About CAPS

CAPS is Dedicated to YOU!

CAPS was formed in 1984 by state scientists for state scientists.  Thoughtful State Scientists at the time wanted a union dedicated solely to the employment and professional needs of State Scientists, not get lost with thousands of other unrelated state employee groups.  So CAPS was formed, challenged the incumbent union representative, and became the exclusive representative for State Scientists after a statewide vote.   This means that CAPS represents you in the workplace, in the Legislature, and, when necessary, in the court of law. CAPS negotiates higher salaries, protects your retirement and health benefits.  CAPS protects your right to continued employment.

CAPS’ Mission Statement

The California Association of Professional Scientists is an independent association formed solely for the purpose of representing the interests of scientists in California state service. The membership is unified by three fundamental principles:

Professionalism. CAPS is committed to helping individual scientists fulfill their needs as professionals — men and women with roles in the world community of science and with occupational responsibilities as well.

Independence. CAPS members are pledged to pursuing professional courses of action determined without regard to political influences.

Responsible Advocacy. CAPS takes a firm but responsible approach to representing its membership in legislative matters, contract negotiations and individual personnel actions.

Twelve CAPS directors and officers are elected statewide from five districts. CAPS is broadly and effectively representative of the considerable talents and education of the state’s scientific expertise.

CAPS’ Vision:  The Citizen Scientists of California

The Scope of the Work

What are the relative benefits and hazards of experiments with engineered bacteria? Can we build an effective earthquake warning system? How do we determine energy needs for the coming decade? How do we reduce smog and toxic chemicals in our air? How can we ensure that the yearly take of fish and game does not endanger wildlife populations? How can we use technology and sound ecological principles to best protect our number one, multibillion-dollar industry—agriculture—from plant pests and diseases? How do we protect our citizens from the health hazards of toxic waste disposal? How do we ensure safety in our workplace environments?

These are but a few of the problems California’s professional scientists confront daily. Finding solutions requires energy, educated insight and dedication. On any given day, California scientists may be hip deep in a contaminated lake, probing the secrets of bacteria with an electron microscope, or poring over ancient archives to document the history of an endangered species. Often, the work demands not only ingenuity but raw courage as well.

The work of state scientists require critical decisions which are based on rigorous scientific fact-finding and ultimately affect the lives and property of all Californians. The contamination of our California air, for example, has been slowed by the burn/not burn decision of a meteorologist. Drinking water is safer because a sanitarian alerted developers to the dangers of toxics precipitating from a landfill. An industrial plant is free of radiation hazards because of a health physicist’s recommendations.

Their aggregate years of university education exceed 120 centuries and cost more than $50 million to attain. They hold graduate degrees in virtually every scientific discipline, specializing in such esoteric areas as nematology, virology, seismology, epidemiology, toxicology and several dozen others.

As taxpaying citizens of California with home mortgages, families and political preferences, they share the hope of the Yuba City farmer and San Diego warehouseman for a better life in California.

However, their years of education and professional roles give these men and women extraordinary vision. Some have watched the slow rise of salinity levels in South Bay soils, foreseeing the consequences for California agriculture. Others recognize a surface earthquake fault at first sight, and can offer a reasonable estimate as to when it will again become restive. Still others have witnessed our landfill sites vanish beneath the weight of millions of tons of waste per year, and their vision of the future is one of concerned alarm.

These are the scientists — more than 2500 of them — who work in over 31 departments of California government. Like Sir Isaac Newton, they see farther because they stand on the shoulders of giants: Lavoisier, Harvey, Leeuwenhoek and Priestley. And the work they do provides us all with renewed hope for better food, safer homes and a cleaner environment.

CAPS Climate Change Policy

CAPS declares climate change to be the most serious threat to environmental balance that provides for the continued successful existence of humans on this planet.  CAPS is committed to taking any and all steps necessary—by itself and in conjunction with others—to slow or reverse the deleterious effects of climate change. CAPS will urge that scientific work being done within state government to stem climate change should be expanded in a variety of ways.  CAPS is committed to supporting any and all such efforts via legislation, executive order, administrative policy and public education.

Sustainability Policy

CAPS recognizes its responsibilities to the environment and future generations and is committed to being a leader in environmental sustainability, both in the way we carry out our operations and in the policies and services we provide. CAPS must be a responsible steward of the environment and seeks to reduce the rate at which we contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and the depletion and degradation of natural resources through the following steps:

  1. Increase our use of renewable resources, and incorporate concepts of sustainability into our daily business affairs.
  2. Develop priorities and set goals to implement decisions regarding sustainability impacts on our activities.
  3. Preferentially select vendors and contractors that demonstrate sustainable practices.
  4. Continually improve and upgrade water efficiency, energy utilization, and waste management within CAPS facilities when practicable (since facility is leased, options may be limited).
  5. Maintain a high level of internal expertise regarding sustainability.
  6. Lease or purchase the most energy efficient ENERGYSTAR office equipment.
  7. When practicable for staff and board travel, CAPS will utilize and promote the most energy efficient form of transportation, including public transportation when practicable.
  8. Henceforth only purchase 100% post-consumer recycled paper whenever practicable.
  9. Double-side documents to the maximum extent practicable.
  10. Review office and administrative procedures to make them as paperless as practicable.
  11. Waste is minimized to the maximum extent practicable and reuse and recycling of waste are maximized.
  12. Offices will have free energy audits conducted and to the maximum extent possible implement the energy reduction recommendations made in the audits.
  13. When practicable strive to purchase only the most environmentally sound, locally produced, organic, and recycled products.
  14. Purchase and utilize reusable, rather than disposable products, whenever practicable.
  15. Emphasize to employees at all levels their own responsibility to environmental sustainability, giving training and information where applicable.
  16. Display and provide this Policy to all employees, including sub-contractors, and CAPS members
  17. Periodically review and update this policy.