"Our current leader, first elected in 2008 and still serving through four consecutive elections absent of term limits, has not appropriately allocated finances or authority. This has negatively affected the lives and livelihoods of our represented employees due to loss of both money and influence critical to the healthy assembly of our Union."
New leadership is imperative to the quality of life of Local 1000 constituents. One reason I am volunteering to be your next Local 1000 leader relates to our pay increases in our new contract.
The loss of Local 1000 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 year long furlough program implemented in February 2009.
The 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 is equivalent to a loss of 4.62% of pay per day for each furlough day.
Although this furlough fiasco was far-reaching and detrimental to many Union members, it was selectively applied. Some members of our Union were not affected by the furlough, including our current president.
AFTERMATH & SQUANDERED STRIKE POWER
According to §3517.8 of the Ralph C. Dills Act, we are permitted to strike, and this dire furlough situation called for an immediate strike to show our unity and power. In fact, after the furlough ended, Governor Schwarzenegger admitted that it did little to help fix the State deficit.
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 stopped engaging in Union matters, while others simply became non-germane objectors. This has severely impacted the image, perception, and morale of our Union.
Although 700 members working at five State agencies (California Lottery, First 5 California, Prison Industry Authority, California Earthquake Authority, and California Housing Finance Agency) were paid their compensation lost through the furlough seizure, 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 of 12 months beginning February ’09 = .42 x .0924 (4.62% x 2 furlough days) = 3.9% 12 of 12 months July ’09 through June ‘10 = 1 x .1386 (4.62% x 3 furlough days) = 13.86% 3.9% + 13.86% = 17.76% PAY LOSS for FYs 2008-09 and 2009-10
A NEW (BAD) AGREEMENT
On November 8, 2010, Local 1000 signed a new agreement effective 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 4.62% pay cut for a year for the one day per month cost saving personal leave program. A July 1, 2013 3% pay increase was applied only for employees at the top step. The rest of Local 1000 represented employees were excluded from this increase.
In 2012, Governor Brown 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 4.62% per one day per month for a year. (The total number of voters was not disclosed.)
THE NEW CONTRACT: IS IT GOOD?
Our new contract that covers January 1, 2020 - June 30, 2023, was finally printed in hard copy and digitally downloadable as of November of 2020 after be ratified by Local 1000 membership and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on 13 October 2019. Yes, it took that long to print our new ”Bible”. The Tentative Agreement that was being used in place of our contract until our new contract was finally printed was NOT the same as our new contract by definition of the word ”Tentative”. Per our current contract
"A. General Salary Increases
1. Effective July 1, 2020, all SEIU represented employees in eligible classifications shall receive a General Salary Increase (GSI) of 2.5%.
2. Effective July 1, 2021, all SEIU represented employees in eligible classifications shall received a GSI of 2.0%.
3. Effective July 1, 2022, all SEIU represented employees in eligible classifications shall receive a GSI of 2.5%."
However the COVID Crisis in March of 2020 resulted in our Union GIVING UP our money with a scheduled 9.23% 2 day pay loss for 2 straight fiscal periods beginning with the FY 2020-2021 time period with the scheduled 2.5% GSI for July 1, 2020, being delayed until July 1, 2022. The scheduled 2.0% GSI for July 1, 2021, will be based on agreed cost saving with the State by March 30, 2021, or it will be deferred through June 30-2022. Per the June 19, 2020, sideletter agreement " Both parties understand the seriousness of the State's budget deficit and the need for budget savings. Further, the parties acknowledge the uncertainty of the fiscal crisis and its duration. In the spirit of collaboration, the parties agree to establish a joint Cost Savings Task Force to discuss, identify and recommend cost savings solutions. In particular, the task force shall endeavor to find cost savings sufficient to fund the General Salary Increase (GSI) scheduled for July 1, 2021. If such cost savings are not mutually agreed upon by the parties on or before March 30, 2021, the GSI shall be deferred through June 30, 2022. The cost savings must be in addition to the efficiency and cost savings measures already assumed in the 2021-22 Governor's budget. The determination of the sufficiency of funding shall be at the sole discretion of the Director of Finance. "
When our prior 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, 2016.
The agreement was later signed by the Governor and ratified by both our dues-paying membership and the State Legislature. This contract had "A. SEIU Local 1000 eligible employees shall receive a General Salary Increase (GSI) of four percent (4%) effective July 1, 2017, a GSI of four percent (4%) effective July 1, 2018, and a GSI of three and a half percent (3.5%) effective July 1, 2019." for a grant total of 11.5% in general salary increases for everyone represented by our Union along with some employees getting additional special salary adjustments. However this contract was historic by the fact that Local 1000 agreed to share in prefunding retireee healthcare costs with the State which had always been guaranteed by the California Government Code 2287(a)(b) unless a Union and the State agree to negotiate the matter. Per this prior contract "The State and Bargaining Units 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21 hereby agree to share in the responsibility toward the prefunding of post-retirement health benefits for members of Bargaining Units 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21; and, agree that the foregoing concepts will be implemented as a means to begin to offset the future financial liability for health benefits for retired members. A. Beginning July 1, 2018, the State and Bargaining Units 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21 will prefund retiree health care, with the goal of reaching a fifty percent (50%) cost sharing of actuarially determined total normal costs for both employer and employees by July 1, 2020. The amount of employee and matching employer contributions required to prefund retiree health care shall increase by the following percentages of pensionable compensation:
1. July 1, 2018: by 1.2 percent.
2. July 1, 2019: by 1.1 percent, for a total of 2.3 percent.
3. July 1, 2020: by 1.2 percent, for a total of 3.5 percent."
The FYs 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 upon 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.
STALLED TALKS & SELF-SERVING LEADERSHIP
While the contract talks were broken down, the four statewide officers along with the majority of the DLC Presidents and BUNC Chairs voted on June 26, 2016, to give the four officers a salary stipend. Read about the $143,000 Salary Stipend on my website for exact details about how our current president, while being the chief negotiator for our stalled contract talks, put her own needs ahead of Union members by voting to give herself a salary stipend.
HEALTHCARE & FAILURE
The new contract for July 2, 2016 through January 1, 2020 does give pay increases but we will now help pre-fund the other post-employment retirement benefits (OPEB) even though these have already been guaranteed.
This contract binds us to contribute 1.2% towards our retirement healthcare starting July 1, 2018 and eventually increasing to 3.5% total by 2020. 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.
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.
NO NET PAY INCREASE SINCE 2008
The FY 2009-10 Furlough Fiasco resulted 17.76% loss in pay. The PLPs for FYs 2010, 2012, 2020, and 2021, will total in 27.70% loss in PLP pay for a grand total of 45.46% in combined furlough along with past and future PLP loss of wages.
If we total the current contract with the last two contracts (7% + 4.5% + 8%) combined future pay increases of 19.5% and subtract that from 45.46% we arrive at an unacceptable overall future net pay loss of 25.96% since 2008!!
The rising costs of healthcare from 2008, the temporary taxable (37.25%) $260 healthcare stipend till July 1, 2022, for Flex-Elect participants, the time value of money and the suspended non-taxable 3.5% OPEB deduction till July 1, 2022, were not included in the overall 25.96% net pay loss for our unionized employees.
New leadership can steer Local 1000 to increase financial compensation and recapture our collective power and respect.