CAPS Bargaining

2018 Bargaining Updates

 

October 18, 2018

Draft MOU Available For Review.  Last Thursday, CAPS Rank-and-File members voted to approve the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CAPS and the Brown Administration. The provisions of this MOU are retroactive to July 1, 2018, unless otherwise noted. A draft copy of the MOU is available on the website here.

MOU Booklets Soon Available.  CAPS will print hard copies of the final MOU in the coming weeks and make them available to members who want a hard copy. To request a hard copy (one copy per member, please), please place your order  to ensure you get one as soon as they’re printed!

November 3 CAPS Board of Directors Meeting.  The CAPS Board will meet on Saturday, November 3 at the Courtyard Sacramento Airport Natomas Hotel (2101 River Plaza Drive, Sacramento, CA 95833), beginning at 9am.  Free parking is available on site. All members are welcome!

Draft Minutes From August 25 BOD Meeting.  Please find on the members only section the DRAFT minutes from the CAPS BOD August 25 meeting in Sacramento.  This draft document is subject to adoption at the November 3 CAPS meeting.

MOU Ratified
October 11, 2018

Rank-and-File CAPS members today RATIFIED the proposed two-year Memorandum of Understanding between CAPS and the Brown Administration. This MOU is retroactive to July 1, 2018 and will remain in full force and effect through July 1, 2020.  CAPS has the right to resume negotiations with the next Governor during January 2020- just under 16 months from now.

The official count was 802 in favor of ratification (70%), and 339 against (30%).  The return was 50.5% of eligible voters.  Balloting was conducted by MK Elections, formerly TrueBallot.

CAPS Bargaining Chair Stephanie Lewis had this to say upon seeing the results: “This is another contract that we can build on. It has several first-ever benefits for some members like education pay that we can work to expand in the future. This makes five consecutive years of five percent raises.”

During the coming months CAPS will be focusing on:

  • Increasing Membership in CAPS
  • Enforcing the terms of this agreement
  • Reinforcing the positive image of state scientists with decision makers and the public
  • Improving internal communications
  • Resurrecting and completing the state’s civil service reform project
  • Strengthening the case for fair and equitable pay.

This MOU expires July 1, 2020.  That’s just over two years from now.  Bargaining commences during Spring 2020 with negotiators for the next Governor, either Gavin Newsome or John Cox.

The New CAPS MOU includes the following major elements:

  • Salaries: A 5% General Salary Increase July 1, 2019, and another 5% GSI July 1, 2020.
  • Educational Pay Differential: A 3% differential for a required Ph.D. or greater; 2% for a required Master’s Degree. This differential will not be considered compensation for purposes of retirement contributions.
  • Diving Pay: CDFW divers (approximately 28), will have their diving pay stipend increased from $12 per hour to $25 per hour.
  • Recruitment and Retention Differential-State Prisons: A $200 increase in this monthly differential will apply to State Scientists in eight state prisons including Avenal, Ironwood, Calipatria, Centinela, Chuckawalla Valley, Pelican Bay, California Correctional Center and High Desert Prisons.
  • Emergency Pay for Veterinarians and Staff Toxicologists: Enables licensed Veterinarians and Staff Toxicologists at the Departments of Food and Agriculture, and Fish and Wildlife, to earn overtime during declared emergencies.
  • Health, Dental, Vision: Preserves the “80/80” employer contribution formula, and eliminates the vesting schedule for new hires. New hires will no longer wait one year for the full employer contribution for their health benefits.
  • Retiree Dental Benefit Vesting. Currently, Unit 10 members must work 15 years to receive half of the state retiree health benefit and 25 years to receive the full benefit. Under the proposed agreement, beginning in 2019, this vesting schedule also would apply to retirement dental benefits for new hires.
  • Business and Travel Reimbursements: Reimbursement rates will be increased consistent with other bargaining units. Future increases adopted in CalHR policy statewide will automatically apply to all State Scientists.
  • Uniform Replacement Allowance: Increases the uniform replacement allowance for Scientists required to wear uniforms, from $450 to $670 annually for full-time employees; from $190 to $335 annually for part-timers. Applies to Scientists at Fish and Wildlife, Forestry and Fire Protection, and Parks and Recreation.
  • Safety Footwear:  Reimbursement for required safety footwear increases from $200 to $275 every two years.
  • Retirement Increase Cost Sharing:  In each of 2019-20 and 2020-21, the agreement potentially increases employee pension contributions by up to 1 percent of pay, depending on the CalPERS determination of normal costs. The employee contribution would return to current levels in 2021-22.
  • Changes to Retiree Health Benefit Prefunding. In 2020-21, if the actuarially determined normal costs to prefund retiree health benefits increases or decreases by more than 0.5 percent, the employer and employee contributions to prefund these benefits would be adjusted so that each pays one-half of total normal costs, up to 0.5% per year. The employee contribution would return to previous levels in 2021-22.
  • Duration: The MOU is effective July 1, 2018, and terminates July 1, 2020. Negotiations with the next governor would commence as early as January 2020.
  • Maintenance of Membership.  Requires the state to continue to deduct voluntary membership dues from payroll. Allows members to cancel membership, but only during 30 days prior to expiration of the MOU, June 2020.

 
Thanks To Everyone Who Voted!

Stephanie Lewis
Environmental Scientist
CAPS Treasurer and Bargaining Chairperson
DTSC Chatsworth

 

Make Sure You Get a Ballot
October 3, 2018

Voting Is Underway in the CAPS’ MOU Ratification election!  

Your membership allows your voice to be heard by YOUR union: CAPS. One member, one vote.

Ballots were mailed to all members last week: Wednesday, September 26th. Only CAPS members are entitled to cast a vote. Ballots must be returned by October 10.  The ballot count will be held the following day, October 11.

Ratification Ballots Were Mailed to Your Home Address. 

If you haven’t received a ballot, please let us know IMMEDIATELY ().  We will ensure that you will get one in time for your vote to be counted.

Are You Travelling and Away from Your Mailbox?  

You can have a duplicate ballot mailed to an address you designate. Please make your request for a duplicate ballot ASAP, but no later than October 4th: !

Observers Welcome At Count.  

The ballot count will be held at noon on Thursday October 11, at the Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown – Arena, 300 J Street, Sacramento.  All members are welcome to observe the count. Parking is available at the adjacent city lot, and validation is available at the front desk.

Balloting for this election is being conducted by MK Elections, formerly TrueBallot.

Make Sure YOU Get a Ballot!
September 27, 2018

Voting Begins for CAPS’ Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) Ratification.

Your membership allows your voice to be heard by YOUR union: CAPS. One member, one vote.

Regardless of the outcome, the Tentative Agreement (TA) election will affect the lives of all state scientist families now and into the future. So make it count, and participate in our union democracy!

Ballots were mailed to members yesterday, Wednesday, September 26th. Only CAPS members are entitled to cast a vote. Ballots must be returned by October 10, with the ballot count to be held the following day, October 11.

Ratification Ballots Were Mailed to Your Home Address.

If you don’t receive a ballot in the CAPS MOU Ratification election by September 30th, please let us know ASAP ().  Send us your request for a replacement ballot no later than October 4th, and we will ensure that you will get one in time for your vote to be counted.

Are You Travelling and Away from Your Mailbox? 

If so, you can have a duplicate ballot mailed to an address you designate. Please make your request for a duplicate ballot ASAP, but no later than October 4th: !

Observers Welcome At Count.

The ballot count will be held at noon on Thursday October 11, at the Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown – Arena, 300 J Street, Sacramento.  All members are welcome to observe the count. Parking is available at the adjacent city lot, and validation is available at the front desk.

Balloting for this election is being conducted by MK Elections, formerly TrueBallot.

CAPS Forum Open
September 25, 2018

The tentative agreement between CAPS and Governor Brown takes effect only if CAPS members approve it.  If it’s rejected, CAPS pledges to return to the bargaining table to seek a better deal.

A ballot packet will be mailed to you tomorrow, September 26.  Please take a moment to carefully review this packet and evaluate whether this tentative agreement should be ratified or rejected.  Mark your ballot as instructed and return by US Mail in the postage paid envelope included with the packet. All ballots must be received by October 11, the day of the ballot count.

Share Your Views On The CAPS Forum.  You can interact with other CAPS members on the CAPS Forum:  https://capsscientistsforum.org/

To participate, you must be a CAPS member, you will need to register with a personal email (there is an option to reset the password if you’ve forgotten), and then you can freely communicate with your CAPS member colleagues.

Election Update
September 19, 2018

Dear Fellow Scientist:

As you may know, CAPS’ Bargaining Team has reached a tentative agreement (TA) with CalHR on a new Memorandum of Understanding that affects your pay and benefits.  Now it’s up to all CAPS members to decide if this TA should be accepted or rejected.

If ratified, the agreement becomes effective retroactive to July 1, 2018.  If rejected, the TA goes away and the CAPS’ Bargaining Team will return to the bargaining table to seek improvements with negotiators for Governor Brown and, if necessary, the next Governor.

A ballot packet will be mailed to you on September 26.  When it arrives please take a moment to carefully review the proposed terms and evaluate whether this tentative agreement should be ratified or rejected.  Mark your ballot as instructed and return by US Mail before October 11, the day of the ballot count.

Only Members get to vote. Since you aren’t yet a CAPS member, your ballot will only be counted if you return a completed membership card with your ballot.

Or you can join immediately by going to this link: http://capsscientists.org/application/

Some feel this TA does slowly close the gap, others feel this offer is far short of full salary equity. Read more about the TA below and decide for yourself. Please don’t miss your opportunity to let your voice be heard. Sign up as a Member today and vote on the TA that will affect your pay and benefits.

We hope you join us and become a member so that your voice can be heard on whether to accept or reject the state’s offer.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Lewis
Chair, Bargaining Committee
California Association of Professional Scientists
Treasurer
Department of Toxic Substances Control
Environmental Scientist
9211 Oakdale Ave.
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Kelley Aubushon
Chair, Membership & Communications Committee
California Association of Professional Scientists
District II Director
Department of Fish and Wildlife
Environmental Scientist
E. Shaw Ave.
Fresno, CA 93710

September 18, 2018

Your CAPS Bargaining Team has prepared its own list of Pros and Cons regarding the TA.  Please consider these as you reach your own conclusions: http://capsscientists.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/What-does-YOUR-VOTE-mean-1.pdf 

There are a variety of opinions regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the August 22 CAPS Tentative Agreement (TA) with the Brown Administration.  One thing is certain: YOU and all members will have the last word in the course of an upcoming ratification vote.  Ballots are scheduled to be mailed September 26 and counted October 11.  Nonmembers will receive a ballot, but those won’t be opened and counted unless they join–nearly 8 out of every 10 State Scientists are already CAPS members!

August 28, 2018

Here is a brief summary of the CAPS Tentative Agreement that was reached on August 22, 2018:

Salaries: A 5% General Salary Increase July 1, 2019, and another 5% GSI July 1, 2020.

Educational Pay Differential: A 3% differential for a required Ph.D. or greater; 2% for a required Master’s Degree. This differential will not be considered compensation for purposes of retirement contributions.

Diving Pay: CDFW divers (approximately 28), will have their diving pay stipend increased from $12 per hour to $25 per hour.

Recruitment and Retention Differential-State Prisons: A $200 increase in this monthly differential will apply to State Scientists in eight state prisons including Avenal, Ironwood, Calipatria, Centinela, Chuckawalla Valley, Pelican Bay, California Correctional Center and High Desert Prisons.

Emergency Pay for Veterinarians and Staff Toxicologists: Enables licensed Veterinarians and Staff Toxicologists at the Departments of Food and Agriculture, and Fish and Wildlife, to earn overtime during declared emergencies.

Health, Dental, Vision: Preserves the “80/80” employer contribution formula, and eliminates the vesting schedule for new hires.

Retiree Dental Benefit Vesting. Currently, Unit 10 members must work 15 years to receive half of the state retiree health benefit and 25 years to receive the full benefit. Under the proposed agreement, beginning in 2019, this vesting schedule also would apply to retirement dental benefits for new hires. Retiree vision benefit vesting does not appear to be affected by the agreement.

Business and Travel Reimbursements: Reimbursement rates will be increased consistent with other bargaining units. Future increases adopted in CalHR policy statewide will automatically apply to all State Scientists.

Uniform Replacement Allowance: Increases the uniform replacement allowance for Scientists required to wear uniforms, from $450 to $670 annually for full-time employees; from $190 to $335 annually for part-timers. Applies to Scientists at Fish and Wildlife, Forestry and Fire Protection, and Parks and Recreation.

Safety Footwear:  Reimbursement for required safety footwear increases from $200 to $275 every two years.

Retirement Increase Cost Sharing:  In 2019-20 and 2020-21, the agreement increases employee pension contributions by up to 1 percent of pay, depending on the CalPERS determination of normal costs. The employee contribution would return to current levels in 2021-22.

Changes to Retiree Health Benefit Prefunding. In 2019-20 and 2020-21, if the actuarially determined normal costs to prefund retiree health benefits increases or decreases by more than 0.5 percent, the employer and employee contributions to prefund these benefits would be adjusted so that each pays one-half of total normal costs. The employee contribution would return to previous levels in 2021-22.

Duration: The MOU is effective July 1, 2018, and terminates July 1, 2020. Negotiations with the next governor would commence as early as January 2020, approximately 16 months from now.

Maintenance of Membership.  Requires the state to continue to deduct voluntary membership dues from payroll. Allows members to cancel membership, but only during 30 days prior to expiration of the MOU, June 2020.

Ratification/Balloting.  This agreement is tentative, subject to review and approval by all CAPS members, and the state Legislature. A secret ballot election for CAPS members – and only members – is being planned consistent with past practice. Legislative review and ratification is underway now, and must be completed before the legislature departs for the year on Friday, August 31.

 

August 23, 2018

Your CAPS Bargaining Team late last night reached tentative agreement with negotiators representing Governor Brown. Highlights include the following:

Salaries: A 5% General Salary Increase July 1, 2019, and another 5% GSI July 1, 2020.

Educational Pay Differential: A 3% differential for Scientists required to have a Ph.D. or greater as a condition of employment; 2% for those required to have a Master’s Degree. This differential will not be considered compensation for purposes of retirement contributions.

Business and Travel Reimbursements: Reimbursement rates will be increased consistent with other bargaining units. Future increases adopted in CalHR policy statewide will automatically apply to all State Scientists.

Diving Pay: CDFW divers (approximately 28), will have their diving pay stipend increased from $12 per hour to $25 per hour.

Recruitment and Retention Differential-State Prisons: A $200 increase in this monthly differential will apply to State Scientists in eight state prisons including Avenal, Ironwood, Calipatria, Centinela, Chuckawalla Valley, Pelican Bay, California Correctional Center and High Desert Prisons.

Emergency Pay for Veterinarians and Staff Toxicologists: Enables licensed Veterinarians and Staff Toxicologists at the Departments of Food and Agriculture, and Fish and Wildlife, to earn overtime during declared emergencies.

Health, Dental, Vision: Preserves the “80/80” employer contribution formula, and eliminates the vesting schedule for new hires.

Uniform Replacement Allowance: Increases the uniform replacement allowance for Scientists required to wear uniforms as a condition of employment, from $450 to $670 annually for full-time employees; from $190 to $335 annually for part-timers. Applies to Scientists at the Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Forestry and Fire Protection, and Parks and Recreation.

Safety Footwear:  The state agrees to increase reimbursement for required safety footwear from $200 to $275 every two years.

Retirement Increase Cost Sharing: CAPS agrees to share increases in the “normal” cost of retirement during the term of this MOU only. During July 2020 the rate returns to the current rate, 8%.

Duration: The MOU is effective July 1, 2018, and terminates July 1, 2020. Negotiations with the next governor would commence as early as January 2020, approximately 16 months from now.

Review the Tentative Agreements. A copy of every section of this tentative agreement can be found on the CalHR webpage: http://www.calhr.ca.gov/labor-relations/Pages/Unit-10-Professional-Scientific.aspx

Ratification Process.  This agreement is tentative, subject to review and approval by all CAPS members, and the state Legislature. A secret ballot election for CAPS members – and only members – is being planned consistent with past practice. Legislative review and ratification is underway now, and must be completed before the legislature departs for the year next Friday, August 31.

Worksite Meetings Planned. Worksite meetings are being scheduled to enable as many members as possible to express their views and get their questions answered. Look for that schedule shortly.

 

August 17, 2018

Your CAPS Bargaining Team met yet again with Governor Brown’s negotiators from CalHR on Wednesday, August 15. Very little improvement was made to the to the state’s salary offer, and to related CalHR proposals, so the CAPS Team told CalHR to go back to the drawing board and come back with a compensation package that befits the role of State Scientists in defending public health, various critical California industries, and the environment. The CalHR Team was told that without a substantive compensation proposal worthy of consideration for ratification by all CAPS members, there will be no final agreement with Governor Brown before he leaves office. The CAPS Team is next scheduled to meet with CalHR Wednesday, August 22.

August 2, 2018

Compensation for Advanced Degrees. It’s no secret that State Scientists are underpaid relative to their counterparts in the private sector and other government agencies.  Even with state service, Scientists are paid far less than other state professionals doing comparably complex work.  State Scientists required to have a Bachelor’s degree as a minimum aren’t paid comparably with other professionals also required to have this basic advanced degree.  The problem is especially egregious among State Scientists required to have a Masters, Ph.D. or Doctor of Medicine as a condition of employment.  None of them receive recognition or compensation for the additional time, effort and money required to achieve their advanced level specialty.

High Cost Living Ignored Too Long.  

CAPS Experts Speak To CalHR. 

Maureen Dutra:

https://vimeo.com/282570744
Length – 6:17 minutes

Rachel Broadwin: Oakland Research Scientist III Rachel Broadwin of OEHHA describes some of the important work being done by Research Scientists, and the need for competitive salaries.
Link- https://vimeo.com/282718804
Length – 4:23 minutes

Jimmy Spearow:  Sacramento Staff Toxicologist (Specialist) Jimmy Spearow explains to CalHR the important roles that State Toxicologists have in making California a leader in Toxicology, and why compensation for Toxicologists is far below market minimums.
https://vimeo.com/278582543
Length – 8:26 minutes

Allison Shirer:  Los Angeles Senior Environmental (Specialist) Allison Shirer speaks with authority on the critical need for special salary adjustments for State Scientists who live and work in higher cost-of-living geographic regions in California.
Link – https://vimeo.com/274984475
Length – 6:45 minutes

Simona Balan:  Watch Senior ES (Specialist)Simona Balan describe the harsh reality of making ends meet while working and living in the Bay Area.
https://vimeo.com/274984188
Length- 6:58 minutes

CDFW Environmental Scientist Needs Your Help. Sean Windell is an Environmental Scientist in CDFW’s Water Branch in Sacramento.  He has a serious medical condition, he’s on medical leave, he’s exhausted all his leave credits, and Sean needs catastrophic leave donations in order to keep getting a paycheck.  Please help if you can.

These leave credits may be donated as catastrophic leave: CTO, Personal Leave, Annual Leave, Vacation, Personal Day, and/or Holiday Credit.

Section 3.10 of the CAPS MOU allows transfer of annual leave, CTO, personal leave, vacation and/or holiday leave credits from one employee to another when a catastrophic situation is confirmed. Sick leave credits cannot be transferred. If you wish to donate any of your leave credits, other than sick leave, please complete Sean’s Catastrophic Leave Donation Form and forward it directly to:

Nicole Piumatti, Personnel Specialist
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
1416 Ninth Street, Room 1270
Sacramento, CA  95814

Please direct any questions regarding employee leave balances and the actual transfer process to your Personnel Specialist. Mr. Windell and CAPS extend our thanks in advance for your support!

Get Paid To Bicycle. The state’s new bicycle commute program provides $20 per month – up to $240 annually – to employees who regularly commute to work via bicycle.  That means riding a bike at least 50% of their scheduled working days for the calendar month.  Participants must submit a quarterly claim form to their department for approval.  Payments are issued by the State Controller’s Office in the same manner as payroll, either by warrant or direct deposit.  The payments are taxable.  See more here: CalHR’s website through this link.

July 26, 2018

CalHR’s Compensation Offer…CalHR on Tuesday FINALLY made a compensation offer in contract bargaining.  Your CAPS Team replied with this description: Late, Inadequate and Incomplete. There is still time to reach agreement on an acceptable package prior to the Legislature’s Friday, August 24 deadline for reviewing and approving new labor agreements. CAPS will make every effort to do just that, and is scheduled to meet next with CalHR on Wednesday, August 15. Before then, the CAPS Team wants to hear from you and all CAPS members. Here’s a summary of the CalHR offer:

General Salary Increases. CalHR proposed a GSI of 4% on July 1, 2019 and 3.5% on July 1, 2020. These would follow the 5% increase already in effect on July 1, 2018. (Meanwhile, the cost of living as measured by the US Department of Labor is approximately 3.2%.)

Geographic Pay Differential. CalHR proposed a monthly $250 differential, but only for State Scientists whose worksite is located in the following counties: Alameda, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco. This would not be considered as compensation for the purposes of retirement contributions. The CalHR proposal would NOT apply in Southern California or other counties typically recognized as high cost. This was in response to CAPS’ demand for recognition of sizeable cost-of-living differentials in high cost areas throughout California.

Educational Pay Differential. This CalHR proposal would provide a 2% monthly pay differential for those in a classification requiring a Master’s degree, and 3% for those in a classification requiring a doctoral degree or degree of Doctor of Medicine. This would not be considered as compensation for the purposes of retirement contributions. While low, the CalHR proposal finally recognizes CAPS’ pressure for increased compensation for State Scientists in classifications that require an advanced degree as a condition of employment.

Retirement Changes. CalHR proposed changes in California state law that would require State Scientists to share cost increases for retirement up to 1% annually, and for increases in the cost of post-retirement health and dental benefits (CERBT) up to 0.5% annually.

CalHR Proposal Incomplete. Missing from the CalHR proposal was a response to CAPS’ demands for increases to diving pay for Fish and Wildlife divers, modest increases in uniform and safety shoe allowances, emergency pay for certain State Scientists not normally entitled to earn overtime, increases to the reimbursement amount for attending professional conferences, improvements to Parental Leave, and many others.

CAPS Demanded MORE! The Team emphasized its demand for full Salary Equity for ALL State Scientists, or a firm, definite roadmap to get there. None of this exists in the CalHR proposal. CAPS emphasized that an agreement won’t be possible without this basic condition being met.

Agreement Reached on Non Discrimination. CAPS and CalHR agreed to rollover Section 13.7 which ensures that neither party will discriminate against any employee based on a host of protected categories including age, race, sex, it religious creed, color, national origin, etc.

One New Proposal from CAPS. Your CAPS Team proposed to amend existing language on Annual Leave (section 3.13) to allow State Scientists to switch enrollment between Annual Leave and traditional Sick Leave accrual based on serious health-related issues, including pregnancy.

We Want YOUR Input!  As a CAPS member, we value your input, and we need it! There won’t be any agreement absent a clear understanding by the CAPS Bargaining Team that the parameters reached have an excellent chance of being ratified by a majority of CAPS members in a ratification vote. So please, answer the following simple questionnaire and leave your comments. Your CAPS Team will read every word and take them to heart! Find the questionnaire here.

CAPSule on the Web. The latest issue is now posted on the CAPS webpage.  Watch for the July issue in your mailbox soon!

 

Long Hot Summer
July 19, 2018

Still No Mention of MONEY from CalHR, Just Possible Retirement Changes.  Your CAPS Bargaining Team met again Tuesday with Governor Brown’s negotiators from CalHR.  Incredibly, they had no offer for compensation, instead indicating it isn’t unusual for negotiations to continue into August. Instead, after a few less important developments described below, the parties agreed to meet again next Tuesday, July 24.

CalHR’s failure to make a salary offer to CAPS isn’t the only place it’s happening.  While State Scientists received a 5% general salary increase this month, state Engineers have received no increase whatsoever, and negotiations for a raise in Unit 9 have reached no conclusion.

Money Money Money! In CAPS’ negotiations, there are very few issues outstanding other than those requiring money. That means salary equity, geographic differentials, emergency pay, uniform allowance, increases to business and travel expense reimbursements, professional society dues, etc.

Retirement Cuts?! Especially troubling is to hear at this late date that the Governor and CalHR may yet propose changes to retirement benefits for State Scientists.  Any proposed reduction in retirement benefits for State Scientists, either those currently in service or newly hired, would be a DEAL BREAKER. That was made clear to CalHR’s negotiators – – CAPS will NEVER agree to any such cuts. Nevertheless, CAPS will continue negotiate in good faith, something that CalHR at this point seems to have a hard time doing.

Minor Agreements Reached. One was a significant rollover of language allowing State Scientists to voluntarily reduce their work schedule in exchange for receiving Personal Leave credits. This program (MOU Section 3.19) is less popular with state management because it creates a continuing unfunded liability, something that Governor Brown has sought to substantially reduce through annual buybacks of up to 80 hours.

Bicycle Incentive. The other minor agreement relates to a $20 monthly incentive for commuting to work via bicycle. The program will not appear in the CAPS MOU but will continue to be available to State Scientists via CalHR administrative rules. This ensures that should there be any increase to the reimbursement amount, or the addition of other modes of non-motorized transportation, such as walking, that State Scientists will receive the benefit of the increase without having to wait until the next bargaining cycle.

Nonmembers didn’t receive this important update from CAPS. They also won’t have any input on bargaining priorities. They won’t be able to vote on whether to ratify a tentative labor contract. They won’t be able to nominate or elect CAPS leaders.  In short, on employment disputes including providing direction to the CAPS Bargaining Team, nonmembers will be ON THEIR OWN.

Member-Only Benefits. Only members have access to a wide variety of member-only benefits. Only members automatically receive $100,000 in travel accident insurance and $5,000 of term life insurance at no additional cost. Only members can purchase low cost group term life insurance up to $520,000 and optional disability insurance. Only members qualify to receive quality discounted homeowners and renters insurance via Liberty Mutual.  Only members get discounts on a wide variety of products, services, and amusement parks. Only members qualify for quarterly professional grants and annual dependent college scholarships. See more here: http://capsscientists.org/benefits/

CAPS gladly welcomes all state scientists as members.  You to can invite your colleagues to join–nearly 8 out of 10 already have: http://capsscientists.org/contact/application/

 

June 28, 2018

CalHR Still Makes No Compensation Offer In Bargaining.  Your CAPS Bargaining Team met again all day Tuesday with Governor Brown’s negotiators from CalHR.  There was yet again no salary offer from CalHR. That’s in spite of CAPS’ demand that it make one.  Meanwhile, the last of the previously negotiated three consecutive annual 5% salary increases will take effect July 1.

The CAPS Team again discussed its salary proposal for full salary equity for ALL State Scientists effective January 1, 2019.  The message was made strongly and clearly: State Scientists are underpaid and underappreciated.  That MUST be corrected immediately!  See the CAPS proposal here.

CAPS also explored ways to ensure Hazardous Materials Specialists working for the Department of Corrections (CDCR) are paid what they are owed, and treated fairly in the conduct of their work in state correctional facilities.  CAPS is likely to propose new language at the next bargaining session to address this.

Several tentative agreements were reached on Tuesday, none of them requiring additional funding from the state.  These included…

  • Hardship Transfer.  New language was agreed upon that recognizes hardship transfers as a way of dealing with work and family issues including but not limited to domestic violence, a substantiated complaint of workplace violence or workplace bullying, a mandatory job transfer of a spouse or domestic partner, or family illness, injury, death, serious health condition or other important consideration. Under these circumstances, an employee can be transferred to another geographic area, work location or work unit in order to mitigate the hardship.
  • 2.12 Lump Sum Leave Cash Out Upon Separation.  Continues an existing contract section with minor changes.  This section allows State Scientists defer tax payments on leave balances upon retirement by transferring all or a portion of those balances to a tax deferred IRC 457b or IRC 401k plan offered via the State’s Savings Plus Program.
  • 5.7 FlexElect Program. Continues an existing contract section with minor changes.  It requires the State to provide a plan allowing State Scientists to use pre-tax earnings to pay for qualifying out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses.
  • 9.12 Grievance Arbitration.  This section adds language to an existing provision that ensures that contract grievances that advance to arbitration are litigated promptly.
  • Employee – Union Orientation. New language was agreed upon which entitles CAPS representatives the opportunity to meet with each new State Scientist during normal work hours for orientation regarding their employment rights, benefits, duties, responsibilities and other employment related matters. CAPS already does such an orientation with new state scientists; this language simply confirms it.

The next meeting between CAPS and CalHR is scheduled for Tuesday, July 17.  Please wear your CAPS t-shirt in solidarity on Bargaining Days and Science Fridays!

 

June 14, 2018

Bargaining Update.  Your CAPS Bargaining Team met yet again Tuesday with Governor Brown’s negotiators from CalHR, the Department of Finance, and labor relations officers from several state departments that employ State Scientists.

CalHR made no salary offer, but CAPS and CalHR did agree that during the term of the next MOU there will be no mandatory unpaid furloughs.  This is a significant change from the current MOU, which permitted Governor Brown to implement unpaid furloughs during the third and final year of the MOU if authorized by the state Legislature.

The next meeting between CAPS and CalHR is scheduled for Tuesday, June 26.  Please wear your CAPS t-shirt in solidarity on Bargaining Days and Science Fridays!

5% Salary Increase, .7% OPEB (or CERBT) Payment Effective July 1.  The current CAPS MOU provides for the third of three consecutive 5% General Salary Increases next month.  The compounding impact of these three increases is nearly 16%. Also effective will be the second of three equal annual contributions by the state and every state scientist to fund health benefits during retirement.  That deduction will be an additional .7%.  All funds are administered by CalPERS and are nonrefundable. Prefunding health benefits during retirement helps ensure that quality health benefits continue to be sustainable throughout your retirement years. The final installment of 1.4% is effective July 1, 2019.

Renovations Signal Smaller Office Sizes.  The CalEPA and Bonderson buildings in Sacramento are due for a makeover.  The Natural Resources Building in Sacramento is planned for a seismic retrofit. Two new buildings are expected to be added to the Sacramento skyline in 2020 and 2021. In announcing these plans, the state Department of General Services outlined planned renovations that downsize offices to 7×7 in order to accommodate more employees.  This is a trend that may signal plans for future new office spacing statewide.

CAPS has already warned state officials that universally downsizing offices compromises confidentiality and operational needs for many State Scientists. Other concerns include privacy, lighting, shading and temperature control.  The DGS asserts that cubicle sizing will follow current MOU and State Administrative Manual Standards. View DGS’ presentation on the new buildings here: DGS Presentation to Unions 6-4-2018

See DGS’s Ten Year Plan on their website here: https://www.documents.dgs.ca.gov/dgs/pio/sequencingplan.pdf

DGS plans to hold “town hall” style meetings where employees can voice their concerns. That schedule is pending.

See CalEPA’s current layout here: CalEPA Building Current Layout

…and CalEPA’s proposed layout here: CalEPA Building Proposed Layout

Please let us know what concerns you have regarding these plans.

 

June 1, 2018

Still No “Beef” In Bargaining.  Your CAPS Bargaining Team met yesterday with Governor Brown’s negotiators from CalHR, the department of Finance, and labor relations officers from several state departments that employ State Scientists.

The state has still made no offer on salary and benefits, even after the CAPS Team pressed them to do so.  This is after a tentative agreement has been reached in Unit 6 (Correctional Officers—Unit 6).  See an analysis of that agreement here:  http://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/3847

CAPS made new proposals of its own…

  • 3.21 No Mandated Reduction In Work Hours.  CAPS’ proposal would revise current contract language to ensure that there will be no unpaid mandatory furloughs during the term of the successor MOU.
  • 5.1 Health, Dental Vision.  CAPS’ proposal would revise current MOU language to ensure new State Scientists receive 100% of the state’s contribution for health benefit plans when hired, and the right to enroll in the indemnity dental plan after 12 months of employment, not 24 months.
  • 6.4 Uniform Replacement. CAPS’ proposal would increase the biannual reimbursable amount for uniforms to $670 for full timers and $335 for part-timers where uniforms are required to be worn. It would also authorize up to $200 annually for specialty equipment and/or apparel when it is used exclusively for state work but not provided by the state.  Such items could include protective sunglasses, hats and protective clothing.
  • 6.7 Safety FootwearCAPS proposed to increase the biannual reimbursement amount for required safety footwear from $200 to $275.  This proposed increase was based on a CAPS market survey of the cost of safety footwear.
  • Employee-Union Orientation. CAPS proposed that contract language reflect CAPS legal right to meet with new State Scientists during normal work hours for orientation and review of the union rights.
  • Employee InformationCAPS proposed that the state provide to all State Scientist annually a summary of leave and benefit information.

The next meeting between CAPS and CalHR is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12.  Please wear your CAPS t-shirt in solidarity on Bargaining Days and Science Fridays!

 

May 17, 2018

No Economic Offer from CalHR Yet.  In spite of a healthy budget surplus, Governor Brown’s representatives in contract bargaining have yet to make a proposal for additional general salary increases for State Scientists. The Governor’s proposed budget DOES fund the 5% GSI scheduled for July 1, 2018.  That increase is the third of three consecutive 5% increases contained in the current CAPS Memorandum of Understanding, which expires on July 2, 2018.

The principal purpose of the current round of contract bargaining is twofold: to achieve Salary Equity for ALL State Scientists, and to renew the CAPS MOU which secures and protects a host of benefits and workplace protections for State Scientists.

CAPS Team Passionate About Equity!  At one point near the end of Tuesday’s negotiations, the CalHR spokesperson asked which of CAPS’ compensation proposals take priority.  After consideration, the CAPS Team underscored the importance of ALL of its “money” proposals, starting with SALARY EQUITY.  Far too many years of unequal pay have left State Scientists being undervalued, and that must change NOW, CAPS Team members said.  That is not to lessen the importance of other monetary proposals, such as geographic differential pay (which CalHR acknowledged is a real and pressing need), and proposals that affect smaller but very important pockets of State Scientists, such as dive pay (which has not been adjusted in many years), overtime for FLSA “Exempt” Scientists during declared emergencies such as oil spills, increased professional society dues which promote career development, and paid parental leave, among others.

Your CAPS Team, meanwhile, made several new proposals on behalf of State Scientists:

  • Paid Parental Leave. CAPS proposed to establish a paid leave benefit of 60 days to every Unit 10 employee upon the birth or adoption of a child. Such leave could be taken in one-hour increments and would expire within one year of the arrival or adoption of the new child.
  • Domestic Partnership BenefitsCommitted relationships without marriage are increasingly common.  To recognize this, CAPS proposed to extend state benefits in recognized domestic partnerships.  The result would treat registered or qualifying domestic partnerships for purposes of benefits coverage the same as married couples.
  • Anti-Bullying.  CAPS proposed a minor wording change to our existing MOU language to require state departments to maintain a Workplace Violence and Bullying Prevention Program.

Agreement was reached to “rollover” several current sections of the CAPS MOU, with no substantive changes.  These included: 2.4 (Bilingual Differential Pay); 8.5 (Retirement Exclusions); 8.8 (Tax Treatment); 16.1 (Layoff and Reemployment); 16.2 (Reducing Adverse Effects of Layoff).

The next CAPS Bargaining Session with CalHR is scheduled for Thursday, May 31.

 

May 3, 2018

Your CAPS Bargaining Team met yet again on Tuesday, May 1 with representatives of Governor Brown’s negotiators from the California Department of Human Resources and various state departments that employ State Scientists. The meeting focused less on theatrics from the state’s team, and, fortunately, more on substantive proposals. Your CAPS Team made the following written proposals:

  • 2.1 Salary. The CAPS Team again reviewed its salary proposal and provided written confirmation with details.  This was backed up by several members of the CAPS Team, who made forceful and detailed arguments supporting the need for immediate and full salary equity.

These comments focused on the need for salary justice in the workplace, and restoring a semblance of balance and fairness.  The State’s team was told—again—how the salary lag with state engineers was compounded by the July 2013 equity raise of as much as 42% for Senior ES Supervisors and a select group of other supervisory classifications.  The consequence has been to make many State Scientists feel undervalued, WHICH WE ARE!  The response from CalHR was to reassure the CAPS Team that the work of State Scientists really are valued, and that no two bargaining units are paid alike. The State’s Team did not, however, make any specific proposals regarding salary.

  • 2.10 Recruitment and Retention Differentials. This amends a proposal previously made by CAPS. The amended proposal would increase the amount of the “recruitment and retention bonus” paid to employees working at certain remote state prisons from $2400 to $2600.
  • 6.1 Business and Travel Expenses. This also amends a proposal previously made by CAPS. The amended proposal would increase the minimum amount reimbursed for lodging anywhere in California from the current $90 to $115.
  • 2.7 Diving/Climbing Pay.  This proposal would increase the amount paid to scientists who “scuba” dive on state business from the current different range of $12 per diving hour to $25 per each hour for all payable hours of the day of the dive. This amount has not increased in many years.  The amended amount reflects the amount now being paid by other governmental agencies.
  • Hardship Transfer. This proposal would for the first time recognize in the MOU the importance of hardship transfers as a way of dealing with work and family issues. Such transfers would be allowable when a state scientist is experiencing a verifiable hardship, including substantiated complaints of workplace violence or bullying.
  • 13.7 Non-DiscriminationThis proposal would expand existing language outlining prohibited activities related to discrimination. It would also specifically list governmental agencies where redress can be sought, including each department’s Equal Employment Opportunity office, the State Personal Board, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • Professional Respect Clause. This proposal would commit state management to providing a workplace free of bullying where all employees are treated by supervisors and managers with accepted standards of common human courtesy and dignity.

The Teams agreed to retain (“rollover”), several sections of the current MOU including:

  • 4.1 Holidays, which establishes which Holidays are observed with pay for State Employees.
  • 13.6 Supersession, which gives the MOU control over the Government Code Sections listed.
  • 16.3 Change in Work Location, which ensures that the state will provide at least seven working days’ notice of a change in their work location which would not require an employee to move.
  • 16.4 Appeal of Involuntary Transfer, which defines when an involuntary transfer can be appealed.
  • 19.10 Contracting Out, which guarantees that the State does not incur unnecessary additional costs by contracting out work that could be appropriately performed by Unit 10 employee
  • 20.1 Entire Agreement, in which CalHR and CAPS agree to negotiate the contract.

Classification Reform.  The CAPS Team demanded to know why CalHR continues to do nothing to further class consolidation and reform in State Scientific classes after years of saying it is a priority.  The Team pointed out recent news reports of state IT related classifications going through a comprehensive reclass and receiving salary increases of up to 9% as a result. CalHR’s response on this was lackluster, claiming that the unit within CalHR is working on some type of reclassification among Research Scientists and Energy related classifications. They offered no specifics.

The Teams are set to meet again on Tuesday, May 15.

 

CalHR Turns Its Back on CAPS
April 20, 2018

Salary Equity NOW!The state’s bargaining team led by Governor Brown’s CalHR stood up and turned its back on your CAPS Bargaining Team on Tuesday April 17.  That symbolic act was taken as CAPS summarized its detailed salary proposal. See it here:  2.1 Salaries

That didn’t stop CAPS from completing the proposal, or making additional proposals as summarized below.

Geographic Pay Differential.  CAPS proposed that the state implement the geographic incentive pay plan the federal government offers its California-based employees. This would result in differentials of between 24.86 and 39.28 percent for scientists assigned to work in the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Kern, Los Angeles, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, San Benito, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba.

A huge thanks to Senior ES Specialists Simona Balan of DTSC Berkeley and Allison Shirer of DTSC Chatsworth (Los Angeles) for discussing the special challenges of meeting the every day challenges of life in a high cost area on a State Scientist’s salary.  A video synopsis of their testimony will be available for all to see soon.

R&R Differential State PrisonsCAPS proposed that scientists employed at California Correctional Centers and State Prisons be offered a recruitment and retention differential for working in a high-risk environment. After working for twelve consecutive months in one of these prisons, eligible employees would receive a bonus of $2,400.

Business and Travel Reimbursements. Inflation drives up costs on all consumer goods throughout California. This should be reflected in the amounts you are reimbursed when you’re traveling on state business. So CAPS proposed an increase in meal reimbursement of up to $51.00 per day for each full 24 hours of travel—that’s the minimum the federal governments reimburses with no adverse tax consequences. That’s up from the current state cap of $46.00 per day. CAPS also seeks increased lodging reimbursement rates for high cost areas such as Marin and San Francisco.

Professional Society Dues. CAPS proposed increasing members’ reimbursement for professional society dues from the current rate of $100 to $500 annually.

Professional Conferences. Your CAPS team proposed a change in the language to this Section, from “up to two job-related professional conferences…” to “a minimum of two job-related professional conferences…”

Transportation IncentivesA proposal to help scientists reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion was put forth, requesting that scientists who use public transportation and/or vanpools see an increase in their possible reimbursement rate.

CalHR Turned Its Back. As mentioned above, in response to the CAPS Salary Equity summary, the state’s bargaining team, chaired by a representative from Governor Brown’s CalHR, stood up, turned its back, and filed out of the room.  This was seemingly in response to the CAPS television ad, which has aired over 200 times in the Northern California region.  See it here: https://vimeo.com/264646587

After bargaining later resumed, the CAPS Team reminded the state’s team to act with better decorum in the course of these talks.  The CAPS media campaign is a relatively benign reminder to Governor Brown and CalHR the compensation favoritism shown to state engineers at the expense of state scientists must end NOW!

No agreements were reached, but further discussions on salary will continue in future sessions.

Wear Your CAPS T-Shirt May 1!  Show solidarity with the CAPS Bargaining Team by wearing a CAPS T-Shirt on Tuesday May 1.  That’s when CAPS will next meet in contract bargaining with CalHR.  Please feel free to take a group photo with your State Scientist colleagues, and share the photos with CAPS () and/or on your personal social media pages.  #ScienceMatters #FairPay4Scientists 

Need A T-Shirt?  If so, we have a few on hand.  If you will wear it to work on Science Fridays or Bargaining Tuesdays, please let us know, and we will get one in the mail to you PRONTO!http://capsscientists.org/caps-t-shirts/

REMINDER: CAPS T-Shirts are issued with full membership.  YOU can join your colleagues by completing an application at this secure site:  http://capsscientists.org/contact/application/

Salary Equity NOW!
April 6, 2018

Your CAPS Bargaining Team on Tuesday, April 3 presented a detailed salary proposal to Governor Brown’s California Department of Human Resources (CalHR). See it here:  2.1 Salaries.

The CAPS proposal would do two things: implement full Salary Equity for ALL State Scientists on January 1, 2019. This would restore pre-2005 salary equivalency between the Environmental Scientist classification (plus all Unit 10 classifications that require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum) with state employed engineers.

Second, the CAPS proposal would recognize State Scientists required to have a PhD or greater with at least an additional 10% in salary.  State Scientists required to have a Master’s Degree as a minimum would receive an additional 5% in salary.

Four career State Scientists presented graphic testimony in support of the CAPS proposal. A video summary of those presentations will be available shortly for your review.

Veterinarian Maureen Lee Dutra, DVM, MPVM, of the Department of Food and Agriculture’s Animal Health Branch in Tulare described the extensive educational requirements necessary to obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and the vast disconnect between the demands of that job and the relatively low compensation they receive for it.

Staff Toxicologist Jimmy Spearow, PhD, of the DTSC in Sacramento presented a compelling case for competitive salaries for PhD-level scientists.  He noted that new graduates in Toxicology typically carry a debt load averaging some $200,000.

Research Scientist III Rachel Broadwin, MS, of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment in Oakland presented outstanding testimony on behalf of State Scientist required to have a Master’s Degree as a minimum.  Again, low salaries make recruiting and retaining well-qualified scientists in this discipline exceedingly difficult, especially in high cost of living areas.

Finally, CAPS Bargaining Chairperson, Environmental Scientist Stephanie Lewis of DTSC in Chatsworth presented voluminous and compelling evidence to support the need to restore salary equivalency between the Environment Scientist classification (and all State Scientific classifications requiring a Bachelor’s Degree as a minimum) with their state engineering counterparts. Salary equivalency was the norm for decades prior to 2005, when then Governor Gray Davis agreed to formula base salary increases for state engineers in State Bargaining Unit 9.

No Commitment from CalHR. In response, the state’s bargaining team, chaired by a representative from Governor Brown’s CalHR, listened politely and asked questions. No agreement was reached, but further discussions on salary will continue in future sessions.

CAPS Made Other Proposals.  The CAPS Team additionally proposed that ALL State Scientists exempt from overtime compensation (Work Week Group E) be paid for extended periods of work during a recognized emergency (7.7 Work Week Groups), that State Scientists who are required to use Personal Protective Equipment receive a differential of $125 monthly (X.0 New Language), that the state reimburse State Scientists for the expense of continuing education done to renew a license or certification required as a condition of employment (X.1 New Language), and that the state compensate state Veterinarians for being assigned to manage, supervise or lead an emergency where an Incident Command Structure is established, or the Governor has declared an emergency (2.13 Emergency Pay-Veterinarians).

Wear Your CAPS T-Shirt April 17!  Show solidarity with the CAPS Bargaining Team by wearing a CAPS T-Shirt on Tuesday April 17.  That’s when CAPS will next meet in contract bargaining with CalHR.  Please feel free to take a group photo with your State Scientist colleagues, and share the photos with CAPS () and/or on your personal social media pages.  #ScienceMatters #FairPay4Scientists 

Need A T-Shirt?  If so, we have a few on hand.  If you will wear it to work on Science Fridays or Bargaining Tuesdays, please let us know, and we will get one in the mail to you PRONTO!http://capsscientists.org/caps-t-shirts/.

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MOU Renewal Talks Begin
March 22, 2018

 

March 20, Tuesday, was the first day of Spring.  It was also the first formal meeting between the CAPS Bargaining Team and Governor Brown’s representatives from the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR). The purpose is to negotiate a successor agreement to the current CAPS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which expires on July 1, 2018.

During the March 20 meeting, the CAPS and CalHR Teams spent considerable time approving language that will continue unchanged, and planning future sessions.  These are scheduled for every OTHER week on Tuesdays through June 26.  The one exception is Memorial Day week, when negotiations are scheduled for Wednesday, May 30.

The CAPS Team will begin making substantive NEW proposals when the Teams next meet on Tuesday, April 3.

Wear Your CAPS T-Shirt April 3!Show solidarity with the CAPS Bargaining Team by wearing your CAPS T-Shirt on Tuesday, April 3.  That’s when CAPS will present its salary proposal on behalf of all State Scientists in Bargaining Unit 10, the Professional Scientific bargaining unit.

Need another T-Shirt?  Is the first one getting a little shop worn? If so, we have a few on hand.  If you need another, and you will wear it to work on Science Fridays or Bargaining Tuesdays, please let us know, and we will get one in the mail to you PRONTO!  http://capsscientists.org/caps-t-shirts/

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