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Forward View
By CAPS President Patty Velez

This is the time of year I typically look back and assess what we have accomplished. I find it useful and gratifying to reflect on the many things for which I have to be thankful. But this December I am also looking forward. This is what I see.

Salary Equity NOW! I am supremely aware of what our MOU doesn’t provide — full salary equity. But we can all see the many benefits it does provide — significant salary growth, protection of our many leaves and benefit programs, and stability to plan for the future.  Relative to any of the current contracts negotiated on behalf of other state employees, the CAPS agreement is easily the best. We are receiving significantly more in general salary increases, we are receiving them sooner, and our contribution to guaranteed post-retirement health benefits is less. Regardless, your CAPS Bargaining Team has its sights set on improvements in many critical areas of the MOU when negotiations commence this coming Spring. Salary equity is tops on the list, but there are many other areas that need to be addressed. I will be guided in that effort by the results of our member bargaining survey, which will be released in early 2018. So please look for it, and return it with your choices and your thoughts.

Retirement Security Remains A Priority. We’ve beaten back efforts to degrade public sector retirement plans in California, but they continue. Every one of us deserves a secure, reasonable retirement based on a formula we were promised when hired. To have that promise changed while working—or worse, after you retire—would be a monumental failure by our elected officials. It’s simply unconscionable.

We have done everything possible to strengthen our sustainable defined-benefit retirement plan: lowered benefits for new hires; increased contributions for those still working; lowered the assumed rate of return by the retirement fund; eliminated scams by those who would pad their retirement at the expense of the system; and successfully fought efforts to terminate our plan in the State Legislature and at the ballot box. NOTHING is more important than ensuring a secure, known retirement annuity promised after a career of dedicated public service.

CAPS Representation. Over the past 12 months, hundreds of state scientists counted on CAPS to represent them on work-related disputes — conflicts with supervisors, disciplinary actions, salary disputes, classification questions, workload and overtime issues. CAPS remains the one place every CAPS member can count on to receive a sympathetic ear and expert representation. That tradition will continue.

Membership Matters. We expect a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court this summer that could eliminate fair share fees nationwide. Such a decision would reduce our income and our ability to represent YOU in every forum. We are planning for this eventuality just like every other union nationwide. Not only does Science Matter, but our Union does too.  CAPS will remain your strong advocate, but only if State Scientists continue to support CAPS voluntarily. Keep CAPS strong. Maintain your membership!

Thank You! Finally, I’d like to thank YOU for supporting your Board of Directors and Bargaining Team during these trying times. There is so much more to accomplish.  Working together, we will succeed.

Salary Equity for One and ALL State Scientists!