.5% for all State employees across the board. Simply put: this new retirement healthcare contribution is the result of our Union leadership’s failure to be steadfast in fighting for us.
The numbers since 2008 indicate that we have not had an overall net pay increase that would enable Local 1000 members to enjoy the fiscal advantages of such an overall net pay increase or create the sustainable communities that would be produced by such an increase. The furlough fiasco took away our necessary power and produced a 13% loss along with the combined 10% pay loss for 2010 PLP and 2012 PLP. So 13% + 10% =23% total pay loss since 2008. If we total the last two contracts (4.5% + 8%) combined pay increase of 12.5% and subtract that from 23%, we arrive at an overall net pay loss of 10.5%. The rising costs of healthcare from 2008 were not included in the overall 10.5% net pay loss for our unionized employees, yet our statewide officers received a salary stipend for their volunteer service to our Union. We need new leadership so we can truly enjoy more than just fruits of social and economic justice but understand we also need meats and vegetables of overall net increased financial compensation and necessary power for respect and long-term visibility for a well-balanced diet.
I am volunteering to be your next Local 1000 leader because I truly understand the importance of money and power for Local 1000 which we are currently lacking by the overall net decrease in our wages by 10.5%.