Bargaining Updates

March 29, 2024

Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team), staff, and legal counsel continue to review the State’s imposed terms. This analysis includes, but is not limited to:

  • Comparing the State’s planned implemented terms to our previous 2018-2020 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), as well as the LBFO presented to your CAPS Team in December 2023;
  • Comparing the State’s implemented terms to the Dills Act, other statutes, regulations, and the CalHR Manual that take effect, absent an MOU; and
  • Assessing any possible legal or legislative challenges.

Allowing CAPS legal counsel and staff time to complete their comprehensive analysis ensures State Scientists will be well informed, and that your CAPS Team has an informed foundation moving forward. In trying to get the analysis of the implementation plan right, accuracy and thoroughness are needed.

We’ll continue to provide updates on the analysis, as they are available.

Impasse Timeline 

  • The Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) declared impasse September 26, 2023.
  • Your CAPS Team and the State engaged in the mediation process from November 8, 2023, to December 13, 2023.
  • The State presented your CAPS Team with their LBFO on December 19, 2023, which was rejected by CAPS on December 21, 2023.
  • Almost four months later, Monday, March 18, the State provided your CAPS Team notice of their intention to impose some variation of their December 2023 LBFO. The State offered to not move forward with its Implementation Plan if your CAPS Team returns to the table to bargain in good faith for a successor MOU. 
  • Thursday, March 21, your CAPS Team requested the State “expand on what concessions or movement the State is willing to make. Alternatively, please provide what discussions the State would like to have, should the CAPS Bargaining Committee return to the table. It’s been four months since we rejected the State’s LBFO and nothing tells us why the State has a sudden interest in returning to negotiations.”
    • The State has still not provided any response to our request.

LBFO Refresher

  •  The Dills Act, specifically Government Code Section 3517.8(b), allows the State to unilaterally impose “any or all” of the terms with their LBFO. 
  • However, the State cannot impose anything that would waive our statutory rights (such as our right to strike). 
  • Any implemented terms involving the expenditure of funds, or that would conflict with existing statutes, must go to the Legislature for approval.
  • Implementation of any or all of the terms within the State’s LBFO doesn’t relieve parties of obligations to bargain for a successor MOU, should changed circumstances break impasse.
  • The State can unilaterally implement terms of their LBFO until a collectively-bargained MOU can be reached. Just the same, however, state scientists are free to withhold our labor under these terms.

Links to the State’s Implemented Terms of their LBFO and Related Documents

*Note: these documents do not provide a comprehensive overview of everything that applies to State Scientists right now. We recognize that there is a lot that is missing from the State’s implemented terms, and CAPS attorneys are working tirelessly to assess the laws, regulations, and policies that apply in the absence of implemented language.

REMINDERS:

  • Share your thoughts with your CAPS Team using this form. Your CAPS Team reads every single message shared with us. 
  • Subscribe to our CAPS Events Calendar using your personal email to stay up to date with upcoming CAPS events,  by selecting the “+” button on the bottom right of the calendar. 
  • Learn more about the CAPS Contract Action Team (CAT) and become a leader in your worksite TODAY!
  • Vote on UAW Affiliation – If you haven’t voted yet, vote now and make your voice heard.

March 25, 2024

At the close of business on Friday, March 22, CAPS received the implementation plan for the State’s Last, Best, and Final Offer (LBFO).

Your CAPS Team, legal, and staff are now in the process of a full review of this plan and will prepare a summary and share more details as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience, stay tuned!

REMINDERS:

  • Share your thoughts with your CAPS Team using this form. Your CAPS Team reads every single message shared with us. 
  • Subscribe to our CAPS Events Calendar using your personal email to stay up to date with upcoming CAPS events,  by selecting the “+” button on the bottom right of the calendar. 
  • Learn more about the CAPS Contract Action Team (CAT) and become a leader in your worksite TODAY!
  • Vote on UAW Affiliation – If you haven’t voted yet, vote now and make your voice heard.

March 22, 2024

As reported to the membership on Wednesday, the State provided your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) notice of their intention to impose some variation of the Last, Best, and Final Offer (LBFO). 

In the State’s notice, CalHR suggested that the CAPS Team should return to the table to negotiate, without providing any evidence of concessions or changed circumstances on their side. Thus, your CAPS Team submitted a letter to CalHR in response, asking for direct answers on what the State would intend to meet about. 

You can see the notice from CalHR and our response here

We expect to receive what the State intends to impose today. Your CAPS Team, legal, and staff will review and prepare a summary. We will continue to do the necessary work to keep you updated. Keep up the good work! Stay tuned for more information!

REMINDERS:

  • Share your thoughts with your CAPS Team using this form. Your CAPS Team reads every single message shared with us. 
  • Subscribe to our CAPS Events Calendar using your personal email to stay up to date with upcoming CAPS events,  by selecting the “+” button on the bottom right of the calendar. 
  • Learn more about the CAPS Contract Action Team (CAT) and become a leader in your worksite TODAY!
  • Vote on UAW Affiliation – If you haven’t voted yet, vote now and make your voice heard.

March 7, 2024

Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met last week to discuss various upcoming meetings awaiting scheduling with the State. A handful of departments have released notices regarding new Return to Office (RTO) policies. Your CAPS Team discussed strategies on how to protect telework and address the various changes and issues that have arisen with regard to these notices, and what these meetings will look like in the coming weeks.  

CAPS and CalEPA will meet on March 14, 2024. This will be the first Meet and Confer regarding the new RTO policies. Your CAPS Team will be reaching out to a select group of CAPS members at CalEPA who completed the CAPS Telework Survey to invite them to give a presentation at the upcoming Meet and Confer as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). 

CAPS has reached out to the other departments who have released proposed changes to their telework policies, including CDFW, CalHHS, Department of Cannabis Control, and Department of Consumer Affairs; we have yet to hear back. 

Additionally, CAPS labor representatives have been contacted recently about departments inappropriately moving forward with Return to Office plans before holding Meet and Confers with CAPS. For example:

  • Members have reported that CalRecycle has encouraged supervisors to call staff back to the office on a 1- or 2-day per week schedule. CAPS has attempted to work with CalRecycle and will be moving to a more formal route to counter the Department’s actions. CalRecycle can’t have it both ways. CalRecycle has verbally instructed employees to RTO, without formal policy change and without meeting with your CAPS team.
  • The Department of Water Resources has continued to push for a full-time RTO for certain divisions, and our labor representatives are currently researching the best way to push back on this action. 
  • The Department of Pesticide Regulation has rolled out updates to duty statements to specify whether someone works from a remote location or in a “high-rise office building.” CAPS is pushing back on this, too. There is no reason for a duty statement to describe work location.

The only way CAPS labor representatives and your CAPS Bargaining Team can push back on new policies rolling out is if you and your colleagues join CAPS and keep us in the loop about what is going on at your worksites! Be sure to email CAPS at caps@capsscientists.org with any questions you have about new or changing circumstances at your workplace. 

Great job completing the CAPS Telework Survey! 1,897 rank-and-file scientists completed the CAPS Telework Survey. This provides your CAPS Team with real data from your colleagues, and adds to the information we need to argue our case! 

Opening Briefs Due. As mentioned in previous Bargaining Updates, CAPS will continue to defend the legality of our November strike before PERB by preparing written briefs for a PERB Judge’s consideration. As a reminder, a brief is a written legal document presented to a judge/court arguing why one party involved in a case should prevail. CAPS and CalHR’s opening briefs are both due THIS Friday at 5pm. 

The UPC filed against us has nothing to do with the LBFO, and does not interfere with our right to call for collective job actions going forward. The State cannot impose anything that would waive our statutory rights, such as our right to strike. 

LBFO. The State has informed CAPS that the LBFO is still ‘in process.’ We expect a decision from CalHR on the matter but there is currently no timetable for such a decision. Governor Newsom should absolutely be ashamed. We have every right to be angry and push our cause through collective action and any and all other means for achieving pay equity for State Scientists. State Scientists continue to do vital work for the state that protects and promotes the economic and physical well-being of all Californians. 

Join CAPS! Want to join your colleagues in building solidarity and power through actions for a fair contract? Join CAPS Today

Member-Led Actions Continue! As recently as last week, CAPS members and other union state workers rallied in Sacramento to let this Administration and departments know that we are saying HELL NO to the proposed updates to Telework Policies. Additional actions are being planned, be sure to stay up to date by subscribing to the CAPS Event calendar here

REMINDERS

February 20, 2024

Telework Meet and Confers pending scheduling. Your CAPS Bargaining Team has requested to meet with any department or agency that has released official plans to modify their telework policy in a way that requires a set number of days for in-office work. So far, this includes: CalEPA, CDFW, CalHHS, and DCC. Information requests have been sent to each of the affected departments, which will provide CAPS with additional information that is likely to clearly support the current telework policies. 

We have a pending meet and confer scheduled with CalEPA, this upcoming Tuesday, February 27th. Stay tuned for more details. 

On February 2nd, we requested to return to the bargaining table to discuss our telework stipends. CalHR has STILL not responded. We are following up, accordingly. 

If your supervisor informs you either verbally or in writing that your telework schedule will be changing, request that this change in your working conditions be communicated in writing via the modification process of the STD 200, and notify the CAPS general inbox ASAP at caps@capsscientists.org.  

Take CAPS’ Telework Survey! Fill out the CAPS’ Telework Survey by THIS THURSDAY, February 22, 2024! We estimate the survey will take 15–30 minutes to complete, so plan accordingly.

Your CAPS Bargaining Team is gathering pertinent individual member stories, labor statistics, and other related information to properly fight against various departments’ uninformed and ill-advised return-to-office (RTO) mandates. Fill out the CAPS’ Telework Survey to ensure your CAPS Bargaining Team goes into meet-and-confers armed with real data from you and your colleagues, and has all of the information we need to argue our case! This survey will also be used to help plan what job actions to take in response to arbitrary RTO mandates. 

To answer some questions reported to your CAPS Bargaining Team: 

  1. Why is the survey not anonymous? CAPS leadership is collecting names and other demographic data of survey respondents to allow us to verify member’s responses, and to reach out to folks if we have follow-up questions, or to those who state they’d be willing to participate in actions. It also helps the Contract Action Team (CAT) identify where we may need to conduct extra outreach to encourage maximum participation.
  2. What do some of the different options mean in Question 12 of the survey? 
  • Home-as-headquarters: Refers to a specific situation, where your residence has been assigned as your official headquarters by the appointing power, and you have no State office to report to. This most often occurs at CalCannabis, but occasionally happens at other departments, too. These folks do not qualify for the Telework Stipend, because they are not technically “teleworking.”  They are working from their assigned office, which happens to be their home, each day.
  • Remote-centered telework:  A teleworker is considered Remote-centered if they work fifty percent or more of their time from an alternate work location.  Remote-centered teleworkers shall have their dedicated work station located at their designated alternate work location.  Remote-centered teleworkers shall use shared space when working in the office.
  • Office-centered telework:  A teleworker is considered Office-centered if they work more than fifty percent from the office.  Office-centered teleworkers maintain a dedicated work station in the office and utilize their own equipment or department provided mobile equipment for teleworking at their designated alternate work location.

REMINDERS

  • Share your thoughts with your CAPS Bargaining Team using this form. Please note that your CAPS Bargaining Team will not be able to respond to every comment or suggestion, but will be reading all of the messages received. 
  • It’s CRITICAL that we can reach you and your colleagues effectively in case we need to take communications off work servers: 
    • Update your personal contact information here.
    • Sign up for our public email and text updates here

February 8, 2024

Your CAPS Bargaining Team met on Monday to plan for upcoming meet-and-confers with different departments and agencies, including CalEPA, CDFW, CalHHS, and Department of Cannabis Control, that have given notice to CAPS leadership of their proposed changes in telework policies. CAPS leadership is forcefully against a prescriptive, arbitrary minimum number of in-office days, and will continue to defend our ability to telework. So far, no meet-and-confer dates have been finalized. Last Friday, we requested to return to the bargaining table to discuss our telework stipends. CalHR has not responded, yet. 

If your supervisor informs you either verbally or in writing that your telework schedule will be changing, request that this change in your working conditions be communicated in writing via the modification process of the STD 200, and notify the CAPS general inbox ASAP at caps@capsscientists.org.  

Take CAPS’ Telework Survey! Your CAPS Bargaining Team is gathering pertinent individual member stories, labor statistics, and other related information to properly fight against various departments’ uninformed and ill-advised return-to-office (RTO) mandates. Fill out the CAPS’ Telework Survey to ensure your CAPS Bargaining Team goes into meet-and-confers armed with real data from you and your colleagues, and has all of the information we need to argue our case! This survey will also be used to help plan what job actions to take in response to arbitrary RTO mandates. 

Fill out the CAPS’ Telework Survey as soon as possible, but no later than February 22, 2024. We estimate the survey will take 15–30 minutes to complete, so plan accordingly.

No Word on the State’s Last, Best, and Final Offer (LBFO). Unsurprisingly, the State continues to drag its feet on determining what parts of its LBFO, if any, that they will be implementing. Any proposal that, if implemented, would conflict with existing statutes, supersede existing statutes, or require the expenditure of funds must be presented to the legislature for approval. In order to present the LBFO to the Legislature, CalHR must review every single section of their LBFO to determine whether it includes any improved benefit from what Government Code or other law provides, or requires an expenditure of funds. 

Your CAPS leadership, legal team, and legislative advocates are diligently working to determine what potential legislative or legal options are available to us, now that we are done with mediation and still without a contract. We will continue to update the membership with information as we learn more. For now, check out our updated FAQs, which were developed based on questions received from you! We will continue to update the FAQs as we learn more. 

Enforcing and Expanding Our Rights. CAPS continues to fight for a fair contract while also protecting members’ current rights. With or without a memorandum-of-understanding (MOU), CAPS, our union, is still the exclusive representative for all State Scientists. Right now, we are operating without an MOU. This means, that we are not able to file grievances, per-se, when the State or a department violates our previous MOU, because there is technically nothing in place for them to violate. CAPS labor representatives are still able to represent and fight for members – it just looks a bit different in the interim. If you have ANY issue or questions related to your terms and conditions of employment, or something that was included in the now expired MOU, please reach out to the CAPS general inbox at caps@capsscientists.org

Union representation is available to dues-paying CAPS members only. Becoming a member helps strengthen our collective voice as State Scientists and allows you to participate in our union’s decision-making processes. If you are not a member of your union, CAPS, join TODAY

Defending our LEGAL Strike at PERB. Shortly after CAPS professional staff notified CalHR of our impending strike last November, CalHR filed an Unfair Practice Charge (UPC) against CAPS with the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB). PERB will use the set of facts and exhibits that CAPS attorneys and CalHR attorneys agreed to in January. CAPS legal team is continuing to defend the legality of our November strike by preparing written briefs for the judge’s consideration. A brief is a written legal document presented to a judge/court arguing why one party involved in a case should prevail. This is all written argument. The briefing will occur in March. 

You can read about bargaining, impasse, and the Dills Act here.  

We are stronger together! The photo below shows CAPS members and other union state workers rallying outside of the CalEPA building in Sacramento last Thursday to let agency and department leadership know that their proposed incoming changes to telework policies are unacceptable. Great job to everyone who came out to demonstrate and fight for all state workers and our ability to telework!

To stay up to date on upcoming actions and events, subscribe to the CAPS Event calendar using your personal email address, by selecting the “+” button on the bottom right of the calendar. These actions are made possible by you and your colleagues. Become a leader in your worksite TODAY. Learn more about the CAPS Contract Action Team (CAT).

REMINDERS

  • Share your thoughts with your CAPS Bargaining Team using this form. Please note that your CAPS Bargaining Team will not be able to respond to every comment or suggestion, but will be reading all of the messages received. 
  • It’s CRITICAL that we can reach you and your colleagues effectively in case we need to take communications off work servers: 
    • Update your personal contact information here.
    • Sign up for our public email and text updates here

In Solidarty,
Your CAPS Bargaining Team

January 24, 2024

CAPS Worksite Meetings Held. To the 1,117 of you who were able to show up to last week’s worksite meetings, great job showing up and staying engaged in YOUR union! If you were unable to attend one of last week’s worksite meetings, the Bargaining Team has compiled the following resources on our CAPS webpage:

  • View the Worksite meeting presentation, 
  • Check out the updated FAQs on the CAPS Contract webpage
  • Read all of our recent updates on our CAPS Contract webpage, here

CAPS Worksite Meetings Held. To the 1,117 of you who were able to show up to last week’s worksite meetings, great job showing up and staying engaged in YOUR union! If you were unable to attend one of last week’s worksite meetings, the Bargaining Team has compiled the following resources on our CAPS webpage:


CalEPA and Other Departments Releasing Updated Telework Policies – CAPS Requests Meet and Confers. Recently, different Agency Secretaries and management chains have released information that there is a movement to “update hybrid work” and an attempt to require more arbitrary in-office days for all employees. CAPS has received official notice from CalEPA and CDFW, which covers about 44% of our membership. With the official notice from these departments, CAPS will be calling for Meet and Confers with each Department to fight for continued telework rights and maximum flexibility. CAPS is in full support of employees being able to telework to the fullest extent possible, which aligns with DGS’s Statewide Telework Policy. CAPS is forcefully against a prescriptive, arbitrary minimum number of in-office days.

For those departments that have announced an upcoming change, but have yet to release an official notice – CAPS will remain diligent in continuing the fight on all members’ behalf.

If your supervisor informs you either verbally or in writing that your telework schedule will be changing, request that this change in your working conditions be communicated in writing via the modification process of the STD 200, and notify the CAPS general inbox at caps@capsscientists.org

Additionally, CAPS leadership is currently working with other state unions to build a coalition to show the state that telework flexibility is supported not only by CAPS, but by all State Employee Unions.

To be clear: CAPS opposes across-the-board return to office policies at all agencies across state service. CAPS members have made it clear that they oppose returning to the office, particularly without a fair contract. Returning to the office, especially in a hasty, uncoordinated manner, amounts to yet another expense that state workers will be forced to bear. Governor Newsom shamefully proposed taking the money provided to state workers via the telework stipend  out of our wallets each month and agencies and departments attempting to command us back into the office is not a good look. This is bad for the climate, workers, and morale. And we aren’t backing down.

Your CAPS Team continues to fight for a total Tentative Agreement that enshrines telework to the maximum extent feasible.

If you suspect that your supervisor is going to pull you into a meeting and you suspect that it will result in disciplinary action, remember your Weingarten rights! You have the right to have a union representative present during the meeting.

REMINDERS:

  • Share your thoughts with your CAPS Bargaining Team using this form. Your CAPS Bargaining Team reads every single message shared with us. 
  • Be sure your personal contact information is up to date here.
  • Sign up for our public email and text updates here. This ensures that we can reach you effectively in case we need to take communications off work servers. 
  • Subscribe to our CAPS Events Calendar using your personal email to stay up to date with upcoming CAPS events, including worksite meetings, by selecting the “+” button on the bottom right of the calendar. 
  • Learn more about the CAPS Contract Action Team (CAT) and become a leader in your worksite TODAY!

January 16, 2024

SIGN UP TO ATTEND 
THE CAPS VIRTUAL “WORKSITE” MEETING
ALL RANK-AND-FILE SCIENTISTS WELCOME!
 
Virtual Meeting – Via Zoom
TOMORROW, January 17: 12PM – 1PM or 6PM – 7PM
THURSDAY, January 18: 12PM – 1 PM

Pre-Register for January 17 at 12pm-1pm
Pre-Register for January 17 at 6PM-7PM
Pre-Register for January 18 at 12PM-1PM

Join CAPS for a virtual “worksite” meeting to discuss the Last, Best, and Final Offer (LBFO) and related updates. The meeting will include a presentation and discussion at the end.
 
You must pre-register in order to participate in the worksite meeting. You will receive a confirmation email and link to join the meeting at the email address you provide a day before the meeting and then a reminder email with your link to join the same day of the meeting. You do not need a Zoom account to participate in the meeting.

Submit any questions using this form. There is no time off secured for this meeting. Please plan to attend during your lunch. Please be sure to read and abide by the Virtual Meeting Participant Expectations.

It’s CRITICAL you and your coworkers stay connected and engaged!

  • Be sure your personal contact information is up to date here.
  • Sign up for our public email and text updates here.This ensures that we can reach you effectively in case we need to take communications off work servers. 
  • Subscribe to our CAPS Events Calendar using your personal email to stay up to date with upcoming CAPS events, including worksite meetings, by selecting the “+” button on the bottom right of the calendar. 
  • Learn more about the CAPS Contract Action Team (CAT) and join today: Contract Action Team – California Association of Professional Scientists

Please consider supporting and sharing the following with your networks: CAPS GiveButter Strike Hardship Fund (donations are not tax-deductible), the CAPS Support Letter, and a list of other ways to support State Scientists’ fight for a fair contract. 

January 4, 2024

Updated Summary of the State’s Last, Best, and Final Offer (LBFO) Presented on December 19.

A complete, updated summary of all the not-yet TA’d sections within the State’s LBFO can be found here.

  • The State proposed a contract term of December 1, 2023 – July 1, 2026, unless a specific provision provides for a different effective date (an example is 2.1 Salaries).
    • Summary of the State’s LBFO Proposals for Major Economic Items:
      • Salaries: They included the salary proposal they passed on August 29, which is summarized here.
        • This proposal did not include any retroactivity (even though we’ve been out of a contract since 2020). Rather, raises would have been implemented “effective the first pay period following ratification by both parties.”
        • The proposal included a salary increase the first pay period following ratification, then a second salary increase effective July 1, 2024, and a third salary increase effective July 1, 2025. There were no proposed salary increases in 2026, the last year of the proposed contract term. 
      • The LBFO did NOT offer any compensation specifically to address regional differences in cost of living, loss of institutional knowledge, or increasing employer health care cost contributions, among other CAPS proposals. The state currently provides all of these accommodations to other bargaining units working for the State. 
  • No Strike Clause: 
    • The State included a proposed rollover of previous 13.1 language, which would prevent State Scientists from striking during the terms of the MOU. This cannot be imposed upon us by the governor. Read on for an explanation as to why.
  • Sections previously TA’d made up a majority of the State’s LBFO.

Addressing Common Questions and Concerns Regarding the LBFO (Specific LBFO FAQs are being developed by the Bargaining Team and CAPS’ Legal Team and will be shared as soon as practicable). 

1. Why wasn’t the LBFO brought to the membership for a vote?

  • The LBFO provided the same terms that prompted thousands of CAPS members to go on strike in November 2023. It was also not substantially different from the offer that was overwhelmingly voted down by CAPS members in February 2023. 
  • For many, the LBFO may have been worse than the tentative agreement that CAPS Members rejected in February 2023, as the majority of State Scientists are not at the top of their pay range. Increasing a pay range at the top only means that it takes longer to get to the top of the pay range. Typically, a pay range takes about five years to move through. Adding more to the top (and not moving up the entire range) means that some State Scientists may never make it to the top of their pay range because the median retention for a rank-and-file State Scientist is only five years. Not by choice, but because they are forced to leave since the State treats State Scientists like we are disposable. Top range increases leave everyone else out.
  • The LBFO failed to keep pace with inflation, much less address long-standing and increasingly egregious pay gaps and pay equity issues important to CAPS members, based on the 2023 Bargaining Survey results:
    • 87% of respondents said restoring historical salary relationships is a priority.
    • 85% of respondents report they make less than others who perform similar jobs in comparable positions
    • 80% of respondents strongly disagree that their pay is fair based on the work they perform.
  • Making even further concessions by agreeing to an LBFO that does not meet our core needs makes no sense.

2. What’s Next?

  • As of now, the State may implement any or all of the LBFO terms. 
  • Even if terms are imposed on CAPS, the state and CAPS still have a duty to bargain for a mutually agreeable MOU.
  • The State cannot impose an expiration date on terms they implement and avoid meeting us at the bargaining table.
  • We retain the right to participate in disruptive collective actions and are entitled to continue negotiations for better terms.
  • It’s critical that all State Scientists to stay informed and stay engaged.

Unfair Practice Charge by the State: PERB Hearing Dates. 

Per state law, Government Code Section 3517.8, also called the “Evergreen Clause,” the terms of the expired Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) remain in effect until the parties agree to a new MOU or impasse is reached. In November,CalHR filed a UPC against CAPS for striking because they don’t believe the plain language of the Dills Act and insist that CAPS was still bound by the MOU not to strike. The Dills Act is clear: once impasse was declared, the MOU – and the No Strike clause – was no longer enforceable. You can read all the related filings here

Our PERB hearing dates have been scheduled for January 23rd and 24th. We will keep the membership posted on further developments.

The UPC filed against us has nothing to do with the LBFO, and does not interfere with our right to future collective actions. The State cannot impose anything that would waive our statutory rights, such as our right to strike. We have the statutory right to strike and we will continue to defend that. 

Powerful Showings of Solidarity Work!

If we want to see improvements in our wages, benefits, and the terms and conditions of our employment, we have to let the State know that we mean business and are willing to fight for what is rightfully ours. After close to FOUR years of bargaining, and almost 20 years of being paid inequitably compared to our peers that do similar or comparable work, the State hasn’t brought any proposals to the table that would meaningfully address any of our core bargaining priorities. We know that employers don’t move unless they’re forced to. We have to show them how powerful we really are, TOGETHER…stay tuned for updates from your Member Action Committee about upcoming actions.

Share Your Thoughts With Your CAPS Bargaining Team. 

In the meantime, to share your thoughts and reach out to your CAPS Team, please fill out this form. Please note that your CAPS Team will not be able to respond to every comment or suggestion, but will be reading all of the messages received.

Worksite Meetings Scheduled.

Worksite meetings to discuss the rejection of the LBFO and what’s next have been scheduled. Submit your questions using this form. More worksite meetings may be scheduled, as needed. Register at the links below.

  • Wednesday, January 17th, 12-1 & 6-7
  • Thursday, January 18th, 12-1

December 21, 2023

The State’s Last, Best, and Final Offer. On Tuesday, December 19, the State presented your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) with their Last, Best, and Final Offer (LBFO). A summary of the LBFO can be found here. In short, the LBFO simply does not address the increasingly severe problems caused by inequities in Unit 10 since the early 2000s. The State remains stagnant in its position.

After lengthy and careful deliberation of whether to accept or reject the LBFO, your CAPS Team voted unanimously to reject the State’s woefully inadequate LBFO. Therefore, it will not be released to the membership for a vote. Rejecting the LBFO ensures we will continue negotiating with the State, and State Scientists can continue to use our collective power to change our circumstances. 

Our demand is simple: equal pay for equal work and responsible use of State funds, consistent with the State’s own declared environmental policy priorities. The logical and standard salary relationships we are demanding exist in every single other Bargaining Unit except for ours and this injustice has persisted for long enough. Our fight is beyond us and so much bigger than this contract. Fighting for equal pay isn’t just about personal fairness; it’s about advocating for justice and equality within the State’s workforce. Our situation needs to be rectified: our fight sets the rules for future State Scientists. By advocating for ourselves now, we are paving the way for a more equitable future for all State Scientists.

With the rejection of the State’s LBFO, Government Code Section 3517.8 allows the State to impose “any or all” of their LBFO. However, the State cannot impose anything that would waive our statutory rights (such as our right to strike). Anything involving the expenditure of funds must go to the Legislature for approval. 

Your CAPS Team heard your needs and actions loud and clear: thousands of you participated in our historic Defiance for Science strike, and told the State that they need to do better. Almost a year ago, the membership overwhelmingly rejected an effectively equivalent offer. This Administration has shown they do not value scientists, and we – as a Unit – did not come this far only to come this far. We will not be complicit in the State compromising its own scientific programs and refusing to provide equal pay for equal work. We remain committed to ensuring that California will have a scientific workforce protecting Californians and California’s natural resources today, tomorrow, and always.

We are not alone in this fight! Dozens of organizations and individuals are behind us and have expressed their support of our cause the entire way through. State agency secretaries, NGOs, labor organizations, other unions, private supporters, elected officials, and more! And the sheer number of you and your colleagues’ participation in the historic Defiance for Science Strike brought more support through the massive success of the media it garnered. We have more supporters than ever before, and they will keep coming. 

Even if the State chooses to implement part or all of the LBFO, CAPS retains its right to use collective actions, and the State and CAPS still have a legal obligation to continue negotiating an MOU. Your CAPS Team will continue to do everything we can to reach an agreement with the State that is long overdue for State Scientists. At this point, our power to change an imposed contract depends on our collective strength. We can, together, refuse to work under imposed terms that don’t value us. 

Worksite Meetings to be Held in 2024. Your CAPS Team is planning a series of worksite meetings to ensure we are hearing from all State Scientists. Dates will be provided in a forthcoming update. It’s critical that you and your colleagues continue to be engaged and ready to participate in upcoming calls to actions. 

Share your Thoughts with your CAPS Team. In the meantime, to share your thoughts and reach out to your CAPS Team, please fill out this form.

Please note that your CAPS Team will not be able to respond to every comment or suggestion, but will be reading all of the messages received using the form referenced above. 

Unfair Practice Charge by the State. CAPS continues to defend the legality of our November strike before PERB, with a hearing scheduled in late January.

December 14, 2023

The State’s Last, Best, and Final Offer. On Tuesday, December 19, the State presented your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) with their Last, Best, and Final Offer (LBFO). A summary of the LBFO can be found here. In short, the LBFO simply does not address the increasingly severe problems caused by inequities in Unit 10 since the early 2000s. The State remains stagnant in its position.

After lengthy and careful deliberation of whether to accept or reject the LBFO, your CAPS Team voted unanimously to reject the State’s woefully inadequate LBFO. Therefore, it will not be released to the membership for a vote. Rejecting the LBFO ensures we will continue negotiating with the State, and State Scientists can continue to use our collective power to change our circumstances. 

Our demand is simple: equal pay for equal work and responsible use of State funds, consistent with the State’s own declared environmental policy priorities. The logical and standard salary relationships we are demanding exist in every single other Bargaining Unit except for ours and this injustice has persisted for long enough. Our fight is beyond us and so much bigger than this contract. Fighting for equal pay isn’t just about personal fairness; it’s about advocating for justice and equality within the State’s workforce. Our situation needs to be rectified: our fight sets the rules for future State Scientists. By advocating for ourselves now, we are paving the way for a more equitable future for all State Scientists.

With the rejection of the State’s LBFO, Government Code Section 3517.8 allows the State to impose “any or all” of their LBFO. However, the State cannot impose anything that would waive our statutory rights (such as our right to strike). Anything involving the expenditure of funds must go to the Legislature for approval. 

Your CAPS Team heard your needs and actions loud and clear: thousands of you participated in our historic Defiance for Science strike, and told the State that they need to do better. Almost a year ago, the membership overwhelmingly rejected an effectively equivalent offer. This Administration has shown they do not value scientists, and we – as a Unit – did not come this far only to come this far. We will not be complicit in the State compromising its own scientific programs and refusing to provide equal pay for equal work. We remain committed to ensuring that California will have a scientific workforce protecting Californians and California’s natural resources today, tomorrow, and always.

We are not alone in this fight! Dozens of organizations and individuals are behind us and have expressed their support of our cause the entire way through. State agency secretaries, NGOs, labor organizations, other unions, private supporters, elected officials, and more! And the sheer number of you and your colleagues’ participation in the historic Defiance for Science Strike brought more support through the massive success of the media it garnered. We have more supporters than ever before, and they will keep coming. 

Even if the State chooses to implement part or all of the LBFO, CAPS retains its right to use collective actions, and the State and CAPS still have a legal obligation to continue negotiating an MOU. Your CAPS Team will continue to do everything we can to reach an agreement with the State that is long overdue for State Scientists. At this point, our power to change an imposed contract depends on our collective strength. We can, together, refuse to work under imposed terms that don’t value us. 

Worksite Meetings to be Held in 2024. Your CAPS Team is planning a series of worksite meetings to ensure we are hearing from all State Scientists. Dates will be provided in a forthcoming update. It’s critical that you and your colleagues continue to be engaged and ready to participate in upcoming calls to actions. 

Share your Thoughts with your CAPS Team. In the meantime, to share your thoughts and reach out to your CAPS Team, please fill out this form.

Please note that your CAPS Team will not be able to respond to every comment or suggestion, but will be reading all of the messages received using the form referenced above. 

Unfair Practice Charge by the State. CAPS continues to defend the legality of our November strike before PERB, with a hearing scheduled in late January.

December 7, 2023

Mediation. Monday through Wednesday of this week, your CAPS Bargaining Team had three mediation sessions with the State’s Team, led by the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) mediator. An additional date, for next Wednesday, December 13, has been added to the calendar. Mediation is a confidential process. No details about the proceedings will be released by either party.

Staying Involved is CRITICAL! Your CAPS Team has been working hard toward reaching a contract that Values State Scientists. Now is the time to STAY INVOLVED and ensure you are up-to-date with the ongoing and upcoming actions. A Member Action Committee (MAC) Update is coming later today – stay tuned! 

November 30, 2023

Mediation. On Tuesday of this week, your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) had another mediation session with the State’s Team, led by the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) mediator. Three additional mediation dates (December 4, 5, and 6) have been added to the calendar. Mediation is a confidential process. No details about the proceedings will be released by either party.

Complaint. As previously reported in our November 21 update, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) issued a Complaint after receiving an Unfair Practice Charge from CalHR regarding CAPS’ job actions. See our position and the complaint issued by PERB here. CalHR and the CAPS legal team will meet this week for an informal conference which will either lead to a settlement of the complaint or to the scheduling of a formal hearing, which allows for full consideration of the issues by PERB. The informal conference is a confidential proceeding. No report to CAPS Membership will be provided by the CAPS Team after its conclusion, nor details shared about what was discussed. The Unfair Practice Charge process is outlined on the PERB website here.

Thank you for understanding our responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of these processes.

November 21, 2023

After a historic first-ever strike last week, CAPS legal team now picks up the banner and continues the fight to protect your employee rights. 

Late Monday, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) issued a Complaint after receiving an Unfair Practice Charge from CalHR, a complaint that CAPS’ legal team believes is without merit. CalHR and the CAPS legal team will meet next week for an informal conference which will either lead to a settlement of the complaint or to the scheduling of a formal hearing. CAPS remains confident that it was legal and justified for CAPS members to exercise their fundamental right to withhold labor after PERB’s declaration of impasse. We will keep you posted on further developments.

 Your CAPS bargaining team will meet again with the PERB-assigned mediator to continue the mediation process on Tuesday, November 28. 

November 20, 2023

In an unprecedented show of solidarity, our check-in report so far shows over 2,152 of us, a majority of rank-and-file California State Scientists, showed up in our collective fight for a fair contract by withholding their labor. If you did not check-in to your strike duty, please reach out to your strike captain to do so, ASAP. 

Many other unions showed up to the line in solidarity including: California Labor Federation, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Sacramento Central Labor Council, United Auto Workers Local 2865, Sacramento IWW, SEIU Local 1000, CASE, the Union of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 447 as well as organizations like NorCal Resist, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). Elected officials Senator Toni Adkins, Sacramento City Council member Katie Valenzuela, and more showed up to walk our picket lines as well. We were featured positively on many news outlets including: The Washington PostThe Associated Press, USA Today, Politico, NPR, California City NewsCapRadioKCLUCalMatters, Univision, KSBW8KRCR7KCRA3CBS13,  The Sacramento BeeSanta Rosa Press DemocratRedding Record SearchlightSan Jose Inside, and more. Check out our Contract website to see more about the media attention we’ve been getting recently! 

Post-Strike. Return to work, as usual.  CAPS encourages you to email your supervisor and advise them you have resumed these activities as normal. If your supervisor asks what your leave was for last week, feel free to report, “I was on strike with my union!” 

Remember your Weingarten Rights! The best rule of thumb is this – if you are invited to a meeting and you are being questioned about things that happened in the past, the meeting very well could be disciplinary in nature; if it is to discuss how to handle things in the future, it’s most likely not. If you enact your Weingarten Rights, contact CAPS as soon as possible (caps@capsscientists.org).

AWOL Information. Your supervisor has likely been directed by their management to code your time while you were on strike as Absent Without Leave (AWOL). AWOL simply means that you did not receive “permission” to not report to work when it is for under five days. In the interim, while the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) reviews the litigation, ask your personnel liaison what code is appropriate or use the code you are directed to and stay tuned! If you have any questions, please contact CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org). 

Your union, CAPS, is here to support you.

The fight for a fair contract continues on the next scheduled date for mediation,  Tuesday, November 28

This has been the greatest show of unity Bargaining Unit 10 has ever seen – we appreciate your continued support. 

Remember to add your photos and videos from our historical Defiance for Science strike to our DropEvent

November 10, 2023

Your CAPS Bargaining Team has called for a three-day rolling strike NEXT WEEK on November 15, 16, and 17, 2023. 

Below is the schedule:

November 15, 2023: All Rank-and-File Unit 10 Scientists who work in CAPS District 3 (zip codes 95600 – 95894) are on strike and shall withhold their labor – 

  • The picket line for all District 3 scientists will be at the CalEPA Building (1001 I Street, Sacramento)

Scientists that are NOT called on to join the strike on November 15th, keep working until you are called on to stand up and join your fellow State Scientists on strike. More information to be released on MONDAY and during our scheduled worksite meetings.

November 16, 2023: All Rank-and-File Unit 10 Scientists who work in CAPS Districts 1 (zip codes 90000 – 93199), 3 (zip codes 95600 – 95894), and 4 (zip codes 94003 – 95005), and State Scientists at the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board Northern Field Office listed below are on strike and shall withhold their labor- 

  • District 3 will continue to picket at the CalEPA Building (1001 I Street, Sacramento)
  • District 1 will picket at multiple locations, including Junipero Serra Building (320 4th St, Los Angeles)*
  • District 4 will picket at multiple locations, including Oakland State Building (1515 Clay Street, Oakland)*
  • The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board Santa Rosa at 5550 Skylane Blvd STE A Santa Rosa CA 95403 and Eureka Northern Field Office at 930 6th Street Eureka, CA 95501 and picket 

*Strike Captains and Picket Locations Available here: https://airtable.com/appdthWIkbEcHAXvZ/shrq7pKnZRq53yy6x.

Apply to be a Strike Captain here: https://form.jotform.com/233127176078155 

November 17, 2023: ALL STATE SCIENTISTS ON STRIKE. All Rank-and-File Unit 10 Scientists are on strike and shall withhold their labor. 

  • District 3 will continue to picket at the CalEPA Building (1001 I Street, Sacramento)
  • District 1 will continue to picket at multiple locations, including Junipero Serra Building (320 4th St, Los Angeles)*
  • District 4 will continue to picket at multiple locations, including Oakland State Building (1515 Clay Street, Oakland)*
  • The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board Santa Rosa at 5550 Skylane Blvd STE A Santa Rosa CA 95403 and Eureka Northern Field Office at 930 6th Street Eureka, CA 95501 and picket
  • District 2 and 5 will picket their respective worksites.

*Strike Captains and Picket Locations Available here: https://airtable.com/appdthWIkbEcHAXvZ/shrq7pKnZRq53yy6x.

Apply to be a Strike Captain here: https://form.jotform.com/233127176078155 

Despite your CAPS Team clearly stating our demands at the bargaining table, we remain at impasse with an unmovable administration: We are owed a fair contract that addresses our most pressing issues and VALUES Scientists! 

Stand up and join us! It is time for Unit 10 scientists to show their collective power! BE SURE TO CHECK IN WITH YOUR STRIKE CAPTAIN ON SITE! 

Worksite Meetings. Join your CAPS Bargaining Team for upcoming worksite meetings. See the schedule below. You must pre-register in order to participate. 

  • November 13, 12-1pm: Register here. 
  • November 13, 6-7pm: Register here
  • November 14, 12-1pm: Register here. 

CRITICAL: Take Action to Show YOUR Support.

October 31, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • Strike Standards and Strike Hardship Fund Established
  • Board Meeting and Worksite Meetings Scheduled
  • Get Involved in Union Actions 
  • UPDATED: CAPS Contract Webpage available! 
  • Share this public resource widely with your friends, family, and network! 
  • Critical: keep your contact records updated!

Strike Standards and Strike Hardship Fund Established. Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) has heard from you, while we await our scheduled mediation days, that the uncertainty over what happens after a Strike Authorization Vote has caused some confusion. As a result, Strike Standards and a Strike Hardship Fund have been developed by your CAPS Board of Directors to help guide and support members should there be a need at any point in time in the future, whether that be under Governor Newsom or any future Governor. These documents will only be utilized should circumstances warrant. You can view the information on the CAPS website, here. Your CAPS Team has not called for a strike and will be participating in mediation in good faith with the State beginning next Wednesday, November 8. Unfortunately, the State has only one day available for mediation thus far, but your CAPS Team continues to request additional dates. Stay tuned for updates!

As we work to further develop a Strike Hardship Fund, a GiveButter campaign has been established for folks to collect donations. This is the only official GiveButter Strike Hardship Fund campaign from the union. Please only share this link as this is verified and connected to the CAPS accounts: https://givebutter.com/StateScience

Board Meeting and Worksite Meetings Scheduled. The CAPS 2023-2025 Board of Directors will hold their inaugural meeting November 4, 2023. Register for the Board meeting here. The agenda can be found here. Times for member comments are available and all members are encouraged to participate!

Worksite meetings are scheduled after the Board meeting for additional opportunities to interact with members of your new Board.

Get Involved in Union Actions and Show the State the POWER of the Union! Participate in CAPS’ Union Actions and stay up to date by reading all CAPS updates. It’s critical that you and your colleagues participate in these ongoing actions, including practice picketing at a worksite near you and signing up to attend the Union Solidarity Rally and March for Scientists at the CA Democratic Party Convention on Saturday, November 18, 12-1:30pm! 

UPDATED* CAPS Contract Webpage Resources.  Be sure to bookmark CAPS’ new Contract Website, with FAQs, public announcements, and actions for State Scientists and members of the public to take available at: https://capscontract2023.org/. You can find a link to the CAPS Contract webpage on our CAPSscientists.org homepage as well!

Keep your Contact Information Up to Date! It is critical that you ensure your records are up to date, including your PERSONAL email address and phone number. In the future there may be a need to send some communications to personal emails, only, instead of work emails. Update your contact information here: https://capsscientists.org/members/update/.

October 17, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • Mediation in November 
  • Stay Involved and Participate!
    • RSVP to attend the California Democratic Party’s November 2023 State Endorsing Convention on November 18th 
  • Join the Contract Action Team (CAT)
  • UPDATED: CAPS Contract Webpage available! 
    • Share this public resource widely with your friends, family, and network! 
  • Critical: keep your contact records updated!
  • Join the Conversation: CAPS Bargaining Forum

Mediation in November. As you’ll recall from last week’s Bargaining Update, the Public Employees’ Relations Board (PERB) assigned CAPS and CalHR a mediator from the State Mediation and Conciliation Services (SMCS). November 8th is being held as the first tentative date for mediation. These dates will not be finalized until a new bargaining team is voted on by the incoming board of directors at their inaugural board meeting the first weekend of November. As soon as dates are finalized, we will notify rank-and-file State Scientists.

Stay Involved and PARTICIPATE. The most important and effective thing you can do to support your CAPS Bargaining Team and your colleagues is to participate in CAPS’ Union Actions and stay up to date by reading all CAPS updates. The Member Action Committee (MAC) is developing more actions to put pressure on the administration and will be announcing these soon! For now, it’s critical that you and your colleagues participate in these ongoing actions:

Join the Contract Action Team! The MAC created the Contract Action Team (CAT) to form a statewide network of CAPS leaders dedicated to organizing State Scientists to win a fair contract. You can help the MAC and the CAT expand the network of CAPS leaders to your worksite. If you want to get more involved with organizing union actions or want to be a contact for your worksite, please apply to join the CAT here.

As a reminder, only your CAPS Bargaining Team has the authority to call for formal job actions.  It is important now, more than ever, to be sure that the communications you receive regarding Bargaining and possible next steps are exclusively from the official CAPS email address: caps@capsscientists.org and CAPS social media platforms: @CAPSscientists on X/Twitter and Instagram!

UPDATED* CAPS Contract Webpage Resources.  Be sure to bookmark CAPS’ new Contract Website, with FAQs, public announcements, and actions for State Scientists and members of the public to take available at: https://capscontract2023.org/. You can find a link to the CAPS Contract webpage on our CAPSscientists.org homepage as well!

  • Our FAQs have been updated with answers to questions we’ve been hearing from YOU, State Scientists, about our fight for a fair contract
  • Resources to share with your networks:

Keep your Contact Information Up to Date! It is critical that you ensure your records are up to date, including your PERSONAL email address and phone number. In the future there may be a need to send some communications to personal emails, only, instead of work emails. Update your contact information here: https://capsscientists.org/members/update/.

Join the Conversation. Want to talk to your fellow rank-and-file members about bargaining? Have questions about the current status of Bargaining? Join the CAPS Bargaining Forum and chat with each other scientist to scientist.

Bargaining Updates Archive and Proposal Status Available for All State Scientists. You and your colleagues can see what proposals were passed and tentatively agreed to here. Access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

October 10, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • PERB Assigns a Mediator
  • Resources on the CAPS website and Contract Site
  • Stay Involved and Participate!
  • Join the Conversation: CAPS Bargaining Forum
  • Keep your membership records updated!
  • Join the Contract Action Team (CAT)
  • Past Bargaining Updates and Proposal Status always available

PERB Assigns a Mediator. The Public Employees’ Relations Board (PERB) assigned CAPS and CalHR a mediator from the State Mediation and Conciliation Services (SMCS). The parties are looking at meeting dates to get mediation underway. 

Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) put forth dates throughout October. Unfortunately, the parties’ schedules don’t align until November. Your CAPS Team looks forward to the mediation process and will hold internal team meetings to prepare. More information will be made available as dates are solidified. 

Stay Involved and PARTICIPATE. The most important and effective thing you can do to support the CAPS Team and to win a fair contract is to participate in CAPS’ Union Actions. Keep up the pressure by taking the following actions:

You can find more about all the Union-sanctioned actions here: https://capsscientists.org/member-action-landing-page/. The Member Action Committee (MAC) is developing more actions to put pressure on the administration and will be announcing these soon!

As a reminder, only the CAPS Team has the authority to call for formal job actions.  It is important now, more than ever, to be sure that the communications you receive regarding Bargaining and possible next steps are exclusively from the official CAPS email address: caps@capsscientists.org

Resources Made Available.  As we release information, be sure to check the following links for important updates and information:

Join the Contract Action Team! The MAC created the Contract Action Team (CAT) to form a statewide network of CAPS leaders dedicated to organizing State Scientists to win a fair contract. You can help the MAC and the CAT expand the network of CAPS leaders to your worksite. If you want to get more involved with organizing union actions or want to be a contact for your worksite, please apply to join the CAT here

Keep your Information Up to Date! It is critical that you ensure your records are up to date, including your PERSONAL email address and phone number. In the future there may be a need to send some communications to personal emails, only, instead of members’ work emails. Update your records here: https://capsscientists.org/members/update/.

Join the Conversation. Want to talk to your fellow members about bargaining? Have questions about the current status of Bargaining? Join the CAPS Bargaining Forum and chat with each other scientist to scientist.

Bargaining Updates Archive and Proposal Status. You can see what proposals were passed and tentatively agreed to here. You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

September 26, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • PERB Declares CAPS and the State are at Impasse
  • What’s Next?
  • Resources on the CAPS website and Contract Site
  • Join the Conversation: CAPS Bargaining Forum
  • Participate in ongoing and upcoming actions – share these actions with your friends and family!
  • Join the Contract Action Team (CAT)
  • CRITICAL: Keep your membership records updated!
  • Past Bargaining Updates and Proposal Status always available

PERB Declares Impasse. On September 26, 2023, the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) formally determined that CAPS and the State of California are at an impasse in their negotiations to reach a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) after nearly 1,300 days of bargaining. 

What’s Next? Mediation. Mediation is the impasse resolution procedure granted to us under the Dills Act. PERB will appoint a mediator from State Mediation and Conciliation Services (SMCS) to assist the parties in coming to an agreement. CAPS and the State will begin scheduling sessions in the very near future. There are no timelines associated with mediation. The general duty to bargain in good faith under the Dills Act includes a requirement that the parties provide adequate time for the resolution of impasses, therefore the length of mediation can vary depending on circumstances. See the Bargaining Procedures webpage for more information.

While PERB’s impasse declaration means that the Dills Act’s Evergreen Clause no longer applies, at this time, your CAPS Team has not called for any formal job actions. Before any formal job actions may be called, many additional conversations with members would happen first to assess the best timing and strategy to do so. The Member Action Committee (MAC) will be releasing information on union actions – stay tuned! 

As a reminder, the CAPS Board of Directors has given only the CAPS Team the authority to call for a strike.  It is important now, more than ever, to be sure that the communications you receive regarding Bargaining and possible next steps areexclusively from the official CAPS email address: caps@capsscientists.org. Please pay close attention to the sender of information. No single CAPS Board Member, Local Representative, Contract Action Team (CAT) Member, nor staff member has the authority to informally announce any job actions – the only way those will be formally released, should they come to pass, will be announced via the official CAPS email address (caps@capsscientists.org); on the CAPS websites: www.capsscientists.org and www.capscontract2023.org.

Your CAPS Team is operating with your best interests in mind and is taking forward the parameters you charged us with after answering the Bargaining Survey earlier this year. We respect the authority and duty we have been given and will continue to update YOU – our members – with frequency, as we continue the Bargaining Process in good faith.

Resources made Available. As we release information, be sure to check the following areas for important updates and information:

Stay Involved! Participate in all ongoing and upcoming actions. Keep up the pressure by:

  • Continuing to attend your Tuesday Solidarity Breaks! Being connected to your colleagues while showing the Administration that you stand behind your Bargaining Team is more important now than ever. 
  • Amplify our messaging and the voices of State Scientists using the CAPS’ social media toolkit! Share this toolkit with your friends, families, and colleagues! 
  • Sign our sign-on letter, demanding Governor Newsom give State Scientists a fair contract NOW.  Encourage your friends, families, and colleagues to sign this letter and share it widely! 

Learn more about all ongoing and upcoming actions on the Union Action page on the CAPS Website here. More actions are being planned, too, so stay tuned! 

Join the Contract Action Team! The MAC created the Contract Action Team (CAT) to form a statewide network of CAPS leaders dedicated to organizing State Scientists to win a fair contract. You can help the MAC and CAT expand the network of CAPS leaders to your worksite.   If you want to get more involved with organizing union actions or want to be a contact for your particular worksite, please apply to join the CAT here

KEEP YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION UP TO DATE! It is CRITICAL that you ensure your records are up to date, including your PERSONAL email address and phone number. In the future there may be a need to send some communications to personal emails, only, instead of members’ work emails. Update your records here: https://capsscientists.org/members/update/.

Join the Conversation. Want to talk to your fellow members about bargaining? Have questions about the current status of Bargaining? Join the CAPS Bargaining Forum and chat with each other scientist to scientist.

Bargaining Updates Archive and Proposal Status. Review the proposals that were passed and tentatively agreed to here. You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

September 22, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • Great Job Attending the Worksite Meetings
  • Resources on the CAPS website and Contract Site
  • Take Action and Stay Involved
  • Keep your membership records updated!
  • Join the Contract Action Team (CAT)
  • Join the Conversation: CAPS Bargaining Forum
  • Proposal Status and Past Bargaining Updates always available

Over 800 CAPS Members Register for Worksite Meetings. GREAT WORK to everyone who registered and attended the CAPS Bargaining Worksite Meetings that were held earlier this week on Tuesday and Wednesday. Your CAPS Bargaining Team presented information to hundreds of you – and over 800 rank-and-file CAPS members registered for these events. That number doesn’t begin to include the number of watch parties hosted by members at worksites. What a way to show that we are ENGAGED and UNITED! 

During the worksite meetings, there were a lot of questions about what the request for impasse means in terms of the bargaining procedures. Your CAPS Bargaining Team wants to be clear: the goal of utilizing the bargaining procedures available to us is to encourage the State to come to an agreement with CAPS that our membership will ratify, and that appropriately VALUES State Scientists. We’ll be working on updating our FAQs to reflect some of your questions, but for now check out the resources linked below for more information about what was covered during the worksite meetings.

It is important to note that CAPS and the State will not be at formal impasse unless and until the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) formally decides on the matter. We are expecting to receive PERB’s determination early next week, stay tuned. At this time, the Evergreen Clause remains in place for CAPS’ 2018-2020 MOU.  CAPS has not called for any formal job actions.

Your CAPS Team is operating with your best interests in mind and is taking forward the parameters you charged us with after answering the Bargaining Survey earlier this year. We respect the authority and duty we have been given and will continue to update YOU – our members – frequently, as things develop. It’s critical you and your colleagues remain engaged and informed as we move forward in our fight for a fair contract! 

Resources made Available.  As we release information, be sure to check the following areas for important updates and information:

Stay Involved! Keep up the pressure by continuing to attend your Tuesday Solidarity Breaks! Being connected to your colleagues while showing the Administration that you stand behind your Bargaining Team is more important now than ever. Learn more about solidarity breaks on the Union Action page on the CAPS Website here. More actions are being planned, too, so stay tuned! 

Keep your Information Up to Date! Make sure your records are up to date, including your PERSONAL email address and phone number. In the future there may be a need to send some communications to personal emails, only, instead of members’ work emails. Update your records here: https://capsscientists.org/members/update/.

Join the Contract Action Team! The Contract Action Team (CAT) is a statewide network of CAPS leaders dedicated to organizing State Scientists to win a fair contract. The CAT is an extension of the CAPS Member Action Committee (MAC). If you want to get more involved with organizing union actions or want to be a contact for your particular worksite, please apply to join the CAT here

Join the Conversation. Want to talk to your fellow members about bargaining? Have questions about the current status of Bargaining? Join the CAPS Bargaining Forum and chat with each other scientist to scientist.

Bargaining Updates Archive and Proposal Status. You can see what proposals were passed and tentatively agreed to here. You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

September 19, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • Your CAPS Bargaining Team has Filed an Impasse Determination
  • Worksite Meetings Scheduled
  • Join the Conversation: CAPS Bargaining Forum
  • Keep your membership records updated!
  • Join the Contract Action Team (CAT)
  • Past Bargaining Updates and Proposal Status always available

Your CAPS Bargaining Team Filed a Request for an Impasse Determination. On Wednesday, September 6 your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) unanimously voted to file unilaterally for an impasse determination from the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB). CAPS’ legal counsel submitted the filing to PERB on September 19, 2023. IMPORTANT: CAPS and the State will not be at formal impasse unless and until PERB formally decides on the matter. PERB has 5 business days to provide a determination.

Prior to our filing, your CAPS Team informed the State of CAPS’ intent to request an impasse determination and invited the State to join us in a mutual filing. The State refused to do so, yet still made no additional efforts to reach a tentative agreement. 

Your CAPS Team believes we are at impasse with the State and no more progress toward a tentative agreement can be reached without the help of a meditator. 

Should PERB agree with your CAPS Team and determine we’re at an impasse, the Team will select a mediator from a list provided by PERB to assist in continued discussions with the State. Should PERB disagree, your CAPS Team will return to the table and continue discussions with the State.

Details about what impasse means and procedures that follow are available here: Bargaining Procedures.

At this time, the Evergreen Clause remains in place for CAPS’ 2018-2020 MOU. Should PERB determine impasse exists, your CAPS Team has the ability to call for a strike based on the 93.51% approval vote of the Strike Authorization from the membership on September 1, 2023, but those circumstances have not currently been met. 

Worksite Meetings Scheduled. Your CAPS Team understands we are entering into time that will bring many questions and will be providing more detailed information at worksite meetings scheduled for this week. There are still two worksite meetings available on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, for members to attend. Be sure to attend with your colleagues! See the schedule, and register to attend here. Only members can attend these worksite meetings. Encourage your Scientist colleagues who haven’t joined our union yet, to become CAPS members TODAY. Our power to achieve your demands depends on the strength, power, and participation of our union membership. 

If you are unable to attend the worksite meetings, please email the CAPS general inbox (caps@capsscientists.org) with questions. 

Stay Involved! Keep up the pressure by continuing to attend your Tuesday Solidarity Breaks! Being connected to your colleagues while showing the Administration that you stand behind your Bargaining Team is more important now than ever. Learn more about solidarity breaks on the Union Action page on the CAPS Website here. More actions are being planned, too, so stay tuned! 

Keep your Information Up to Date! Make sure your records are up to date, including your PERSONAL email address and phone number. In the future there may be a need to send some communications to personal email instead of members work email. Update your records here: https://capsscientists.org/members/update/.

Join the Contract Action Team! The Contract Action Team (CAT) is a statewide network of CAPS leaders dedicated to organizing State Scientists to win a fair contract. CAT is an extension of the CAPS Member Action Committee (MAC). If you want to get more involved with organizing union actions or want to be a contact for your particular worksite, please apply to join the CAT here

Join the Conversation. Want to talk to your fellow members about these proposals? Have questions about the current status of Bargaining? Join the CAPS Bargaining Forum and chat with each other scientist to scientist.

Bargaining Updates Archive and Proposal Status. You can see what proposals were passed and tentatively agreed to here. You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

September 13, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • Bargaining Status Update
  • Worksite Meetings Scheduled Next Week
  • Join the Conversation: CAPS Bargaining Forum
  • Join the Contract Action Team 
  • Past Bargaining Updates and Proposal Status always available

Bargaining Status Update. After 3 years and a recent two weeks of continuous work into the evenings and weekends, the State still refuses to add money to its offer that would VALUE State Scientists appropriately and fairly. 

Your CAPS Team and the State remain far apart on economics. Rest assured, your CAPS Bargaining Team is busy compiling information, exploring all bargaining procedures and options available, and working with CAPS legal counsel to determine the next best strategic steps, moving forward. While the CAPS Team would prefer to disclose all in real time, your CAPS Team believes it is currently in the best interest of State Scientists to provide a more in-depth update later this week or early next week. More information will be released as soon as we are able to and throughout the coming weeks. Please stay tuned and see below for upcoming worksite meetings where members will have the opportunity to learn more and ask questions. 

At this time, the terms of CAPS’ 2018-2020 MOU remain in effect under the Evergreen Clause of the Dills Act. 

The Legislative deadline for this year has passed, meaning that any tentative agreement reached with the Newsom Administration during this time would not be heard by the State Legislature for approval until January 2024, at the earliest. 

Worksite Meetings Scheduled. Your CAPS Team understands we are entering into time that will bring many questions and will be providing more detailed information at these scheduled worksite meetings, next Tuesday and Wednesday. Be sure to attend with your colleagues! See the schedule, and register to attend here

If you are unable to attend the meetings, please email the CAPS general inbox (caps@capsscientists.org) with questions. 

CAPS in the News! Your Union is a hot topic right now for the news. With coverage of the Regional Rallies, the Strike Authorization Vote, and State Scientists in general, the last couple weeks have seen lots of press for CAPS. Read and listen to what the press has had to say about CAPS recently, here: 

Stay Involved! Keep up the pressure by continuing to attend your Tuesday Solidarity Breaks! Being connected to your colleagues while showing the Administration that you stand behind your Bargaining Team is more important now than ever. Learn more about solidarity breaks on the Union Action page on the CAPS Website here. More actions are being planned, too, so stay tuned! 

Join the Contract Action Team! The Contract Action Team (CAT) is a statewide network of CAPS leaders dedicated to organizing State Scientists to win a fair contract. CAT is an extension of the CAPS Member Action Committee (MAC). Apply to join the CAT here

Join the Conversation. Want to talk to your fellow members about these proposals? Have questions about the current status of Bargaining? Join the CAPS Bargaining Forum and chat with each other scientist to scientist.

Bargaining Updates Archive and Proposal Status. You can see what proposals were passed and tentatively agreed to here. You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

September 5, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • Bargaining Resumed Tuesday
  • Updated Status on the Bargaining portion of the website
  • Join the Conversation: CAPS Bargaining Forum

Bargaining Continues. Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) shared the results of the Strike Authorization Vote with the State on Friday morning. Your CAPS Team continued discussions with the State, both at and away from the table, late into Friday evening. The State made no additional economic movement before the Teams closed discussions for the night on Friday and so, discussions resumed today, September 5, 2023, and are likely to continue all week. 

The State Legislature leaves for Winter Recess on September 14, and Friday, September 1, was the final day new legislative items were being scheduled. 

Your CAPS Team made it evident that we are ready to come to a full total tentative agreement – one that VALUES State Scientists appropriately and fairly. The State has yet to provide a proposal that does so.

Current Tracking and Status. Quite a few proposals were tentatively agreed to last week, you can see what proposals were passed by your CAPS Team and tentatively agreed to here. There is also an updated summary table with information regarding the State’s most recent economic proposals here. You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

A tentative agreement has been reached on every section of the MOU except:

  • 2.1 Salaries
  • NEW* 2.18 Geo Pay
  • NEW* 2.19 Longevity Pay
  • NEW* 2.25 Emergency Response Differential
  • NEW* 3.25 Employee Donated Release Time Bank
  • 5.1 Health, Dental, Vision
  • 13.1 No Strike
  • 13.2 No Lockout
  • 13.6 Supersession
  • 20.1 Entire Agreement 

*Note: the “NEW” sections would be new additions to any successor MOU. These were not found in the 2018-2020 MOU. 

Join the Conversation. Want to talk to your fellow members about these proposals? Have questions about the current status of Bargaining? Join the CAPS Bargaining Forumand chat with each other scientist to scientist.

Great Work Showing Your Support! Your CAPS Team referenced you and your colleagues’ support of the Team at the table, standing up for what you have shared – it’s high time the State VALUES State Scientists! Excellent work standing behind your CAPS Team by voting in the Strike Authorization Vote, and by showing up to the three Value Scientists! Regional Rallies. The Sacramento March and Rally saw nearly 300 State Scientists picketing in front of CalHR, taking to the streets of Sacramento, and eventually rallying at the State Capitol, where the speaker list was filled with influential supporters of fair pay for State Scientists! Speakers included: Senator Maria Elena Durazo (SD 26), Assembly Member Tina McKinnor (AD 61), Assembly Member Eloise Reyes (AD 50), Assembly Member Liz Ortega (AD 20), Assembly Member Ash Kalra (AD 27), California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, Sacramento Mayoral Candidate and epidemiologist Dr. Flojaune Cofer, Bargaining Unit 16 (BU16) Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) President Stuart Bussey, SEIU Local 1000 Vice President of Bargaining Irene Green. All spoke in support of State Scientists and the effort for fair and equitable pay.  Members of the CAPS Contract Action Team also spoke during the rally, including Peter Kerr, Steven Sander, and the rally MC- CAPS At-Large Director Mia Roberts.

September 1, 2023

Highlights in this update:

CAPS members who submitted a vote have overwhelmingly approved a strike authorization. The vote was open for 72 hours. The strike authorization vote passed with 93.51% approval.

No strike has yet been called. The YES vote means your CAPS Bargaining Team will have the ability to call a strike if bargaining fails to produce a deal members will ratify and circumstance warrant. To find out more about what a Strike Authorization Vote means visit: https://capscontract2023.org/CAPS remains at the bargaining table, committed to securing a deal that appropriately values our members.

Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) has met almost every day this week, working late into the evenings and sometimes until the next morning with the State to make more progress towards reaching a Total Tentative Agreement (TTA). 

The State has not made significant movement on their proposals to appropriately VALUE State Scientists. Your CAPS Bargaining Team has continued to inform the State that the package needs to increase in order to meet YOUR expressed needs — the membership. This includes your stated top priority items: Salaries, Geographical Pay, Longevity Pay, Emergency Recognition, Health Dental and Vision. 

Your CAPS Team is at the table with the State, continuing discussions even now. As the Legislature nears adjournment, we are at a critical point and time is running out to go through the legislative process necessary to ratify a new MOU during this legislative session. Your CAPS Team will continue to negotiate with the State and put pressure on the State to reach a TTA that VALUES State Scientists. 

Current Tracking and Status. Quite a few proposals were tentatively agreed to this week, you can see what proposals were passed by your CAPS Team and tentatively agreed to here. You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

Join the Conversation. Want to talk to your fellow members about these proposals? Have questions about the current status of Bargaining? Join the CAPS Bargaining Forum and chat with each other scientist to scientist.

Great job showing up and showing out at the CAPS Regional Rallies. Scientists standing together in solidarity succeed together. See more about our success next week in a detailed release.

August 30, 2023, Part 3

The final deadline to Update your Voter Information is TODAY, August 31, at NOON.

The final deadline to vote is this Friday, September 1 at 8 a.m. PDT.

You Should Have Received Your Ballot Already. Voting information was sent to rank-and-file members on August 29, 2023.  Members should have received a ballot from BallotPoint to their personal email addresses on file ONLY – be sure to check your spam folder! Members should also have received a text with their ballot to their personal cell phone number, if they have one on file. BallotPoint is not using work email addresses for this vote. Vote YES Today!

No Ballot Yet? Update your personal email, ASAP, here: https://capsscientists.org/members/update/. Updated email lists will be sent on a rotating basis to BallotPoint, daily. 

Need Information? Have Questions? Check out the CAPScontract2023.org website with all the information related to the Strike Authorization Vote and relevant FAQs that are being updated daily. 

Encourage scientists who aren’t already members to join CAPS (https://capsscientists.org/application/) as soon as possible to ensure they are able to vote YES. Nonmembers must join CAPS prior to noon on August 31, 2023, if they would like to be a part of this vote.

Share your YES vote on Social Media using our 2023 Strike Authorization Vote toolkit: https://capscontract2023.org/social-media-toolkit/

In a historic move to further ensure the State understands the seriousness and gravity of the issues facing Unit 10 and that all possible pressure points can be applied at the Bargaining Table, the CAPS rank-and-file Board of Directors met this past weekend and those who were present unanimously voted in favor of a Strike Authorization Vote and provided your CAPS Bargaining Team the authority to conduct such a vote. The rank-and-file members of the CAPS Board of Directors, who were present, CAPS Bargaining Team, and the CAPS Contract Action Team urge all CAPS members to vote YES to authorize a strike.

The strike authorization vote does not mean the union is currently calling a strike.Your CAPS Bargaining Team is currently at the table, continuing to negotiate in good faith with the State of California. This vote, on whether or not CAPS Members authorize a strike, empowers your Bargaining Team to initiate a strike if the State doesn’t reach a fair deal and circumstances warrant.

August 30, 2023, Part 2

Highlights in this update:

  • Your CAPS Team and the State continue to meet
  • Updated Status on the Bargaining portion of the website
  • Join the Conversation: CAPS Bargaining Forum
  • Vote YES in the Strike Authorization Vote 

Your CAPS Team and the State Continue to Meet. Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met until late into the evening again with the State yesterday to attempt to make more progress towards reaching a tentative agreement. Your CAPS Team continues to provide relevant information and salient arguments, but thus far the State has not moved their proposals to appropriately VALUE State Scientists. Your CAPS Team has countered the State’s economic proposal from August 25, which the State has also countered again – the second counter from the State still fell extremely short of meeting what State Scientists need. Your CAPS Team will continue to fight for a fair contract for you, our next meeting with the State is tomorrow, August 31. 

Current Tracking and Status. Quite a few proposals were tentatively agreed to this week, you can see what proposals were passed by your CAPS Team and tentatively agreed to here

  • There are currently 151 sections of the contract with Tentative Agreements
  • The State has 3 proposals in their court to review
  • Your CAPS Team has 17 to review for counter or acceptance

You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

As a reminder, the economic counters that we received from the State on Friday, August 25 are summarized in a pdf titled Summary Document Regarding State Proposals on August 25, 2023 at the top of our Bargaining Proposals and Status webpage. 

The rank-and-file members of the CAPS Board of Directors, who were present, CAPS Bargaining Team, and the CAPS Contract Action Team urge all CAPS members to vote YES to authorize a strike. A Strike Authorization Vote is a Tool. A Special Meeting of the Board of Directors was held this past weekend on August 26, 2023, where the rank-and-file members of the CAPS Board of Directors who were present voted unanimously to conduct a strike authorization vote, and provided the CAPS Bargaining Team the authority to conduct such a vote. The strike authorization vote does not mean the union is currently calling a strike. Strike Authorization would empower the CAPS Bargaining Team to call a strike if circumstances warrant.  Voting information was sent to rank-and-file members on August 29, 2023, and the final deadline to vote is this Friday September 1 at 8 a.m. PDT. Questions? Check out the FAQs and other information, updated daily here: CAPScontract2023.orgNo Ballot Yet? Update your personal email, ASAP, here: https://capsscientists.org/members/update/ 

As Member Action Committee Chair, Mia Roberts said during the lunchtime teach-in, things have to change if we want to see a change in the outcome: are you going to be a part of the solution? 

Join the Conversation. Want to talk to your fellow members about these proposals? Have questions about the current status of Bargaining? Join the CAPS Bargaining Forumand chat with each other scientist to scientist.

August 30, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • You should have received your ballot (personal email and/or cell)
  • Questions? Check out the website
  • Vote YES today!

In a historic move to further ensure the State understands the seriousness and gravity of the issues facing Unit 10 and that all possible pressure points can be applied at the Bargaining Table, the CAPS rank-and-file Board of Directors met this past weekend and those who were present unanimously voted in favor of a Strike Authorization Vote and provided your CAPS Bargaining Team the authority to conduct such a vote. The rank-and-file members of the CAPS Board of Directors, who were present, CAPS Bargaining Team, and the CAPS Contract Action Team urge all CAPS members to vote YES to authorize a strike.

The strike authorization vote does not mean the union is currently calling a strike.Your CAPS Bargaining Team is currently at the table, continuing to negotiate in good faith with the State of California. This vote, on whether or not CAPS Members authorize a strike, empowers your Bargaining Team to initiate a strike if the State doesn’t reach a fair deal and circumstances warrant.

You Should Have Received Your Ballot Already. Voting information was sent to rank-and-file members on August 29, 2023. The final deadline to vote is this Friday, September 1 at 8 a.m. PDT. Members should have received a ballot from BallotPoint to either their personal email addresses on file – be sure to check your spam folder! Members should have also received a text with their ballot to their personal cell phone number, if they have one on file.  Vote YES Today!

No Ballot Yet? Update your personal email, ASAP, here: https://capsscientists.org/members/update/. Email lists will be sent on a rotating basis to BallotPoint, daily.  

Need Information? Have Questions? Check out the CAPScontract2023.org website with all the information related to the Strike Authorization Vote and relevant FAQs that are being updated daily. 

Encourage scientists who aren’t already members to join CAPS (https://capsscientists.org/application/) as soon as possible to ensure they are able to vote YES. Nonmembers must join CAPS prior to noon on August 31, 2023, if they would like to be a part of this vote.

Share your YES vote on Social Media using our 2023 Strike Authorization Vote toolkit: https://capscontract2023.org/social-media-toolkit/

August 29, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • CAPS Board of Directors Authorizes Strike Authorization Vote
  • Voting Details
  • CAPS Continues Bargaining for YOU
  • Come to the Rally!

In a historic move to further ensure the State understands the seriousness and gravity of the issues facing Unit 10 and that all possible pressure points can be applied at the Bargaining Table, the CAPS Board of Directors met this past weekend and unanimously voted in favor of a Strike Authorization Vote. A Special Meeting of the Board of Directors was held this past weekend on August 26, 2023, where the CAPS Board of Directors voted unanimously to conduct a strike authorization vote of the membership, and provided your CAPS Bargaining Team the authority to conduct such a vote.

The CAPS Board of Directors and CAPS Bargaining Team urge all CAPS members to vote YES to authorize a strike.

The strike authorization vote does not mean the union is currently calling a strike.Your CAPS Bargaining Team is currently at the table, continuing to negotiate in good faith with the State of California. This vote, on whether or not CAPS Members authorize a strike, empowers your Bargaining Team to initiate a strike if the State doesn’t reach a fair deal, and if circumstances warrant

Voting Details Released. Strike Authorization Information on CAPSContract2023.org. Voting information will be sent to eligible members on August 29, 2023, and the final deadline to vote is set for September 1 at 8 a.m. PDT. A third-party vendor, BallotPoint, has been contracted to hold the strike authorization vote for CAPS. Members will be provided a ballot to their personal email addresses on file. Be sure to update your personal email here: https://capsscientists.org/members/update/ 

Encourage scientists who aren’t already members to join CAPS (https://capsscientists.org/application/) as soon as possible to ensure they are able to vote YES. Nonmembers must join CAPS prior to August 31, 2023, if they would like to be a part of this vote.

Your Bargaining Team Represents YOU. Your Bargaining Team knows that your demands are the priority at the table. CAPS is doing everything we can, both at, and away from the table, to ensure the best possible contract is reached, as soon as possible. You read last week about CAPS’ sign-on letter from State legislators; the California Democratic Party Resolution, sent to the Governor, the Speaker Pro Tempore, and the Speaker of the State Assembly; and where we stand at the table. Your Bargaining Team is working hard for you. 


How Can You and Your Colleagues Help? 

  • COME TO THE RALLY! Join your fellow State Scientists in a picket outside of CalHR on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, at noon (1810 16th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811), then march to the Rally on the West Steps of the State Capitol (10th Street, between N and L) by 1 p.m. where we will be joined by current and former state legislators! Come out to tell the Administration yourself just how important this contract is to you!  RVSP here.
  • GET LOUD on social media in support of your Bargaining Team! Support your Team by telling the Governor and his representatives at CalHR and the Department of Finance to bargain a fair contract that includes equitable wages for State Scientists! Be sure to showcase the CAPS Green in your post, if you can! You can also share the Legislative Sign-On Letter or the Democratic Party Resolution in a post! Tag @capsscientists in your posts on Instagram, Twitter/X and show your support for your Bargaining Team. See the Social Media Toolkit on the CAPS Website HERE for ideas on how to do this. 
  • TALK ABOUT IT. Talk to your colleagues about what’s been presented. Join the CAPS Bargaining Forum. Tell your Bargaining Team what you think! 

August 26, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • Teams return to Table on Monday
  • Your CAPS Team Represents YOU
  • CAPS Finally Receives Economic proposals, 108 days later
  • Join the Bargaining Forum

Your Bargaining Team Represents YOU. Your needs are the priority at the table. Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) is doing everything we can, both at and away from the table, to ensure the best possible contract is reached, as soon as possible. You read earlier today about CAPS’ sign-on letter from State Legislators; the California Democratic Party Resolution, sent to the Governor, the Speaker Pro Tempore, and the Speaker of the State Assembly; and where we stand at the table. Your Bargaining Team is working hard for you. Here’s what happened after today’s earlier email:

State Finally Responds to CAPS’ Economic Proposals. At around 7 p.m. tonight, after breaking for a caucus meeting nearly five hours earlier, the State finally responded to CAPS’ economic proposals. Your CAPS Team was ready, willing, and able to receive a proposal all day, but the State kept extending their caucus late into the evening. After the State passed its proposals, they informed the CAPS Team that their deadline for coming to Agreement during the current legislative session has moved to this upcoming Monday. Your CAPS Team reiterated that our members’ input determines OUR parameters and we’re at the table to represent the needs of State Scientists, as put forth to them many times over the past few years, and took the proposals under advisement. As you, the members, are our advisors, you can find a summary of what those proposals said here. Want to talk to your fellow members about these proposals? Join the CAPS Bargaining Forum and chat with each other scientist to scientist.

With the timeline again extended, your CAPS Team is meeting with the State on Monday morning, prepared and ready to represent your needs. Stay tuned. 

How Can You and Your Colleagues Help? 

  • GET LOUD on social media in support of your Bargaining Team! Support your CAPS Team by telling the Governor and his representatives at CalHR and the Department of Finance to bargain a fair contract that includes equitable wages for State Scientists! Be sure to showcase the CAPS Green in your post, if you can! You can also share the Sign-On Letter or the Democratic Party Resolution in a post! Tag @capsscientists in your posts on Instagram, Twitter/X and show your support for your Bargaining Team. See the Social Media Toolkit on the CAPS Website HERE for ideas on how to do this. 
  • TALK ABOUT IT. Talk to your colleagues about what’s been presented. Join the CAPS Bargaining Forum. Tell your CAPS Team what you think! 
  • GRAB YOUR COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS AND FAMILY — COME TO THE RALLY! Join your fellow State Scientists in a picket outside of CalHR on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, at noon (1810 16th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811), then march to the Rally on the West Steps of the State Capitol (10th Street, between N and L) by 1 p.m. where we will be joined by current and former state legislators until 2 p.m.! Come out to tell the Administration yourself just how important this contract is to you!  RSVP here!

August 25, 2023

Your CAPS Bargaining Team is Still at the Table. The CAPS Bargaining Team has been hard at work continuing to progress through the sections still open for a Successor MOU. The Teams have now Tentatively Agreed to 129 sections. Currently, the State has 25 proposals from CAPS they have to respond to, while 19 proposals are currently in CAPS’ court. Despite all the progress made, and CalHR’s own self-imposed August 22 deadline coming and going, CalHR has yet to provide a response to any economic proposal by CAPS. Now, CalHR says the new deadline is sometime tonight. Stay tuned. 

CAPS Secures 51 Legislator Signatures In Support of Fair Contract. As covered in the Sacramento Bee earlier today, CAPS secured a Sign-On letter in Support of your CAPS Bargaining Team’s effort to secure a Fair Contract, signed by 51 California State Legislators.  

CAPS Secures Resolution by California Democratic Party. Simultaneously, CAPS has secured a resolution by the California Democratic Party in support of State Scientists’ pursuit of a Fair Contract. You can see it here

How Can You and Your Colleagues Help? GET LOUD on social media in support of your Bargaining Team! Support your Team by telling the Governor and his representatives at CalHR and the Department of Finance to bargain a fair contract that includes equitable wages for State Scientists! Be sure to showcase the CAPS Green in your post, if you can! You can also share the Sign-On Letter or the Democratic Party Resolution in a post! Tag @capsscientists in your posts on Instagram, Twitter/X and show your support for your Bargaining Team. See the Social Media Toolkit on the CAPS Website HERE for ideas on how to do this.  

COME TO THE RALLY! Join some of your CAPS Board and fellow State Scientists while we picket outside of CalHR on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, at noon (1810 16th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811), then march to the Rally on the West Steps of the State Capitol (10th Street, between N and L) by 1 p.m. where we will be joined by current and former state legislators! Come out to tell the Administration yourself just how important this contract is to you!

August 23, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • CAPS Team Negotiating All Week
  • Importance of Participation!

CAPS Ready to Negotiate. Once again, your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) came to the bargaining table, prepared and ready to negotiate. Yesterday, August 22 was the date that CalHR was pushing your CAPS Team to come to an agreement by, but once again, the State was unprepared to negotiate economic items of the contract. CalHR told us they are likely to have economic proposals for us to consider on Thursday (8/24). It’s been 106 days since your CAPS Team passed major economic items to CalHR, including our salary proposals. Your CAPS Team will be bargaining with the State all week on all outstanding items, and will be providing smaller, more frequent updates as things progress at the table. Here’s a recap of today:

  • At the outset of the day, your CAPS Team had 12 proposals to respond to and the State had 46.
  • Throughout the day, the Teams arrived at 21 Tentative Agreements.
  • A Subject Matter Expert on the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) attended the meeting to provide some background on related sections.
  • At the close of the day, your CAPS Team left with16 proposals to respond to, and the State left with 30.

Review the CAPS proposals passed and sections tentatively agreed to here. You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

Participate! It’s The Most Important Thing You Can Do. The most important and effective thing you and your colleagues can do to support your CAPS Team is participate in all CAPS’ Union Actions. When you show up to Rallies, when you sign your Action Commitment Card and proudly display it in your cubicle, on your union bulletin board, or in the background in virtual meetings, you tell the State that you are standing with your CAPS Team. So, be sure to tell them every chance you get! You can find more about all the Union-sanctioned actions here: https://capsscientists.org/member-action-landing-page/.

TODAY

  • Join state scientists at the CAPS Regional Rally in the Bay Area – August 23 from 12-1PM at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in Oakland at Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612

NEXT WEEK

Join state scientists at the CAPS Regional Rally and March in Sacramento – August 30 from 12-2PM, starting at CalHR and leading to the West Steps of the Capitol: Come early to make a poster and ensure you’re on time and ready to march!

August 8, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • Meeting held July 31, Recap
  • CAPS Team Ready and Available to Negotiate
  • Importance of Participation!

CAPS and the State Met to Continue to Pass Proposals. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) continued to make progress at the table when they met with the State on July 31. The State’s Team were amenable to Tentatively Agreeing to 17 sections, presented 6 counter proposals, and rejected 1 CAPS proposal. CAPS, in turn, responded to some of the State’s counter proposals. 

You can see what proposals were passed and tentatively agreed to here. You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

CAPS Team Ready and Available to Negotiate. Your CAPS Team has been and remains ready and available to meet with the State’s Team to discuss and negotiate to make progress toward a total tentative agreement that can be presented to the CAPS membership that would show the State VALUES State Scientists appropriately. Your CAPS Team presented economic proposals on May 9, passed all non-contingent proposals by July 11, and have been working hard to ensure that we are responding quickly and thoughtfully to any counter proposals passed by the State of California. The State’s Team has yet to respond to our economic proposals, almost three months later,  surpassing their self-imposed budget deadlines. Now, in August, the State’s Team has notified CAPS they would like to come to an agreement no later than August 22 to ensure they can support an MOU bill through the Legislative Process.  Your CAPS Bargaining Team continues to underscore the need for the State to illustrate they value you and your colleagues in concrete ways in any economic proposals they present.  We look forward to discussing the State’s Team’s economic counter proposal soon, so we can attempt to meet their deadline.

Great Work Attending the Bargaining Worksite Meetings!  More than 190 CAPS Members showed up to one of two days of Bargaining Worksite Meetings last week to hear the Bargaining Team’s update on what’s happening both at and away from the Table, and how members can best support those efforts. 

The Most Important Thing You Can Do. The most important and effective thing you can do to support the CAPS Bargaining Team and your colleagues is to participate in CAPS’ Union Actions. When you show up to Teach Ins and Lunchtime Rallies, when you sign your Action Committment Card and proudly display it in your cubicle, on your union bulletin board, or in the background in virtual meetings, you tell the State that you are standing with your Bargaining Team. So, be sure to tell them every chance you get! You can find more about all the Union-sanctioned actions here: https://capsscientists.org/member-action-landing-page/.

Here’s what’s coming up:

  • CAPS Tabling
    • Tuesday, August 15 from 11am – 2pm at 2109 Arch Airport Rd, Stockton, CA 95206 (CONFIRMED)
    • Tuesday, August 22 from 11am – 2pm at 50 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (TENTATIVE)
    • Thursday, August 24 from 11am – 2pm at 1910 S Archibald Ave, Ontario, CA 91761 (CONFIRMED)
  • Regional Rally in LA – August 16 from 12-1PM in front of the Governor’s Office at 300 S Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
  • Regional Rally in the Bay Area – August 23 from 12-1PM at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in Oakland at Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612
  • Regional Rally and March in Sacramento – August 30 from 12-2PM from CalHR to the West Steps of the Capitol

August 4, 2023

BARGAINING UPDATE WORKSITE MEETING
ONLY RANK-and-FILE NONMEMBERS MAY REGISTER

Virtual Meeting – Via Zoom
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
12 – 1 PM

Join CAPS for a virtual worksite meeting with your Board of Directors and CAPS staff. The meeting will begin with a presentation by the CAPS Bargaining Team and updates on the status of Bargaining.
 
You must pre-register in order to participate in the worksite meeting. You will receive a confirmation email and link to join the meeting at the email address you provide a day before the meeting is to be held. You do not need a Zoom account to participate in the meeting. Please be sure to read and abide by the Virtual Meeting Participant Expectations.

 

There is no time off secured for this meeting. Please plan to attend during your lunch.

Join CAPS Today! 

You are receiving this message as a non-member of CAPS. Only members receive regular updates from CAPS, only members’ voices are considered when a new contract is reached, and only members receive individual representation from CAPS’ professional labor staff when things go wrong at work. Membership in CAPS is only $59 per month and affords you the protection and might of CAPS’ various resources that our collective power buys. Please consider joining as a dues-paying member of CAPS today. You can learn more, and join CAPS here: https://capsscientists.org/application/intro-to-your-union/

August 1, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • Meetings held July 24 and 25, Recap
  • Teach in, Lunchtime Rallies a SUCCESS
  • Upcoming Bargaining Worksite Meetings
  • Next Meeting and Scheduling
  • ICYMI: Take ACTION with CAPS

CAPS and the State met for Two Days – July 24 and 25. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) continued to make progress at the table when they met with the State on July 24 and 25. The State’s Team was amenable to Tentatively Agreeing to (TA’ing) 14 sections, they presented your CAPS Team with 20 counter proposals, and rejected 1 CAPS proposal (2.25 Pandemic Recognition Bonus). We we plan on developing an updated proposal to ensure that we are fighting for the benefits that we deserve. 

One of the counters the State’s Team provided us with was for 6.1 Business and Travel Expenses, which we recognize is a top priority for State Scientists! Their counter contains changes that are similar to what we passed. The State’s team had 4 SMEs come to the table from their benefits division to walk us through their counter. 

CAPS responded to 5 of the State’s counter proposals, rejected 1 of the State’s counter proposals and stuck with our original proposal, passed on 6/13 (3.17 Mentoring Leave Authorization – Science Fairs), and the State Tentatively Agreed to one of CAPS’ counters. 

You can see what proposals were passed and those that have been tentatively agreed to by us and the State’s team here. You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

During the meeting on July 25, your CAPS Team also passed the Priorities Petition which was signed by 1,659 scientists and scientist supporters. In just one week we exceeded the participation of the Bargaining Survey, which was open for a month. GREAT WORK ALL! Your CAPS Team, while presenting the petition, emphasized that these priorities are those that we hear from YOU – the membership – who have the ultimate power in ratifying a tentative agreement. We expressed to the State that the CAPS Team’s goal is to reach a tentative agreement that will be ratified, and this petition provides them the roadmap to do so. 

Teach in and Lunchtime Rallies a SUCCESS. Great work to all those who organized, coordinated, participated and attended the July 26 Teach in and Lunchtime Rallies at your worksites! We saw over 150 individual accounts participating online, with multiple watch-parties. Send in your photos and videos to CAPS@capsscientists.org so we can feature them on our social media and website! A copy of the powerpoint presentation that was given at the teach in will be posted on the Bargaining Procedures webpage soon, stay tuned! 

Bargaining Worksite Meetings Scheduled. Your CAPS Team has scheduled Bargaining Worksite Meetings this week. We will provide an overview of what was discussed at the teach-in, give an update on where we’re at in the bargaining process, and provide the opportunity for a Q&A session. If you have yet to do so, register for your Bargaining Worksite Meeting today:

  • Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 2, for Districts 1, 2 and 4 at 12-1pm: Register here!
  • Thursday, August 3, for Districts 3 and 5 at 12-1pm: Register here!
     

Future Schedule. The CAPS Team met again with the State’s Team on July 31. The CAPS Team has requested additional dates to be added to the previously scheduled meeting dates in August as both parties agree that we’d like to have an agreement before the Legislature’s recess in the Fall.  

Stand in Solidarity with SEIU! CAPS and SEIU Local 1000 will be engaging in a Picket Line and Banner Drop high above the Interstate 5 freeway on Thursday, August 3, 2023, from 3:30 – 5:30 PM at the Crocker Museum Overpass. Join us at 216 O Street, Sacramento, wearing your CAPS Green and bringing your lunchtime rally poster! See you there! 

In Case You Missed It. SUPPORT CAPS ON TUESDAYS!  Support your CAPS Team while we are at the table and participate in the following Actions! We need SUPERMAJORITY participation in EVERY ACTION to maximize their impact. As Jane McAlevey says, we win in relationship to the power we build! 

Learn more about all these actions on the Union Action page on the CAPS Website here: https://capsscientists.org/member-action-landing-page/

Together, let’s build our union power. Keep up the great work and SHOW YOUR SUPPORT! 

The most important thing that you can do is participate in all ongoing and upcoming actions that the MAC has put together in their action plan and stay informed on what’s going on at the table by keeping up with emails from the CAPS general inbox. If you haven’t filled out an action commitment card, do so as soon as you’re done reading this message, RSVP for the upcoming rallies, and talk with your coworkers during solidarity breaks. We need everyone paying attention and committing to take these actions. We’re doing all we can at the bargaining table right now and we need you all to do all you can outside of the table.

July 24, 2023

REMINDER: Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with the State on Tuesday, July 11. The CAPS Team has not yet received a response from the State’s Team on any economic items, including the items we passed on May 9, over two months ago. The CAPS Team stated, at the table, that we have passed all proposals we are prepared to at this time and are awaiting responses from the State. On Tuesday the State asked your CAPS Team what  our top priorities are.  Your CAPS Team has repeatedly informed the State what State Scientists’ priorities are using data that came directly from YOU, State Scientists, through our 2023 Bargaining Survey results

Your CAPS Team diligently prepares for every meeting with the State, does extensive research, and continues to stand firm: State Scientists deserve and demand a fair contract!  The State, on the other hand, needs a reminder on what our union’s top priorities are. The State needs to hear directly from each and every State Scientist – that means YOU and YOUR colleagues.  Your input determines our parameters. 

Click here to reiterate your priorities to the State by signing this petition. After you’ve done so, reach out to all the Scientists in your workplace and make sure they’ve filled out their priorities too. Get involved in YOUR contract negotiations by taking action TODAY. There are 4,100 State Scientists in Unit 10, the State heard from 40% of you through your participation in the Bargaining Survey, let’s beat that percentage and show the strength in our numbers!  Please participate before we next meet with the State, no later than TODAY, Monday, July 24, so we can pass the petition. Let the State know they need to start paying attention to the priorities of State Scientists by signing the petition TODAY. NOTE: You can use your work email and physical addresses to sign the petition, if you’d prefer. 

Your CAPS Bargaining Team is committed to our fight for a fair contract, are you? Demonstrate your commitment to your own future by participating in this action, as well as all of our upcoming and ongoing actions outlined on the Union Action webpage here: https://capsscientists.org/member-action-landing-page/  as well as in the Call to Action emails from the Member Action Committee (MAC). 

July 20, 2023

REMINDER: Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with the State on Tuesday, July 11. The CAPS Team has not yet received a response from the State’s Team on any economic items, including the items we passed on May 9, over two months ago. The CAPS Team stated, at the table, that we have passed all proposals we are prepared to at this time and are awaiting responses from the State. On Tuesday the State asked your CAPS Team what  our top priorities are.  Your CAPS Team has repeatedly informed the State what State Scientists’ priorities are using data that came directly from YOU, State Scientists, through our 2023 Bargaining Survey results

Your CAPS Team diligently prepares for every meeting with the State, does extensive research, and continues to stand firm: State Scientists deserve and demand a fair contract!  The State, on the other hand, needs a reminder on what our union’s top priorities are. The State needs to hear directly from each and every State Scientist – that means YOU and YOUR colleagues.  Your input determines our parameters. 

Click here to reiterate your priorities to the State by signing this petition. After you’ve done so, reach out to all the Scientists in your workplace and make sure they’ve filled out their priorities too. Get involved in YOUR contract negotiations by taking action TODAY. There are 4,100 State Scientists in Unit 10, the State heard from 40% of you through your participation in the Bargaining Survey, let’s beat that percentage and show the strength in our numbers!  Please participate before we next meet with the State, no later than Monday, July 24, so we can pass the petition. Let the State know they need to start paying attention to the priorities of State Scientists by signing the petition TODAY. NOTE: You can use your work email and physical addresses to sign the petition, if you’d prefer. 

Your CAPS Bargaining Team is committed to our fight for a fair contract, are you? Demonstrate your commitment to your own future by participating in this action, as well as all of our upcoming and ongoing actions outlined on the Union Action webpage here: https://capsscientists.org/member-action-landing-page/  as well as in the Call to Action emails from the Member Action Committee (MAC). 

July 17, 2023

Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with the State on Tuesday, July 11. The CAPS Team has not yet received a response from the State’s Team on any economic items, including the items we passed on May 9, over two months ago. The CAPS Team stated, at the table, that we have passed all proposals we are prepared to at this time and are awaiting responses from the State. On Tuesday the State asked your CAPS Team what  our top priorities are.  Your CAPS Team has repeatedly informed the State what State Scientists’ priorities are using data that came directly from YOU, State Scientists, through our 2023 Bargaining Survey results

Your CAPS Team diligently prepares for every meeting with the State, does extensive research, and continues to stand firm: State Scientists deserve and demand a fair contract!  The State, on the other hand, needs a reminder on what our union’s top priorities are. The State needs to hear directly from each and every State Scientist – that means YOU and YOUR colleagues.  Your input determines our parameters. 

Click here to reiterate your priorities to the State by signing this petition. After you’ve done so, reach out to all the Scientists in your workplace and make sure they’ve filled out their priorities too. Get involved in YOUR contract negotiations by taking action TODAY. There are 4,100 State Scientists in Unit 10, the State heard from 40% of you through your participation in the Bargaining Survey, let’s beat that percentage and show the strength in our numbers!  Please participate before we next meet with the State, no later than Monday, July 24, so we can pass the petition. Let the State know they need to start paying attention to the priorities of State Scientists by signing the petition TODAY. NOTE: You can use your work email and physical addresses to sign the petition, if you’d prefer. 

Your CAPS Bargaining Team is committed to our fight for a fair contract, are you? Demonstrate your commitment to your own future by participating in this action, as well as all of our upcoming and ongoing actions outlined on the Union Action webpage here: https://capsscientists.org/member-action-landing-page/  as well as in the Call to Action emails from the Member Action Committee (MAC). 

July 5, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • No Response on May 9 Economic Proposals Yet
  • TAKE ACTION
  • See past and current Bargaining Updates
  • Next Meeting and Scheduling
  • It’s up to YOU to Make Your Voice Heard.  Take ACTION in support of your Union

Still No Economics from the State. Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with the State last Tuesday, June 27. On May 9 (57 days ago), your CAPS Team presented proposals that would result in REAL solutions to longstanding issues within our Unit. While your CAPS Team has diligently worked to pass all economic proposals (i.e., anything with a dollar amount), the State’s Team has yet to respond to any of them. Your CAPS Team was prepared to hear from the State last week, as other Units had received economic responses, however, the State didn’t mention our economics last week. To keep progressing through the MOU, your CAPS Team presented 16 proposals, 8 of which were tentatively agreed to (TA’d). 

The CAPS Team has TA’d 74 Sections towards a successor MOU. Of those 74, 28 have updated and improved language while 46 are considered roll overs (i.e., continuing the language found in the 2018-2020 MOU). The CAPS Team is awaiting responses on 57 proposals that we’ve passed and have in the realm of 30-40 left to finalize and propose to the States Team. 

You can see what all of the proposals we’ve passed and tentatively agreed to, including the ones from June 27 here. You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here

The CAPS Team has made a formal request that any Subject Matter Expert (SME) who participated in relation to a proposal be present for the State’s responses.  

The State Needs to Hear from YOU and YOUR Colleagues.  Together, let’s urge the State to accept the economic proposals your CAPS Team passed on May 9. The State has now offered other Bargaining Units compensation proposals – reports from other units show they’ve been offered a pathetic 6% increase over 3 years. If the State choses to provide your CAPS Team with a response that doesn’t meet the needs of State Scientists, we are prepared to respond at the table, and they need to hear from you as well. Last week, when the call/email campaign was released to members, the State let us know immediately at the table that your messages are coming through loud and clear. Let’s do it again this week.  Be thoughtful! Include personal stories and information to illustrate why State Scientists need fair pay! Share this action with your networks, friends, family, colleagues, everyone is welcome to join in! Call, email, and use our social media toolkit to help put pressure on the State to accept the economic proposals your CAPS Team passed on May 9.  See more ACTIONS you and your colleagues can take NOW here. 

Future Schedule. The CAPS Team will meet again with the State’s Team on July 11. The CAPS Team has requested additional dates to be added to the pre-set meeting dates in July. 

It’s up to YOU to make a difference at the table. Mark your calendars for these future actions and  SUPPORT YOUR UNION, CAPS, ON TUESDAYS!: 

  • SAVE THE DATE:
  • Teach in and Worksite Lunchtime Rallies on July 26. Click here or here to print a Save the Date flyer to post at your worksite!
  • Regional Rallies on August 16, 23, and 30. Click here to print a Save the Date flyer to post at your worksite!
  • Action Commitment Cards. Show your participation! Fill out and print an Action Commitment Card today!
  • Email Signatures. More information to come!
  • Participate in a Solidarity Break with your colleagues: https://capsscientists.org/member-action-landing-page/
  • Wear your CAPS T-shirt!
  • Display the CAPS Virtual Backgrounds: https://capsscientists.org/caps-video-backgrounds/
  • Take a picture with you and your colleagues rocking your CAPS green!
    • Tag CAPS on social media: @capsscientists (Instagram and Twitter).
    • Email your photos to caps@capsscientists.org to be featured on CAPS’ social media.

Keep up the great work and SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!

June 27, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • CAPS Presented Survey Data
  • The State’s Due to Respond to Economic Proposals – Take action today!
  • Next Meeting: July 11
  • See past and current Bargaining Updates
  • Keep up the good work: SCIENCE ACTION TUESDAYS
  • Mark your calendars: future actions

CAPS Presented Survey Data. In anticipation of a response to our economic proposals, the CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) presented data from the CAPS Bargaining Survey – data from 40% of State Scientists – that supported the need for a fair contract. The CAPS Team again told the State what you’ve told us – State Scientists need to be VALUED for the important work you do! You can see the presentation here

We Anticipate Hearing from the State Soon. The State has now offered other Bargaining Units compensation proposals – reports from other units show they’ve been offered an unrealistic 6% increase over 3 years. Should the State elect to provide a similar proposal to the CAPS Team, we are prepared to respond. To ensure the best impact of our response, WE NEED YOU! NOW is the time for you and your colleagues to really help your Bargaining Team!   

Please TAKE ACTION today by: 

  1. Visiting our Action Center here and sending an email to the Governor, CalHR, and Department of Finance representatives urging them to support State Scientists by addressing the inequities we face, as outlined here.  
  2. You can also call Governor Newsom, CalHR, and and Director of the Department of Finance to tell them why YOU think it’s important to support your Bargaining Team’s May 9 proposal. 
  3. Click here to access the Social Media Toolkit and get to posting!  
  4. Get your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors to do the same!

It’s up to YOU and YOUR COLLEAGUES to let these decision makers know that State Scientists are united and willing to fight for what we are rightfully owed. 

Last Week’s Recap. Learn more about the June 20 negotiations and proposals that were passed here. You can always access past and current Bargaining Updates here.

WE NEED ALL HANDS ON DECK. Support your CAPS Team while we are at the table and participate in the following Actions! 

Keep up the great work and SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS. Join us for the following UPCOMING ACTIONS and stay tuned for more details on each!

  • Email Signatures
  • Action Commitment Cards
  • Teach in and Worksite Lunchtime Rallies on July 26. Click here or hereto print a Save the Date flyer to post at your worksite!
  • Regional Rallies on August 16, 23, and 30. Click here to print a Save the Date flyer to post at your worksite!

June 20, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • CAPS Team tracking progress
    • CAPS Team Passed 14 Sections
    • 1 Section was re-passed
    • 7 Sections were TA’d
  • Information Request responses inbound
  • Women’s Earnings Report Questions and SME
  • Next Meeting: June 27
  • ICYMI: Take ACTION with CAPS, Watch SME Presentations, participate in Solidarity Rallies

CAPS Bargaining Team Clearing the Decks. Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) has met with CalHR seven times since rejoining the table in 2023. There are 161 sections from the previous Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to review and roll over or propose in addition to the new proposals and sections that CAPS would like to see added as benefits to the successor MOU. There are as many as 54 potential sections left to pass – in either the previous MOU or new proposal categories. 

This count includes the 14 proposals that your CAPS Team passed on June 16 to the State’s Team. The proposals included the following:

  • In Article 3, Leaves, your CAPS Team passed current MOU Sections 3.3 – Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA); 3.16 – Mentoring Leave; and 3.23 – PLP 2020. In Article 5, CAPS passed Section 5.14 – Organ and Bone Marrow Donation, and in Article 7, the CAPS Team passed Sections 7.11 – Telework Stipend Program; 7.12 – Telework Joint Labor Management Committee (JLMC); and 7.13 – On-Call CDPH. All of these sections were passed as roll over or proposed minor updates to the language that would benefit State Scientists.
  • In Article 3, Leaves, your CAPS Team passed Sections 3.8 – Jury Duty; 3.11 – Work and Family Program; and 3.17 – Mentoring Leaves Science Fairs with some language additions to expand the types of leaves and mentoring that could be considered for these sections.
  • In Article 5, Health and Welfare Section 5.2 – Employee Assistance Program, and in Article 19, Miscellaneous, Section 19.6 – Transportation Incentives, your CAPS Team proposed changes that would increase benefits to State Scientists by offering more Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counseling sessions and no new parking charges should a department elect to move to a new location or building with different parking situations.
  • In Article 8, Retirement Section 8.9 – Postretirement Employee Benefits, your CAPS Team proposed clean up to remove the unnecessary historical information and update the timing of OPEB calculations.

You can see all the proposals your CAPS Team passed here.

The State requested to re-pass Section 9.10 – Formal Grievance Step 4, which the CAPS Team allowed. The re-pass added language specifying the email address to which grievances at the CalHR level should be submitted. This language changed nothing about the current process, so the CAPS Team were amenable to the changes.

Your CAPS Team and the State Tentatively Agreed (TA) to seven sections during this Bargaining Session: Section 3.3 – FMLA, 3.16 – Mentoring Leave, 5.14 – Organ and Bone Marrow Donation, 7.12 – Telework JLMC, 7.13 On-Call Assignments – Public Health, 9.10 – Formal Grievance Step 4, and 15.3 – Training. 

Information Request from CAPS being answered. Your CAPS Team provided a lengthy information request to CalHR near the outset of our return to the table and have been receiving information from the Departments on a piecemeal basis ever since. The CAPS Team is reviewing the information gathered, elaborating upon and renewing requests, should it be necessary to do so, to really dig down on the data collected so that we can provide suggestions for improvements and utilize what is available to support our arguments at the table. 

Women’s Earning Report, CAPS requests a Subject Matter Expert. The State released their 2021 Women’s Earnings Report in May. The report is required to be completed annually, per Government Code 19827.2. This week, your CAPS Team has requested a Subject Matter Expert from the State who has been invited to walk the Team through how the State performs its analysis and answer CAPS questions about the report.

Future Schedule. Your CAPS Team will meet again with the State’s Team on June 27.

In Case You Missed It. 

  • Keep your Pulse on CAPS Updates, Calls to Action and Bargaining Updates – more CAPS Actions are in the works and will be released by the end of this month!
  • Watch CAPS SMEs present on important CAPS proposals: https://capsscientists.org/caps-bargaining/subject-matter-experts-presentations/ 
  • CAPS encourages you to Stand in Solidarity with fellow State Employee Union, SEIU Local 1000 on June 22, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., in Los Angeles at the Governor’s Office – 300 S Spring St.
  • Reminder: Resources for Bargaining on the CAPS Website!  
    • CAPS Bargaining ForumA CAPS Bargaining Forum has been established with Bargaining related-topics. 
    • Dedicated Information on Bargaining ProceduresEducational information meant to provide members a background into some of the processes that your CAPS Team must navigate to secure a new contract. 
    • Value ScientistsThis page will be used to provide data and information to interested members of the public. 

June 13, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • CAPS Passed 13 Sections
    • 3 CAPS member Subject Matter Experts presented
    • State’s Team passed 1 counter proposal on Section 2.16
  • Next Meeting: June 20
  • Keep an eye on Actions!
  • ICYMI: Tabling, AB1677, Solidarity Rally, Bargaining Resources

CAPS Passed 13 Proposals. Since the return to the table, your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) has passed proposals and presented arguments, including those from this past Tuesday, June 6, on 87 MOU sections. All of the proposals passed by the CAPS Team on June 6 have some kind of economic impact (i.e. they contemplate dollar amounts, release time, or leaves). 

In Article 2, Salaries, your CAPS Team passed current MOU Sections 2.6 – Staff Specialist Compensation; and 2.10 – Recruitment and Retention Differentials. In Article 5, the CAPS Team passed Section 5.13 – Health Promotion Activities, and in Article 6, the CAPS Team passed Section 6.5 – Damage of Personal Items. Your CAPS Team proposed updates to the language or increases to the benefits offered to State Scientists by these sections. Your CAPS Team also passed Section 2.11 – Out of State Differential as a roll over. You can see all the proposals the CAPS Team passed here.

CAPS Subject Matter Experts Presented on Specific Proposals. On June 6, three CAPS members, two from CalFIRE and one from Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) presented to the State’s Team as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to help deliver pertinent background information on a total of five proposals.  The CAPS Team expresses its gratitude to these members for their volunteerism and expertise, and for ensuring that the State HEARS from YOU! The specific proposals supported by our SMEs included:

Hazard Pay. Your CAPS Team added Hazard Pay as part of Section 2.7 – Diving/Climbing Pay to begin to recognize, with a modest differential of $10/hour while on site, that many State Scientists work in or around hazardous sites and materials. 

Medical Monitoring. There was also a differential proposed to be added to Section 5.3 – Medical Monitoring of $25/hour for each hour spent on-site during a medical monitoring appointment. 

Fire Mission Pay. Pay Differential 59 is provided to many classes that engage in summer preparedness in their CalFIRE units. Unit 10 is on that list, but different classifications are used today for these duties that are not listed. Your CAPS Team proposed to add any utilized class at CalFIRE to this new section. 

Pandemic Recognition. Throughout the pandemic, State Scientists worked tirelessly to ensure the State could continue completing its mission amidst a tumultuous time. This proposal would provide a $1,500 one-time bonus to folks that meet the eligibility contained in the proposal. 

Safety Footwear. State Scientists who work on firelines need appropriate and specialized footwear that the current Safety Footwear reimbursement does not come close to covering. The proposal adds a new $750 reimbursement, annually, for National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Wildland Fire Boots for those who are required to purchase them in order to complete their duties. 

Keep watching future updates for videos of these and other SME presentations. You can see past presentations here

The State’s Team reiterated that in order to appropriately respond to CAPS’ economic proposals, they first need to be in receipt of all of the CAPS Team’s proposals that have an economic impact. The CAPS Team, as a result, is working diligently to ensure that we can continue to have productive meetings and discussions. 

Future Schedule. Your CAPS Team has placed a hold on every Tuesday until the end of June with the State’s Team. The CAPS Team is meeting with the State today, June 13 and the next meeting is scheduled for June 20. 

SUPPORT YOUR CAPS TEAM ON TUESDAYS!  

Your CAPS Team has been meeting internally or with the State’s Team on Tuesdays. Support your CAPS Team while we are at the table and participate in the following Actions! 

Keep up the great work and SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!

In Case You Missed It. 

  • CAPS is Hosting Tabling Events Near YOU, check them out on the new CAPS Electronic Calendar here
  • CAPS-Sponsored Legislation – Assembly Bill 1677 successful, moves to Senate because of YOU! https://capsscientists.org/past-actions/ 
  • CAPS Stood in Solidarity with fellow Union, SEIU Local 1000 at a rally on June 8! Check out the photos on our instagram
  • Reminder: Resources for Bargaining on the CAPS Website!  
    • CAPS Bargaining ForumA CAPS Bargaining Forum has been established to discuss Bargaining related-topics. 
    • Dedicated Information on Bargaining ProceduresEducational information meant to provide members background into some of the processes that your CAPS Team must navigate to secure a new contract. 
    • Value ScientistsThis page will be used to provide data and information to interested members of the public. 

May 30, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • CAPS Team working on additional proposals, reaching out to Subject Matter Experts
  • No update yet on economics
    • Check out the Explainer Document on CAPS’ proposed salary increases
  • CAPS Team Passed 18 Sections
    • 14 sections were Tentatively Agreed to
    • State’s Team passed 2 counter proposals
  • TUESDAYS are the day of SCIENCE
  • Next Meeting with the State: June 6
  • In case you missed it: AB 1677 Action, Tabling, CAPS Electronic Calendar

CAPS Team Working on Additional Proposals tied to Economics. Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) has been reviewing the member-submitted proposals as well as the remaining contract sections that need to be addressed at the table. As a result, there are a few proposals CAPS will be preparing for the next meeting with the State that would benefit from some Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Your CAPS Team will be reaching out to members who submitted interest when they participated in the bargaining survey, or when they submitted a related proposal to the Bargaining Team. 

The State’s Team stated that in order to appropriately respond to CAPS’ economic proposals, they first need to be in receipt of all of the CAPS Team’s economic proposals. (Economic proposals are those with an associated dollar amount for the State.) Your CAPS Team is working diligently to incorporate the demands of State Scientists from the bargaining survey results into all our economic proposals to ensure we can have productive meetings and discussions. 

Your CAPS Team is also working on clarifying documents for the economic proposals that were passed on May 9. Previously, the CAPS Team released this Explainer Document. Check it out in the interim! 

CAPS Team Passed 18 Proposals. So far, the State and CAPS have met four times since the rejection of the Tentative Agreement in February and CAPS has passed a grand total of 71 proposals, with 40 of them currently tentatively agreed to. At the May 23 meeting, CAPS passed proposals in Article 9 – Grievance and Arbitration Procedure, that expanded the timelines to allow for better representation of members. Additional sections passed included some in Article 2 – Salaries, such as Night Shift Differential and Bilingual Pay Differential to ensure that compensation amounts in these sections are brought up to date with current differential amounts received by other units. You can see all the proposals CAPS passed here

14 of the 18 Proposals Tentatively Agreed to. The State’s Team agreed to all changes proposed in Article 9 (13 sections) and additionally agreed to the improvements in Section 2.14 – Operational Availability Incentive that were made in the previous Tentative agreement. You can view all the current TA’s here

The State Passed 2 Counter Proposals. The State passed two counter proposals – one on Bereavement Leave (Section 3.4) and the other on Union Leave (Section 3.6). The changes are currently under review by your CAPS Team. 

Continue to Participate! Your CAPS Team cannot act alone – it takes the full force of the membership to win! Continue to wear your CAPS T-shirts and rock your virtual backgrounds on TUESDAYS to show the State that all 4,100 rank and file State Scientists are unified in our demand for a fair contract! Take a picture of you and your colleagues in your green and tag @capsscientists on social media using the #ValueScientists for a chance to be featured! Don’t have social media? Email us your photos! 

The Bargaining Team represents YOU and needs your support! Join your colleagues building our collective power at the table. Apply to join the Contract Action Team (CAT) here.

Future Schedule. The CAPS Team has placed a hold on every Tuesday until the end of June with the State’s Team. The CAPS Team will meet next with the State’s Team on June 6. 


In Case You Missed It. 

  • CAPS CALL TO ACTION: Write to your Legislator to vote FOR AB 1677 here
  • CAPS is Hosting Tabling Events Near YOU, check them out on the new CAPS Electronic Calendar here. 

May 17, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • CAPS passed economic proposals
    • 10 CAPS Subject Matter Experts presentations
  • SCIENCE ACTION TUESDAYS
  • Additional Bargaining Resources Developed
  • Data from Bargaining Survey being compiled
  • Next Meeting: May 23

CAPS Presented Economic Proposals. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team), along with 10 other CAPS members who acted as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) met with the State’s Team Tuesday, May 9 to ensure CAPS’ economic proposals were presented with the greatest impact. These included proposals on the following topics: Salaries, Longevity Pay, Geographical Pay, Healthcare, and Alternate Range (AR) 40. 

Salaries. The CAPS Team passed a 5-section bundle that proposed General Salary Increases, Special Salary Increases, and language that is forward-looking. 

Longevity Pay. The CAPS Team proposed a longevity pay differential that recognizes State Scientists with 15 years of service, or more, in Unit 10. 

Geographical Pay. CAPS Team proposed geographical pay that contemplates counties across California and provides either a two-step or one and one-half step pay differential. 

Healthcare. The CAPS Team proposed a change in disability benefit program to State Disability Insurance and an increase to the 85/80 formula for health care for current and future employees.

AR 40. The CAPS Team proposed language that was previously tentatively agreed to that addresses the issue of AR40 at the CDCR institutions. 

Each proposal can be viewed on the CAPS Proposals and Status page, and the associated Explainer Document can be found here

VALUE SCIENCE, VALUE SCIENTISTS. SHOW YOUR SOLIDARITY, EVERY TUESDAY!  

The CAPS Team has been meeting either with the State’s Team or internally on Tuesdays. Support your CAPS Team and take part in member actions crafted to bolster their statements made at the Bargaining Table!

Take a picture with you and your colleagues rocking your CAPS green! Then, tag CAPS on social media: @capsscientists (Instagram and Twitter); use the hashtag #ValueScientists, and/or email your photos to caps@capsscientists.org to potentially be featured on CAPS’ official social media accounts!  

Reminder: Resources for Bargaining on the CAPS Website!  

NEW: Value Scientists. The Avoiding Collapse Campaign and relevant historical information which was developed during the last round of bargaining has been added to the new page in the CAPS Bargaining section of the website, dubbed “Value Scientists.” This information was made accessible to members of the Legislature via a QR code on CAPS’ Legislative Objectives flyer. This page will be used to provide data and information to interested members of the public. This page will be maintained with relevant updates moving forward.  

CAPS Bargaining Forum: A CAPS Bargaining Forum has been established with Bargaining related topics. Please feel free to register and participate in civil discussions with your colleagues. Please remember to abide by the rules of conduct and read the FAQs before you get started! 

Dedicated Information on Bargaining Procedures. Educational information meant to provide background into some of the processes that your CAPS Team must navigate to secure a new contract, rights to collective actions, and more. Please see the page here.

Survey Data being Compiled. Almost 40% of rank-and-file scientists participated in the CAPS Bargaining survey and provided data – real numbers – that the CAPS Team can use at the table to solidify our arguments. As the CAPS Team sifts through the numbers, more information will be added to different areas of the CAPS website; stay tuned for additional improvements! 

Additional Proposal Tentatively Agreed to. At the May 2 meeting, the CAPS Team passed a proposal for Section 6.2 Moving Expenses that CalHR agreed to during the May 9 meeting. You can view all the current TA’s on the CAPS website here

Future Schedule. The next meeting with the State is Tuesday, May 23. We are continuing to review the member bargaining proposals that we received and will follow up, as necessary, with any updates on the status of these proposals. 

Want to join your colleagues building our collective power at the table?Apply to join the Contract Action Team (CAT) here

May 9, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • Tuesday is the day to VALUE SCIENCE!
  • Bargaining Survey Closed – Great Work
  • Team Reviews Member Proposals
  • CAPS Passes 23 Proposals
  • 7 Sections TA’d
  • CAPS will pass economic proposals TODAY

TUESDAYS are for SCIENCE!  

CAPS has been meeting either with the State’s Team or internally on Tuesdays. Support your CAPS Team while we are at the table and participate in the following Actions! 

Keep up the great work and SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!

State Scientists make their voices HEARD. Great work to all the State Scientists who participated in the Bargaining Survey. The end results were 39% of eligible Unit 10 scientists participated in the survey! A great start, from which we can build. This means that almost 40% of rank-and-file scientists are engaged and willing to take action. The information gathered from the survey will be shared in appropriate ways with the State’s Team at the table. Stay tuned for when and how!

Additionally, the CAPS Team received several innovative proposals from the membership. The CAPS Team will be reviewing the proposals in the coming weeks. 

CAPS Passed 23 Proposals. The CAPS Team has taken the time to review the sections from the previous total tentative agreement that needed no additional changes or updates and presented 23 of those sections. Those sections included items like: Section 5.xx Lactation Accommodation and Article 8 Retirement. You can see all the proposals CAPS passed here.  

7 of 23 Proposals Tentatively Agreed to. Of the 23 proposals that were passed, seven were agreed to by the State’s Team. You can view all the current TA’s here

Economic proposals from CAPS, presented TODAY. The CAPS Team will be meeting with the State’s Team today to pass economic proposals with help from 10 CAPS Member Subject Matter Experts. The presentations will span topics like salaries, pay differentials such as geographical, longevity, and educational pay, Alternate Range 40, joint labor management committees on reclassification and promotional pathways, and healthcare improvements. The CAPS Team will release more detailed information next week! 

May 2, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • Bargaining Survey Closes Friday, May 5
  • Member Proposals due Friday, May 5
  • Keep up SCIENCE TUESDAYS!
  • Apply to join the Contract Action Team (CAT)!
  • Ground Rules Reached
  • CAPS Passes 20 Proposals
  • 17 Sections TA’d

Show up for your Union, CAPS! Keep up the actions – wear your green CAPS shirt every Tuesday and sport those virtual backgrounds! Make sure your CAPS Bargaining Team can trumpet your support – take a picture with you and your colleagues rocking your CAPS green! Then, tag CAPS on social media: @capsscientists (Instagram and Twitter) and email your photos to caps@capsscientists.org for a chance to be featured on CAPS’ social media pages! 

Reminder: May 5 is the deadline for Bargaining Survey and Member Proposals. As of April 28, 1,358 State Scientists have dedicated time to fill out the CAPS Bargaining Survey and make their wants and needs known! Have YOU? This survey is an opportunity to share your priorities for bargaining in percentage pay increases, other compensation items, healthcare, telework, necessary changes to your classification, other ideas for improvements and what you are willing to do to obtain these improvements. Be sure to take the Bargaining Survey on or before THIS FRIDAY, May 5 so that we can present data to the State’s Team. We’ve already heard that they are interested in how many Scientists SHOW UP for CAPS – make your voice count!  

Similarly, the CAPS Bargaining Team has been receiving, reviewing and discussing member submitted proposals for the successor MOU. If you have ideas, the CAPS Team wants to hear from YOU. Get your proposal in on or before May 5 to ensure that the Team has an opportunity to review before passing proposals. Use this template to submit your proposal to caps@capsscientists.org

Want to join your colleagues building our collective power at the table? Apply to join the Contract Action Team (CAT) here.

Ground Rules Agreed To – Onto Negotiations. After a few discussions and multiple passes at and away from the bargaining table, CAPS and the State reached agreement on Ground Rules for this “round” of negotiations. These Ground Rules have similar language to what CAPS has agreed to in the past. The CAPS Team was able to ensure that member time and efforts who serve as observers or Subject Matter Experts in the future were protected and that, should a Tentative Agreement be reached, the CAPS Team is able to provide the necessary information to the membership for an informed decision. You can see the final result of the Ground Rules discussion here

CAPS Passed 20 Proposals. The agreement on Ground Rules allows the rest of the negotiations to start, and start we did. The CAPS Team has taken the time to review the sections from the previous total tentative agreement that needed no additional changes or updates and presented 19 of those sections. Those sections included items like: Section 2.2 Merit Salary Adjustments and 4.1 Holidays. Additionally, the CAPS Team proposed updated language for Section 3.15 Blood Donation to change the final sentence to guarantee time without loss of compensation during regular work hours as opposed to the previous language that was permissive. You can see all the proposals CAPS passed here

17 of 20 Proposals Tentatively Agreed to. Of the 20 proposals that were passed, only three were held for additional review by the State’s Team. You can view all the current TA’s here.

Future Schedule. The CAPS Team has placed a hold on every Tuesday until the end of June to meet with the State’s Team. 

April 11, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • CAPS met with the State’s Team
  • Take the Survey, Next Meeting date set
  • Ground Rules discussion continue
  • Call to Action: Science TUESDAYS
  • Register for the Bargaining Forum

CAPS Kicks Off Bargaining. Last week, the CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with the State’s Team to re-start discussions on negotiating a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Unit 10. The CAPS Team began the meetings with a presentation recapping the timeline for this round of negotiations which began in 2020. The CAPS Team presented several core objectives that included: 

  • Protecting California’s Future, 
  • Avoiding Collapse, 
  • Stabilizing the Scientific Workforce, 
  • Ensuring Agencies are Able to Complete Their Missions, and
  • Turning the State of California into the Employer of Choice for Scientists. 

The CAPS Team also set up topics for future discussions at the table including Competitive and Equitable Salaries, Recognizing Scientific Education and Experience, Workforce and Program Stability, Mitigation/Reduction of Climate Impact, and Paid Family Leave and Support for Working Parents. Finally, the CAPS Team closed the presentation by providing some summary data from the most up-to-date survey results. You can review the presentation here

The only question from the State’s Team on the presentation was how many scientists were included in the examples from the survey data shared thus far. The CAPS Team shared that the survey is not YET closed, but that the number of participants already exceeds those that participated in the ratification vote. 

This is why it is imperative YOU take the survey TODAY, if you have not yet. CalHR is interested in what YOU have to say, and so is your Bargaining Team! The survey will remain open, but the CAPS Team is next scheduled to meet with the State’s Team on April 25. Take the survey prior to this date to help your CAPS Bargaining Team!

Before closing the meeting on Friday, the CAPS Team mentioned that there are at least 51 sections of the previously agreed-to Tentative Agreement that we would like to continue to update or improve. If YOU have any suggestions for the successor MOU, get your proposal templates to the Bargaining Team before April 25 in order for the Team to have a better sense of what proposals to move forward! The CAPS Team will be reviewing the proposals in the coming weeks. Download the template here to submit to caps@capsscientists.org.

Under Review: Ground Rules. As mentioned in the last update, the State’s Team presented your CAPS Team with ground rules to set expectations for conduct at the table. The CAPS Team and the State’s Team have sent updates to the language to each other a few times so far to attempt to find common language to agree upon.

Ground rules are basic principles on which future actions of the table will be based. While CAPS hasn’t had formal Ground Rules thus far during negotiations for a successor MOU, they are a routine part of the traditional bargaining process. Presently, CAPS and the State have left the notion of Interest Based Bargaining behind for this post-Total Tentative Agreement Rejection round of negotiations, and thus Ground Rules are being contemplated. 

Ground rules can be either written or verbal, depending upon the parties involved. The State of California typically requests written ground rules. These rules can cover almost every conceivable subject, but typically focus on rules that will expedite and facilitate the bargaining process. For example, ground rules can help establish important procedural protocols such as how proposals are presented and passed, how tentative agreements are signed, and who calls official time for passing. Ground rules also set clear expectations for both parties, like meeting dates, times, and who receives release time. These logistical issues may seem trivial, but they set the table for the remainder of the negotiations.

The parties are likely to set ground rules prior to the next meeting so that the real work of bargaining for a successor MOU can start. 

Call to Action: Science TUESDAYS!  

The State’s Team informed the CAPS Team that our likely meeting dates into the future will take place on Tuesdays. Support your CAPS Team while we are at the table and participate in the following Actions on Tuesdays:

Keep up the great work and SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!

Let’s talk about Bargaining! A CAPS Bargaining Forum has been established for you to talk with your colleagues about Bargaining-related topics. Start or join a conversation with your scientist colleagues. It’s available to rank-and-file members only. You must register to participate, even if you previously had a login. Please remember to abide by the rules of conduct and read the FAQs before you get started!

April 5, 2023

Highlights in this update:

  • Bargaining with CalHR re-commences on Thursday (4/6)
  • Calls to action for THIS Thursday
  • Bargaining Ground Rules
  • Submit your Bargaining Survey ASAP
  • Reminder: Bargaining Resources
  • Apply to join the Contract Action Team (CAT)!

Bargaining Re-Commences THIS THURSDAY. Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) will meet with the State’s Team for the first time since the rejection of the tentative agreement in February. Your CAPS Team will be bargaining for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to replace the expired, but currently in-effect, 2018-2020 MOU. 

Calls to Action for THIS Thursday, (4/6).

Support your CAPS Team while we are at the table! 

Bargaining Ground Rules. The State’s Team presented your CAPS Team with ground rules to set expectations for conduct at the table last week. The State and CAPS have not had any ground rules since contract negotiations began in 2020. Your CAPS Team responded to the State’s proposed ground rules and the parties have yet to reach agreement. 

Ground rules are a set of rules that are typically proposed and agreed to at the outset of negotiations. Ground rules are considered to be equivalent to a “mandatory subject of bargaining” for California State employees and therefore, your CAPS Team will bargain ground rules for negotiations in good faith. 

Bargaining Survey Status. Great work to all the State Scientists who have participated in the Bargaining Survey, so far! As of today, 20% of rank-and-file State Scientists have participated in the bargaining survey. It’s imperative that YOU take the time to provide information to your CAPS Bargaining Team to help prepare for the upcoming negotiations. It’s not too late to help your CAPS Team win a fair contract. Fill out the survey today: https://capsscientists.org/caps-bargaining/2023-survey/

Reminder: Bargaining Resources.  

Learn more about the Bargaining Process. Visit the Bargaining Procedures page on the CAPS website. This information is meant to provide members background into some of the processes that your CAPS Team must navigate. The page will be updated with additional relevant information as we move forward. Please see the new page here.

CAPS Bargaining Forum. Let’s talk about Bargaining! A CAPS Bargaining Forum has been established with Bargaining related topics. Start or join a conversation with your scientist colleagues, available to rank-and-file members only. You must register to participate, even if you previously had a login. Please remember to abide by the rules of conduct and read the FAQs before you get started! 

Now is the Time to Get Involved! Join the Contract Action Team. The CAPS Member Action Committee (MAC) is working to connect CAPS members across the State who will help organize Unit 10 State Scientists to take action in support of CAPS’ bargaining efforts for a fair contract. If you are interested in being part of the CAT, fill out this survey: https://app.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?BE9AF6E9BCFEEBEFBC

March 15, 2023

New Bargaining Survey for 2023. An initial Bargaining Survey for this round of bargaining was first conducted in early 2020. Much has potentially changed since then, so your input is imperative to ensure the CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) has the most up-to-date information to guide them in their negotiations. The bargaining process starts with input from YOU and from every rank-and-file State Scientist. So, please take a few minutes and complete this new survey. 

Please only submit ONE survey response and complete and return it as soon as possible. The CAPS Team will review the Bargaining Survey results toward the end of March, so they are prepared to resume negotiations with the State’s Team in early April. 

Take the survey here: https://capsscientists.org/caps-bargaining/2023-survey-members-only/

Worksite Meetings Scheduled. The CAPS Team wants to ensure that you and your colleagues also have an opportunity to verbally share your priorities with your Bargaining Team. Smaller worksite meetings have been scheduled to provide more opportunities for open dialogue between the Team and YOU before the Team returns to the table. Please see the Worksite Meeting Schedule here

Dedicated Information on Bargaining Procedures. During previous worksite meetings, the CAPS Team heard from members that there is confusion about the Bargaining Process and the steps necessary to reach an agreement or take more significant union actions. As a result, the CAPS Team, in coordination with the Member Action Committee developed educational information related to Bargaining Procedures. Please find that new information here. This information is meant to help members understand some of the processes that your CAPS Team must navigate. This page will be updated   as we move forward through the process. 

CAPS Bargaining Forum. The CAPS Team heard from YOU during previous worksite meetings and the CAPS Team would like to continue to do so! The CAPS Forum has been re-established specifically for bargaining. Register to participate in respectful conversations with your colleagues on the forum. Please read the FAQs before you get started and remember to abide by the rules of conduct. This forum is only available to rank-and-file members because it is a bargaining-specific forum.  

We are Stronger United. These are difficult and uncertain times. If we stick together, we will preserve what we have, and make important gains. Working together, we can and will bring success in this round of contract bargaining! THANK YOU for your membership and your continued support. We can’t succeed without it!

February 28, 2023

Highlights (see paragraphs below for more detail on these topics):

  • The Bargaining Team spent the last few weeks meeting and developing our strategy for returning to the bargaining table.
  • The 2023 bargaining survey will be released mid-March and focused worksite meetings will be held. Your input and that of your colleagues is needed!
  • Coordination between the Bargaining Team and Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) on legislative items has kicked off.
  • Looking forward: it’s up to you and your colleagues to help us achieve what is long overdue at the bargaining table. Get involved, stay involved!

Results of Ratification Vote: A Month Later. On February 1, 2023, the ratification vote results indicated that the CAPS membership resoundingly rejected the Tentative Agreement (TA) reached between CAPS and the State of California. As communicated in many of the ratification worksite meetings, if the TA was rejected, CAPS would return to the bargaining table to resume negotiations with the Administration for a successor agreement as soon as possible. 

CAPS has informed CalHR of the results and our intent to meet, however, a few procedural steps are necessary for both sides prior to returning to the table: 

Member Input and Engagement. Member input is essential. The Bargaining Survey for this round of bargaining was first released in early 2020. Much has potentially changed since then, so you and your colleagues’ input is imperative to ensure the CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) has the most up-to-date information. The CAPS Team heard a variety of issues at recent worksite meetings that members had not yet shared during this round of bargaining. Now is the time to make sure that issues related to your wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of work are made known and addressed. The Bargaining Survey for 2023 will be released in mid-March, with a minimum two-week collection period. Be on the look-out and please complete it once it is released! 

The CAPS Team is also planning to ensure that you can hold a dialogue with your colleagues and CAPS Leadership. Smaller, focused worksite meetings are in the works to ensure there is more opportunity for open dialogue between the CAPS Team and the membership, your input is critical. Most meetings will be held virtually but stay tuned for details.

Not Starting Over, but Reviewing All. With the rejection of the full TA, CAPS has an opportunity to ensure that sections of our MOU that were previously tentatively agreed to still meet our needs today. While we are not starting over at the table, the CAPS Team and the State’s Team will be reviewing all sections of the MOU, including those that were TA’d previously. This is another reason why your participation in the Bargaining Survey is so important! If you have proposals you’d like to submit in the interim, please utilize the 2023 Bargaining Proposal template here.

As the CAPS Team will be reviewing the Bargaining Survey results toward the end of March, it is likely that the CAPS Team will be prepared to meet with the State’s Team in early April. The CAPS Team has informed CalHR of this timeline. While the Governor’s Proposed Budget was released January 10, the CAPS Team awaits the May Revise to the Governor’s Proposed Budget for a more telling, and official, picture of the State’s economics. This is another reason for the April start date, with the intent to have any possible TA to the membership before the Legislature departs for recess in September. 

No Contract, Going on Year Three. At the outset of the pandemic, the CAPS Team made a decision. Instead of rolling over the contract to wait out the pandemic and what looked to be a huge economic downturn, the CAPS Team elected to continue working to improve all sections of the successor MOU. This, of course, has meant that we’ve successfully negotiated side letters for the Personal Leave Program in 2020, the General Salary Increase and return of funds in 2021, and a host of other benefits throughout these past three years instead of having a new MOU in place. The Evergreen Clause allowed the CAPS Teams to make the decision to not opt for a rollover contract and to spend the necessary time on reviewing the entire MOU and educating the Administration on Unit 10 issues.

Legislative Work. The CAPS Team has started coordinating with the Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) to ensure that legislative and political avenues to support negotiations are in play. The GAC is responsible for recommending to the CAPS Board of Directors positions on, and sponsorship of, legislation of interest to State Scientists. 

Forward into 2023. The CAPS Team will continue to update you, the membership, frequently as dates are set in 2023 with the State’s Team. Like the previous CAPS Team, this Bargaining Team is committed to being as transparent as possible. The CAPS Team will continue working with the Member Action Committee (MAC) and the Contract Action Team (CAT) on union actions to ensure that your voices are heard! The power of any union is in its members – CAPS is no different. The CAPS Team needs sustained, meaningful participation from you and your colleagues to help us achieve big wins at the bargaining table. Please watch for future updates, ask questions, and get ready to show the State the strength of our membership. Commit to participating in union actions, and recruiting new CAPS members, and consider applying to be a CAT member, or Local Representative

In Solidarity, 

CAPS Bargaining Team

February 1, 2023

The results of the Ratification Vote have been certified by ElectionBuddy and released to the bargaining team, and the CAPS Board of Directors. CAPS members resoundingly REJECTED the proposed Memorandum of Understanding between CAPS and the Newsom Administration. The Bargaining Team has notified CalHR of this outcome and requested that negotiations resume immediately.

The official count was 751 in favor of ratification (40.70%), and 1094 against (59.30%).  The return was 67% of eligible voters (1845 voters/2744 eligible). Balloting was conducted by ElectionBuddy.

The CAPS Ratification Ballot count was conducted entirely by ElectionBuddy, an independent balloting service. See more about them here: https://electionbuddy.com/services/

During the coming months CAPS will be focusing on:

  • Resuming negotiations at the bargaining table
  • Taking actions to put pressure on the administration
  • Continuing to build solidarity with other labor unions
  • Looking for legislative and legal pathways to solve Unit 10’s inequity issues
  • Continuing to build upon our collective actions for solidarity
  • Increasing Membership in CAPS
  • Reinforcing the positive image of State Scientists with decision makers and the public
  • Improving internal communications
  • Strengthening the case for fair and equitable pay

The CAPS Bargaining Team is committed to negotiating more favorable terms than those in the MOU just rejected by the CAPS membership. Most importantly, the Bargaining Team remains committed to fighting for equitable salaries for all State Scientists.

So, What Happens Next?  Your Bargaining Team returns to the table with CalHR as soon as possible. The Bargaining Team will meet internally to discuss next steps on February 13th, so stay tuned for updates after that date. The existing MOU remains in effect. State law keeps virtually all provisions of the expired contract in effect while negotiations are underway (see Government Code Section 3517.8). Those provisions are in effect unless and until formal impasse is reached in the negotiations process. Impasse occurs either when the parties declare impasse jointly, or when one party petitions the state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to make that determination, and the PERB agrees there is an impasse, after an investigation. More information about impasse, additional potential actions, and the bargaining process as a whole will be posted on the CAPS website soon. Stay tuned. 

Continued Member Actions. CAPS will be asking ALL CAPS members to participate in legal and appropriate activities in support of the bargaining effort while the negotiations process is underway.

Now is the Time to Get Involved! Join the Contract Action Team. The CAPS Member Action Committee (MAC) is working to connect CAPS members across the State who will help organize Unit 10 State Scientists in support of CAPS’ bargaining efforts for a fair contract. MAC is seeking members for the newly formed CAPS Contract Action Team (CAT) to assist in building a communication network between members at the worksite. If you are interested in being part of the CAT, fill out this survey: https://app.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?BE9AF6E9BCFEEBEFBC

What are you signing up for, if you join? You are signing up to coordinate member actions in support of bargaining, in addition to talking to your colleagues about issues that affect you and your family: your pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. Join CAPS members in actions and tell this Administration that we deserve a fair contract!

Thanks To Everyone Who Voted!

January 24, 2023

Have You Voted Yet? There’s Still Time! Voting closes in 7 Days. The Ratification Vote to accept or reject the Total Tentative Agreement presented to the CAPS membership is seven days from closing. Voting closes on January 31, 2023, at 6PM. 
 
Still Haven’t Received Your Ballot? If you have yet to receive your ballot, please contact CAPS immediately (caps@capsscientists.org) and provide your personal email address and your home address so that we can have ElectionBuddy, the third-party vendor who is running and managing the ratification vote, send you your ballot and postcard. The ratification vote is managed completely by ElectionBuddy – CAPS will have no access to the vote information until the results are released.
 
Need more Information? There are three remaining worksite meetings scheduled before the vote closes! Please be sure to pre-register to engage with the Bargaining Team in frank, open, and honest discussions. Pre-registration approvals will be sent on the day prior to the meeting that you have registered for. The Bargaining Team’s presentation will be the same for all meetings. All members will receive 1 hour of State Release time to attend one lunchtime worksite meeting.

You can register for the worksites this week below: 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

Thursday, January 26, 2023, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

Thursday, January 26, 2023, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Can’t make any of the Times? Check out the Ratification Resources page.The CAPS Bargaining Team has put together Ratification Resources that can be found here. They have been recently updated to include Frequently Asked Questions from members who have attended the previous six worksite meetings and now includes a video of the Bargaining Team’s presentation at the worksites. These resources have been made available so that you can gather information on the Total Tentative Agreement and have an informed vote!
 
Results Released to the Members, first. The vote ends on January 31 at 6PM, but the results will not be immediately available because members had the option to opt for a paper ballot. As soon as the results are made available to the CAPS Bargaining Team and Board of Directors, the membership will be informed! 

January 10, 2023

Vote is Underway. The Ratification vote to accept or reject the Total Tentative Agreement presented to the CAPS membership is currently underway. Individual ballot links have been sent to CAPS Members, at the personal email address on file, and by postcard, sent to members’ home address on file. If you have yet to receive an electronic ballot or to receive a postcard, please contact CAPS staff immediately (caps@capsscientists.org). Please be sure to update your home address and personal email address with CAPS here to ensure you receive your ballot with enough time to vote prior to the closing of the vote on January 31, 2023, at 6 p.m. 

The vote is being held in a hybrid model – you are encouraged to participate electronically. If you would prefer to vote by mail, you can request a paper ballot by following the instructions sent to you on the postcard from ElectionBuddy. 

A third-party vendor, ElectionBuddy, has been selected to run this ratification vote and it is managed completely by ElectionBuddy – CAPS will have no access to the vote information until the results are released.

Ratification Resources Available. The CAPS Bargaining Team has put together Ratification Resources that can be found here: https://capsscientists.org/caps-bargaining-updates/ratification-resources/. These resources should serve as your starting point for gathering information on the Total Tentative Agreement.

Need more information? Attend a Worksite Meeting. Two additional worksite meetings are being held this week! Both worksite meetings will be held on Thursday, January 12, 2023 – one will be held at noon and the other at 6PM. Please be sure to pre-register to hear from your Bargaining Team! 

You can register for this week’s worksite meetings with the following links:

Thursday, January 12, 2023 at noon

Thursday, January 12, 2023 at 6PM

Pre-registration approvals will be sent on the day prior to the meeting that you have registered for. The Bargaining Team’s presentation will be the same for all meetings. All members will receive 1 hour of State Release time to attend one lunchtime worksite meeting on the clock, but you may attend additional meetings outside of work time (i.e., during lunch break, after work). The schedule of worksite meetings has been available for members to register for on the Ratification Resources page here

December 27, 2022

Please read this message in its entirety. 

Be Informed! Attend a Worksite Meeting. The CAPS Bargaining Team will be hosting a minimum of 10 worksite meetings starting later this week, December 29 at noon, that will run on the released schedule until January 26, 2023, to provide you details about the Total Tentative Agreement and to hear from you. All worksite meetings are scheduled virtually to allow for the best access to members across the State. You’ll note on the current schedule that most worksite meetings are being held during the lunch hour (noon to 1:00PM). All members will receive 1 hour of State Release time to attend one lunchtime worksite meeting. In addition, there are two worksite meetings being held in the evening (January 12 and 26, 6:00PM – 7:00PM) and one on a Saturday morning (January 21, 9:00AM – 10:00AM) to ensure that there are plenty of meetings you can potentially attend. Be an educated voter, attend a worksite meeting! 

Ratification Resources Available. The CAPS Bargaining Team has put together Ratification Resources that can be found here. These resources should serve as your starting point to gathering information on the Total Tentative Agreement. Your next step? Attend a ratification worksite meeting! Then make sure to vote! 

Registration for Worksite Meetings LIVE. All links to pre-register to attend worksite meetings, hosted on the Ratification Resources page, are now LIVE. All Rank-and-File CAPS Members are eligible to attend.  You must pre-register to attend. Click on the dates listed on the website to register for that particular meeting. You will receive a confirmation email and link to join the meeting at the email address you provide one day before the meeting to ensure the link is easily found. You do not need a Zoom account to participate in the meeting. Each person’s link is individual. Please do not share your link with anyone. Doing so will result in your removal from the meeting. 

When registering, you will be able to submit questions for the Question-and-Answer session. Questions that are submitted ahead of time will be addressed first. If multiple members submit the same question, the questions will be consolidated to get through as many questions as possible. Please be sure to read and abide by the Virtual Meeting Participant Expectations.

Timeline of Vote Allows for Attendance at Worksite Meetings. Voting will commence December 28, 2022, and end January 31, 2023, at 6pm. A third-party vendor, ElectionBuddy, will be used for this ratification vote and it will be managed completely by ElectionBuddy – CAPS will have no access to the vote information until the results are released. Individual ballot links will be sent to CAPS Members only, at the personal email address on file, and by postcard, sent to members’ home address on file. If you would prefer to vote by mail, you can request a paper ballot by following the instructions sent to you on the postcard from ElectionBuddy. Please be sure to update your home address and personal email address with the CAPS offices (caps@capsscientists.org) as soon as possible to ensure you receive your ballot with enough time to vote prior to the closing of the vote.

December 21, 2022

Please read this message in its entirety. 

Your CAPS Bargaining Team Reaches Total Tentative Agreement on Successor Contract. 

Your CAPS Bargaining Team has heard from you. 

We have heard that we are ready to continue standing strong in our demand for pay equity. We have also heard that inflation and the rising cost of living have caused many of us to work multiple jobs or seek employment elsewhere. 

After considering all of the input we have received, and the financial outlook for the State, your CAPS Bargaining Team went back to the table with CalHR last week. 

What the Tentative Agreement (TA) Includes. 

  • Term. The TA made between CAPS and the Administration provides an updated salary schedule and benefits for the term of November 1, 2022, to January 1, 2025.
  • Salary Increases. As outlined in the TA, as of November 1, 2022, different classes would receive Special Salary Adjustments – most of us would receive 4% – with some at 10% and others at 2.5%. Please see the detailed chart here. As of July 1, 2023, all Unit 10 rank and file scientists would receive a 2% General Salary Increase. And finally, as of July 1, 2024, all Unit 10 rank and file scientists would receive a 2% General Salary Increase.
  • Joint Labor Management Committees. The items that were added to this TA that were not present in the August discussions are two Joint Labor Management Committees: one related to CalHR’s Total Compensation Report, a report that is required to be completed six months prior to the expiration of bargaining contracts, and one on the topic of CAPS’ Internal Class Promotional structures. These two Committees were considered necessary additions by your Bargaining Team in order to even present this package to you, the membership, because they provide a path to continue the discussion in a formal setting with CalHR.  
  • Move to State Disability Insurance. State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) will be made available within the term of this contract, if ratified.

More information can be found in this summary of the Tentative Agreement. You can also find all of the sections within this Tentative Agreement on our website here.

What the Total Tentative Agreement Does Not Include. Your CAPS Bargaining Team has fought hard over the last three years; however, this Tentative Agreement (TA) does not include pay equity, longevity pay, or adequate geographical pay. 

The CAPS Bargaining Team continued to press the Administration on their justification for rejecting proposals or not providing additional differentials or increases to Unit 10. For example, the Administration was unwilling to increase the geographical pay differential or add counties beyond the SF Bay Area. They were also unwilling to identify what “other factors” beyond an apparent 50% vacancy rate were utilized to justify the longevity pay differentials they provided for other Units. While the Administration’s responses were unsatisfactory, there is not sufficient pressure for them to work with your CAPS Bargaining Team to fix these issues. 

Moving Forward: The Vote. Your CAPS Bargaining Team has made it clear at the bargaining table for the past three years: you and your coworkers deserve to be valued by this Administration for the important work you perform that protects public health, the environment, agriculture, and the people of California. 

It’s imperative that you, the members, vote on whether to accept or reject all the terms of the TA. 

Voting will commence December 28, 2022, and end January 31, 2023, at 6pm. A third-party vendor, Election Buddy, will be used for this ratification vote and it will be managed completely by Election Buddy – CAPS will have no access to the vote information until the results are released. Please be sure to update your home address and personal email address with the CAPS offices (caps@capsscientists.org) to ensure you receive your ballot with enough time to vote prior to the closing of the vote. 

What happens if the membership accepts (ratifies) the contract? If a majority of those voting accept the tentative agreement, the new contract would take effect upon the conclusion of the CAPS ratification vote, and the California State Legislature and Governor’s ratification of the contract. 

Even with a ratified contract, your CAPS Bargaining Team will continue working with the Member Action Committee (MAC) and Contract Action Team (CAT) on future member actions to increase pressure on the State throughout this term, towards the next round of bargaining in 2024. The CAPS Bargaining Team would continue to work with State Scientists’ future in mind. We would continue to organize, build collective power, and fight for a fair contract both at and away from the bargaining table. 

What happens if the membership rejects (does not ratify) the contract? If a majority of those voting reject the Tentative Agreement, the terms of the new contract would not go into effect.  A “No” vote tells the State that we, the membership, do not agree with the tentative offer. 

Your CAPS Bargaining Team would then return to the bargaining table with the State in 2023. We would continue to work with the MAC and CAT on future member actions, as well as explore any and all options, including impasse, to increase pressure on the State to provide a better offer. We would continue to organize, build collective power, and fight for a fair contract both at and away from the bargaining table. 

Where can I learn more? More details on what a “yes vote” or a “no vote” would mean can be found here. Stay tuned for more information in next week’s Bargaining Update. Additionally, members of the Bargaining Team will be holding worksite meetings in the upcoming weeks – a full worksite meeting schedule can be found here. It is critical that you attend a worksite meeting to engage with the Bargaining Team in frank, open, and honest discussions. 

Looking forward. Your CAPS Bargaining Team will continue to build solidarity with other labor unions and stakeholder groups (e.g., environmental organizations), look for legislative and legal pathways to solve Unit 10’s inequity issues, and continue to build upon our collective actions for solidarity. With your help, we will continue to fight for a fair contract both at and away from the bargaining table. Regardless of the vote, the MAC and CAT will be pivotal moving forward in assisting the Bargaining Team. There is power in collective action. Please attend worksite meetings, discuss the TA with your colleagues, contact your Bargaining Team or caps@capsscientists.org with your questions, and vote together.  All of the details of the Tentative Agreement are available on our website.

Is now the time to ratify the Tentative Agreement or is now the time to leverage our power for collective actions? 

Thank you for your continued support. Your CAPS Bargaining Team(s) that secured this agreement for your vote have dedicated countless hours and persevered through difficult, passionate, and at times frustrating conversations with the Administration and its representatives with determination, rigor, and professionalism. You and your colleagues have done a great job, thus far, doing your part by participating in our action campaigns so that we could provide you the opportunity to vote on this contract. Let’s keep up the good work! As individuals, we have little power but there is strength in our unity, and we need engagement and participation from every State Scientist to grow our collective power. We look forward to hearing from you and your colleagues at upcoming worksite meetings and, please, vote! 

In Solidarity,

The CAPS Bargaining Team

Jacqueline Tkac, Chair

District II Director

Margarita Gordus,

CAPS President

Itzia Rivera, 

District III Director

David Rist, 

District IV Director

Monty Larson,

District V Director

 

August 24, 2022

Please read this message in its entirety, as it contains important updates. 

CAPS Stands Firm. Your CAPS Bargaining Team met with the State’s Team August 17, 18, 22, and until the last possible moment on August 23 to attempt to reach a full and final tentative agreement to present to the membership before the departure of the Legislature. 

The CAPS Team held firm to our Unit’s needs. The State’s final offers did not meet CAPS’ needs on compensation, did not recognize CAPS’ historical salary issues, did not provide any recognition of the uniqueness of CAPS’ long-standing issues, nor did they establish a logical salary structure. To accept the State’s offer would be to renounce CAPS’ previous statements: Unit 10’s logical historical salary relationships must be restored to what they were before disruptions occurred in 2005, 2014, and 2018.  

CAPS saw no significant movement on our top priority items since the State’s June 2022 proposal here: https://capsscientists.org/proposal-document/. The State’s proposal provided Special Salary Adjustments (SSAs) to different classification groupings in the Bargaining Unit without logical justification or transparency for their numbers. While CAPS’ total compensation package proposed by the State was similar to other recent state employee unions tentatively accepted agreements; however, simple math illustrates the wage gaps would only continue to grow — between CAPS rank-and-file scientists and their supervisors; between peer classifications within CAPS; and between CAPS rank-and-file scientists and their peers that conduct similar work in other bargaining units. Simply put, percentages attached to smaller rank-and-file scientist salaries have a smaller impact which is compounded over time and quickly leads to further inequity.  

The State’s Team declared their total offer was a great deal and a way to move forward. The CAPS Team disagrees as the offer did not begin to address any of the issues the Team feels are of utmost importance. 

Your CAPS Team made it clear: State Scientists deserve to be valued by this Administration for the important work they perform that protects public health, the environment, agriculture, and the people of California. The State simply saying that their scientists are valued does not make it so. Showing State Scientists their value requires action and not tired rhetoric.

While a total tentative agreement has not yet been reached, the CAPS Team has worked diligently to advance the language of the successor Memorandum of Understanding. The CAPS Team has tentatively agreed to 148 of approximately 155 sections that would make up the successor MOU. You can view all these Tentatively Agreed to sections here. The Team made over 120 proposals to the State throughout this round of bargaining. You can view them all here

This round has been like no other. Your CAPS Team set out to bargain for a successor MOU with the State in early 2020. Almost immediately, the world was necessarily shifted online, and negotiations were placed in an indefinite holding pattern while the lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic were implemented. When we were able to resume negotiations, both sides had to deal with the challenges of bargaining in a virtual world. Your CAPS Team began to meet in a hybrid fashion until it was evident that was no longer advisable. 

Before too long, the main bargaining table was interrupted by the Governor’s call for a furlough (personal leave) program and a reduction in state employee compensation. The CAPS Team opted to place the Personal Leave Program (PLP 2020) and other related sections in Side Letter Agreements (or amendments that adjust the existing contract, instead of coming to a new full and final agreement) in order to be able to continue bargaining for a successor (See the COVID-19 Side Letter Agreement here). These types of agreements required negotiations similar to bargaining a full and final agreement, and involved the entire CAPS Bargaining Team, but took place at a separate “table,” with a different scope of what was able to be negotiated. Unlike other unions, who simply “rolled over” their successor agreements without many changes and ended the discussions, and the process, CAPS continued to educate CalHR on the history of the pay disruptions and provided CalHR data and arguments to support addressing them. 

Then, in 2021, the restoration of our salaries occurred. Once again, instead of closing our entire MOU, the CAPS Team negotiated a Side Letter Agreement to provide the membership a compensation increase. Meanwhile, other Units came to full and final agreement (See the COVID Recovery Side Letter Agreement here). While CAPS has technically been “out of contract” for the longest, we’ve missed no worthwhile compensation increases given to any other unit, since we’ve been operating under the Evergreen Clause as laid out in the Dills Act. 

Since the COVID Side Letters, CAPS has negotiated 6 additional Side Letter Agreements: Contact Tracing Bilingual PayContact TracingTelework StipendsJoint Labor Management Committee on TeleworkDJJ Closure Retention Incentive Pay Differential, and Healthcare Facility Retention Payment. Side letters are no small matter. They require a full team from both CAPS and the Administration, and inherently require additional time for research, proposal preparation, and discussion. All of these agreements have benefitted the membership, or a portion of the membership, and have been held between and around main-table successor agreement bargaining meetings. The CAPS Team has done this to make it evident: Our focus at the main table is on the need to address our salary issues. 

The CAPS Team also made sure to highlight classifications not represented by team members at the table. Part of CAPS’ overall presentations on the Unit included a close look at the Research Scientist, Toxicologist, Hazardous Materials Specialist, and other Master’s level classifications. Recognition of specialty classes like Examiner, Public Health Microbiologist, Public Health Biologist, Chemist, Archeologist, and others followed, too. Your CAPS Team sought to show the State’s Team that CAPS’ entire unit requires attention and has needs that no other unit can claim. Your expertise as a State Scientist is sought after and needed, as the guardians of all Californians who need clean water, air, healthy wildlife and ecosystems, and safe and healthy food and livestock. Without you, California would suffer. Successive Administrations have loved extolling the virtues of State Scientists’ expertise and world-class leadership through crises, with dozens of various degrees and licenses, but thus far have been unwilling to support that admiration with proposals that restore a logical structure to the Unit’s salary composition. With your CAPS Team’s hard work, the State’s Team admitted that they had heard CAPS’ history, concerns, and proposed solutions, but the State appears to be continuing a pattern set by previous administrations of abandoning CAPS issues for “the next contract.” 

In seeking unit salary structure reform, your CAPS Team spent hours poring over CalHR’s and the State’s own manuals, guidance documents, general rules, and internal forms to piece together a logical argument, using the State’s own verbiage, to solve CAPS’ long-standing issues. The CAPS Team reviewed studies like the Women’s Earning Report, Workforce Succession Planning Documents, the CalHR Manual, and various other State reports and guidance. Your CAPS Team shared the significant amount of data that supports CAPS’ arguments contained within the State’s own documents, and from outside sources. Despite these efforts, the State’s Team could not propose a resolution to CAPS that came close to what the unit needs, despite being out of compliance with their own internal guidance documents. 

Bargaining is not over and will likely commence again after the Governor’s Budget is released in January, as the State’s economic proposals are unlikely to change until the Budget shifts. The CAPS Team plans to pick up right where bargaining has left off, with all the Tentative Agreements between the State and CAPS continuing. The pieces of CAPS’ Tentative Agreement thus far have a plethora of improvements, but a full and final Tentative Agreement could not be reached unless the State’s economic offers improved. The improved tentatively agreed-to sections:

  • Address the Alternate Range 40 issue
  • Provide State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave
  • Continue expansion to the 640-hour vacation/annual leave cap
  • Add Lactation Accommodation
  • Ensure any updates to lodging/meal reimbursement are realized by CAPS
  • Improve Moving Expenses Reimbursements
  • Improve Telework Program Language in MOU
  • Roll in Stipend and Joint Labor Management Committee on Telework 
  • Continue previously bargained-for reductions to Other Post-Employment Benefits
  • Continue drop off of additional pension contribution
  • Provide clause for future Wire Strike pay for work conducted by aircraft
  • Expand Employee-Union orientation language
  • Provide for Ergonomic Evaluations in MOU
  • Improve Continuing Education language for Veterinarians
  • Add section for Electronic Monitoring
  • Update language in MOU to be gender neutral

The CAPS Team will resume negotiations on the current sections in progress in 2023. Those include:

  • Compensation
  • Geographical Pay
  • Longevity Pay 
  • Educational Pay 
  • Differential for Industrial Hygienists
  • Methodology on Total Compensation Report

Looking Forward. More information will be released regarding the continuing campaign. The CAPS Team understands how frustrating this is. It’s up to all of us to make an impact as a union. If you’re not already involved in our ongoing contract actions, get involved and get your colleagues involved too. As individuals, we have little power but there is strength in our unity, and we need engagement and participation from every State Scientist to keep our momentum going. We’ve heard numerous times at the table that our messaging is getting through to key stakeholders at CalHR and in the Governor’s office, and we need to keep it up now and turn up the heat more than ever. The CAPS Team thanks you for your continued support throughout this bargaining round and looks forward to working together to apply more pressure on the State’s Team to provide the recognition via compensation that State Scientists deserve. Please keep an eye out for emails about upcoming actions, follow us on social media, and work with your colleagues to ensure we are making our demand for respect and pay equity heard. The struggle continues.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us. 

In Solidarity,

The CAPS Bargaining Team 

David Rist, Chair
CAPS District IV Director

Margarita Gordus
CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac
CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera
CAPS District III Director

Dr. Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS Local Rep

August 18, 2022

Highlights (see paragraphs below for more detail on these topics):

  • CAPS shared the media coverage from the Stand Up for Scientists Rally that was held to support the CAPS Bargaining Team and salary proposal
  • CAPS passed two proposals to the State – 2.1 and 2.18 
  • The State’s Team passed four proposals – 3.9, 3.14, 3.24 and 6.1
  • One section was tentatively agreed to – 19.6
  • CAPS and CalHR once again discussed processes for salary setting and from where CalHR pulls guidance 
  • The remainder of dates in August were reviewed

CAPS Team highlighted the Stand up for Scientists Rally. Last week, the CAPS Team shared photos from the Stand Up for Scientists Rally that was held on the West Steps of the State Capitol on July 29, 2022, in support of the CAPS Bargaining Team and their efforts to achieve pay equity. The CAPS Team also shared that local media outlets like the Sacramento Bee and News10 covered the event (the password is ChooseCAPS!). The CAPS Team also re-emphasized the importance of having a contract that establishes fair pay for all Unit 10 State Scientists. 

State Passed Proposals. The State’s Team passed proposals related to changing the Unit from the Nonindustrial Disability Insurance (NDI) and Enhanced Nonindustrial Disability Insurance (ENDI) Programs to the State Disability Insurance (SDI) Program – Sections 3.9, 3.14, and 3.24. The proposals come as a result of the CAPS membership voting in June to make the switch. Next, the State passed Section 6.1 – Business and Travel. The proposal keeps the CalHR Manual language CAPS proposed and allows for the benefits to be updated when the CalHR Manual is updated, as well. This will help clear up some confusion that the previous Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) language (in the 2018-2020 MOU) had, while preserving CAPS members’ ability to receive increased business and travel benefits when the CalHR Manual is updated.

Salary Conversations Continue. The CAPS Team continued asking clarifying questions regarding the information provided by CalHR’s Personnel Management Division (PMD) subject matter expert (SME) about the Unit’s classification ties. The CAPS Team asked several questions about CalHR’s authority or guidance the State’s Team uses when establishing classification ties and what processes CalHR follows when setting salaries. The State’s Team will work with their SMEs to provide a response to CAPS’ questions. 

CAPS countered the State’s economic proposals. CAPS made two proposals that contain compensation pieces – 2.1 Salaries and 2.18 High Cost Area Differentials. The CAPS Team first introduced the proposal on 2.18 – High Cost Area Differentials, stating that we’ve adjusted the name and simplified the proposal to a single differential for all the counties listed in CAPS original proposal. 

Next, the CAPS Team presented an updated compensation proposal on Section 2.1 – Salaries. The proposal used the handful of ties that the State’s PMD Unit provided in response to CAPS’ information request. This new salary proposal utilized the shared information about which classifications the State sees as “tied” and ensured that the whole unit was considered. The proposal is more straightforward than previous iterations, as the State revealed they had trouble costing non-exact numbers. The proposal would still meet the needs of Unit 10 – re-establishing historical vertical salary relationships, and ensure the remainder of rank-and-file classifications are provided adjustments to recognize and maintain their current horizontal relationships. 

One Section Tentatively Agreed To. Section 19.6 – Transportation Incentives was also tentatively agreed to last week. You can see all tentative agreements here

Schedule. As the Legislature’s recess for 2022 draws nearer, the CAPS Team is holding firm and insists that the State provide an updated compensation proposal that recognizes the critical work that State Scientists do.

If no tentative agreement is reached by Tuesday, August 23, 2022, the Teams will adjourn and return to the table to resume discussions either in the fall or early next year. Without a new agreement, the current CAPS 2018-2020 MOU will remain in effect via the so-called “Evergreen Clause” from the Dills Act (Government Code Section 3517.8).

In Solidarity, 

Your CAPS Bargaining Team

David Rist, Bargaining Chair

Margarita Gordus, CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia, CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac, CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera, CAPS District III Director

Dr. Maureen Lee-Dutra, CAPS Local Rep

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS!

August 4, 2022

Highlights (see paragraphs below for more detail on these topics):

  • CAPS shared new member letters, an additional article about the importance of recruiting and retaining State Scientists and a podcast that highlighted the article.
  • CAPS passed two proposals to the State – 2.xx and 6.1
  • One section was tentatively agreed to: 6.2
  • CalHR brought in Subject Matter Experts on internal classification ties and State Disability Insurance
  • Continued discussions on economic items
  • Future dates scheduled

Member Letters Passed. Last week, the CAPS Team shared three member letters with the State. The first letter is one that was passed previously, updated with current inflation figures and now signed by 350 State Scientists. The letter calls for a significantly better compensation proposal from the State. Next, the Team shared a letter from a Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in the Habitat Conservation program. The member noted that they have been in state service for 20 years and had hoped to complete their career with CDFW, but is currently keeping an open mind for other job opportunities in order to obtain a competitive salary. The third letter, from an Environmental Scientist in the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s 401 Water Quality Certification Unit, notes that their work provides resources that are critical to the State. However, the work that scientists do in the 401 Unit are compensated at 40% less than engineers doing similar work. The member concludes by asking for a viable career for scientific professionals. You can view all the letters passed here: https://capsscientists.org/support-bargaining/.

The CAPS Team Reported on Additional News Articles. On July 25, 2022, CalMatters published an article titled “Stress relief or toxic exposure? State cautions ‘rage rooms’ may deliver unwanted release“. It reports on rage rooms which are growing in popularity, and the hazardous impacts to the people participating, the owners and their staff, and the environment. CalMatters interviewed scientists who are responsible for inspecting facilities that generate or handle E-waste. The program these scientists work under is so understaffed that these scientists were able to inspect one, and only one, rage room in 2019. During that inspection, it was clear that this industry warrants regulation by State Scientists. So now, with an understaffed program, the public is being exposed to potentially hazardous materials in conjunction with an industry segment that isn’t being regulated. Without the ability to attract scientists to the state with competitive compensation, industries like this – that seem innocent enough – will wreak havoc on Californians who are unknowingly exposed.

The CAPS Team additionally shared the podcast hosted by Bill Handel, https://www.iheart.com/podcast/139-the-bill-handel-show-25012129/episode/the-bill-handel-show-7a-99762200/ that covered information released in the CalMatters article and called for State Scientists to be paid equitably. The show focuses on State Scientists’ issues from 26 minutes and 30 seconds into his show, until 35 minutes and 16 seconds.

Continued Discussion with CalHR and a Personnel Management Division SME. The State continued discussions on the compensation proposals  and answered some lingering questions that your CAPS Team presented during previous meetings. CAPS requested that a Subject Matter Expert (SME) be present to explain the State’s perspective on the groupings that CAPS presented in our May 24 and June 10 proposals. In those proposals, the CAPS Team provided groups of classifications that we believe have similar minimum qualifications, levels of responsibility, and expertise. While CAPS continues to contend that the structure of the Unit needs to be restored to a logical framework, CAPS is willing to review what the State has to share. During the resulting discussion, the CAPS Team pointed out flaws with CalHR’s existing data and contends that the Administration should revamp their collection in order to ensure that what is collected is specific to the Unit that is at the table.

Because of the information the CAPS Team brought forward and the questions we have been asking at the table, CalHR is willing to explore capturing more meaningful data moving forward. Following the State’s SME’s presentation, the CAPS Team submitted an official information request for more in-depth information about what the SME had shared, including which classifications the State believes are tied to one another.

The CAPS Team reiterated that the Union is looking to restore our Unit’s historical logical salary structure that provides compensation recognizing minimum qualifications, level of responsibility, and expertise; emphasizing how it is a benefit to the State to ensure our Unit’s historical, logical structure is restored. Your CAPS Team continues to stand firm in this message to the State.

Subject Matter Expert from CalHR on State Disability Insurance. The CAPS Team also invited additional SMEs from the State to walk through a presentation on State Disability Insurance (SDI) and how the State runs the program. These continued discussions on SDI are to ensure that any negotiated change results in the best benefit for members, based on the membership vote from June 29, 2022.

CAPS Team Passed Proposals. Two proposals were passed by the CAPS Team last week: 2.xx – Emergency Response Bonus Pay and 6.1 – Business and Travel. The first proposal (2.xx) was passed in order to obtain additional recognition for State Scientists who were ineligible to obtain overtime compensation (Work Week Group E scientists) during the pandemic when they were quintessential in performing analysis and testing to help mitigate the spread. You can view all of CAPS’ proposals passed this round of Bargaining here.

Tentative Agreements Made. The Teams Tentatively Agreed (TA’d) to Section 6.2 – Relocation Expenses. You can view the TA Packets here.

August Dates. The CAPS Team will meet with the State’s Team in August to continue efforts to work toward a successor agreement before the Legislature adjourns for the year.

Member Actions. Stay tuned for more member actions to support your CAPS Bargaining Team. Your actions are truly making a difference. Keep up the heat!

Highlights (see paragraphs below for more detail on these topics):

  • The CAPS Team passed a counter proposal to the State’s salary proposal
  • The CAPS Team asked clarifying questions on portions of the State’s proposals 
  • The CAPS Team tentatively agreed to Section 7.7
  • The CAPS Team shared additional member letters and other forms of member noise with the State’s Team
  • CAPS Call to Action:
    • Days of Action
    • Show up at our July 29 rally!
    • CAPS needs your input, Letters!

CAPS’ Presentation and Counter. The CAPS Team began this week’s bargaining session by reviewing the State’s compensation proposal. The CAPS Team questioned how the state’s proposal would address CAPS’ issues of recruitment, retention, and ability to fulfill missions that the Team has emphasized during this round of bargaining. The CAPS Team also made a presentation that recapped the absolutely appalling “wage growth exercise” that was shared by the State’s Team last week but placed the numbers in real context, you can see this presentation here. Do the basic math! When you start at a lower overall compensation, even if your overall percentage increase appears larger – it is still less money, and when supervisors are included in data that reflects recruitment and retention, the data is skewed. The CAPS Team concluded with a presentation prompting the State to reflect on their own proposal and identify what kinds of outcomes it would produce. In contrast, the CAPS Team articulated what outcomes the CAPS Salary proposals would produce, a copy of this presentation is available here.

Finally, the CAPS Team passed another salary proposal that would address the long-standing historical salary issues for the Unit. The proposal would restore the vertical relationships that were disrupted in 2014 and 2018, and it would not create additional in-unit disruptions when considering horizontal relationships. The proposal is founded in historical series relationships, it abides by internal state regulations, and it provides a compensation structure that recognizes the minimum qualifications, level of responsibility and expertise required of the professional scientific classifications within Unit 10. You can see the proposal that CAPS passed here.

Clarifying the State’s Proposals. The CAPS Team requested a clarification of the information within the 2.9 – AR 40 proposal from the State. The intent of the language was confirmed to the CAPS Team understanding. However, the language could use some improvement for ease of interpretation should the language be agreed to. The CAPS Team also clarified the proposal on 19.6 – Transportation Incentives. The State’s proposal goes beyond what the CAPS Team proposed, but the State clarified that all units would be brought up similarly. 

Section tentatively agreed to. The CAPS Team tentatively agreed to Section 7.7 – Work Week Group Definitions. The agreed-to language would address some of the issues that have persisted around assignment to Incident Command Structures and the change between Work Week Group E and 2 changes. You can view all of CAPS’ tentatively agreed to sections here.

Passed Member Letters. The CAPS Team shared two member letters with the State’s Team last week. The first letter, from an Environmental Scientist at the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, wrote to CalHR and asked whether the State values scientific work less than engineering work, and if so if it was at a rate of 27% less? Next, a letter from a DTSC member in Southern California who questioned how many more letters, articles, rallies, presentations from CAPS and its members would the state need to appropriately align state scientists’ salaries? The member called for this to be the final letter that would need be submitted in order to see the change that is so overdue. You can view these and all member letters that have been submitted here.

Noise Being Made. The CAPS Team shared member actions that are taking place, demonstrating State Scientists support for the Bargaining Team and that we are demanding pay equity, now. The CAPS Team also shared relevant comments from a Reddit post, which also exemplifies that State Scientists, as well as other California State workers will not tolerate further mistreatment from CalHR.

People power must be visible to have an impact – we need every State Scientist to participate in CAPS Actions! YOU can show Governor Newsom and his Administration that you support our Bargaining Team’s efforts at the bargaining table, demand pay equity and NOW is the time to #ValueScientists! Please read the weekly Call to Action emails on Wednesdays to get involved!

Get your voice heard at the table. Continue writing letters to CalHR and submitting them to the CAPS Team (caps@capsscientists.org) for consideration. Find more information about this request here. 

In Solidarity,

David Rist, Chair
CAPS District IV Director

Margarita Gordus
CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac
CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera
CAPS District III Director

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS Local Rep

June 24, 2022

Highlights (see paragraphs below for more detail on these topics):

  • The CAPS Team passed a counter proposal to the State’s salary proposal
  • The CAPS Team asked clarifying questions on portions of the State’s proposals 
  • The CAPS Team tentatively agreed to Section 7.7
  • The CAPS Team shared additional member letters and other forms of member noise with the State’s Team
  • CAPS Call to Action:
    • Days of Action
    • Show up at our July 29 rally!
    • CAPS needs your input, Letters!

CAPS’ Presentation and Counter. The CAPS Team began this week’s bargaining session by reviewing the State’s compensation proposal. The CAPS Team questioned how the state’s proposal would address CAPS’ issues of recruitment, retention, and ability to fulfill missions that the Team has emphasized during this round of bargaining. The CAPS Team also made a presentation that recapped the absolutely appalling “wage growth exercise” that was shared by the State’s Team last week but placed the numbers in real context, you can see this presentation here. Do the basic math! When you start at a lower overall compensation, even if your overall percentage increase appears larger – it is still less money, and when supervisors are included in data that reflects recruitment and retention, the data is skewed. The CAPS Team concluded with a presentation prompting the State to reflect on their own proposal and identify what kinds of outcomes it would produce. In contrast, the CAPS Team articulated what outcomes the CAPS Salary proposals would produce, a copy of this presentation is available here.

Finally, the CAPS Team passed another salary proposal that would address the long-standing historical salary issues for the Unit. The proposal would restore the vertical relationships that were disrupted in 2014 and 2018, and it would not create additional in-unit disruptions when considering horizontal relationships. The proposal is founded in historical series relationships, it abides by internal state regulations, and it provides a compensation structure that recognizes the minimum qualifications, level of responsibility and expertise required of the professional scientific classifications within Unit 10. You can see the proposal that CAPS passed here.

Clarifying the State’s Proposals. The CAPS Team requested a clarification of the information within the 2.9 – AR 40 proposal from the State. The intent of the language was confirmed to the CAPS Team understanding. However, the language could use some improvement for ease of interpretation should the language be agreed to. The CAPS Team also clarified the proposal on 19.6 – Transportation Incentives. The State’s proposal goes beyond what the CAPS Team proposed, but the State clarified that all units would be brought up similarly. 

Section tentatively agreed to. The CAPS Team tentatively agreed to Section 7.7 – Work Week Group Definitions. The agreed-to language would address some of the issues that have persisted around assignment to Incident Command Structures and the change between Work Week Group E and 2 changes. You can view all of CAPS’ tentatively agreed to sections here.

Passed Member Letters. The CAPS Team shared two member letters with the State’s Team last week. The first letter, from an Environmental Scientist at the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, wrote to CalHR and asked whether the State values scientific work less than engineering work, and if so if it was at a rate of 27% less? Next, a letter from a DTSC member in Southern California who questioned how many more letters, articles, rallies, presentations from CAPS and its members would the state need to appropriately align state scientists’ salaries? The member called for this to be the final letter that would need be submitted in order to see the change that is so overdue. You can view these and all member letters that have been submitted here.

Noise Being Made. The CAPS Team shared member actions that are taking place, demonstrating State Scientists support for the Bargaining Team and that we are demanding pay equity, now. The CAPS Team also shared relevant comments from a Reddit post, which also exemplifies that State Scientists, as well as other California State workers will not tolerate further mistreatment from CalHR.

People power must be visible to have an impact – we need every State Scientist to participate in CAPS Actions! YOU can show Governor Newsom and his Administration that you support our Bargaining Team’s efforts at the bargaining table, demand pay equity and NOW is the time to #ValueScientists! Please read the weekly Call to Action emails on Wednesdays to get involved!

Get your voice heard at the table. Continue writing letters to CalHR and submitting them to the CAPS Team (caps@capsscientists.org) for consideration. Find more information about this request here. 

In Solidarity,

David Rist, Chair
CAPS District IV Director

Margarita Gordus
CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac
CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera
CAPS District III Director

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS Local Rep

June 23, 2022

Highlights (see paragraphs below for more detail on these topics):

  • The CAPS Team passed a counter proposal to the State’s salary proposal
  • The CAPS Team asked clarifying questions on portions of the State’s proposals 
  • The CAPS Team tentatively agreed to Section 7.7
  • The CAPS Team shared additional member letters and other forms of member noise with the State’s Team
  • CAPS Call to Action:
    • Days of Action
    • Show up at our July 29 rally!
    • CAPS needs your input, Letters!

CAPS’ Presentation and Counter. The CAPS Team began this week’s bargaining session by reviewing the State’s compensation proposal. The CAPS Team questioned how the state’s proposal would address CAPS’ issues of recruitment, retention, and ability to fulfill missions that the Team has emphasized during this round of bargaining. The CAPS Team also made a presentation that recapped the absolutely appalling “wage growth exercise” that was shared by the State’s Team last week but placed the numbers in real context, you can see this presentation here. Do the basic math! When you start at a lower overall compensation, even if your overall percentage increase appears larger – it is still less money, and when supervisors are included in data that reflects recruitment and retention, the data is skewed. The CAPS Team concluded with a presentation prompting the State to reflect on their own proposal and identify what kinds of outcomes it would produce. In contrast, the CAPS Team articulated what outcomes the CAPS Salary proposals would produce, a copy of this presentation is available here.

Finally, the CAPS Team passed another salary proposal that would address the long-standing historical salary issues for the Unit. The proposal would restore the vertical relationships that were disrupted in 2014 and 2018, and it would not create additional in-unit disruptions when considering horizontal relationships. The proposal is founded in historical series relationships, it abides by internal state regulations, and it provides a compensation structure that recognizes the minimum qualifications, level of responsibility and expertise required of the professional scientific classifications within Unit 10. You can see the proposal that CAPS passed here.

Clarifying the State’s Proposals. The CAPS Team requested a clarification of the information within the 2.9 – AR 40 proposal from the State. The intent of the language was confirmed to the CAPS Team understanding. However, the language could use some improvement for ease of interpretation should the language be agreed to. The CAPS Team also clarified the proposal on 19.6 – Transportation Incentives. The State’s proposal goes beyond what the CAPS Team proposed, but the State clarified that all units would be brought up similarly. 

Section tentatively agreed to. The CAPS Team tentatively agreed to Section 7.7 – Work Week Group Definitions. The agreed-to language would address some of the issues that have persisted around assignment to Incident Command Structures and the change between Work Week Group E and 2 changes. You can view all of CAPS’ tentatively agreed to sections here.

Passed Member Letters. The CAPS Team shared two member letters with the State’s Team last week. The first letter, from an Environmental Scientist at the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, wrote to CalHR and asked whether the State values scientific work less than engineering work, and if so if it was at a rate of 27% less? Next, a letter from a DTSC member in Southern California who questioned how many more letters, articles, rallies, presentations from CAPS and its members would the state need to appropriately align state scientists’ salaries? The member called for this to be the final letter that would need be submitted in order to see the change that is so overdue. You can view these and all member letters that have been submitted here.

Noise Being Made. The CAPS Team shared member actions that are taking place, demonstrating State Scientists support for the Bargaining Team and that we are demanding pay equity, now. The CAPS Team also shared relevant comments from a Reddit post, which also exemplifies that State Scientists, as well as other California State workers will not tolerate further mistreatment from CalHR.

People power must be visible to have an impact – we need every State Scientist to participate in CAPS Actions! YOU can show Governor Newsom and his Administration that you support our Bargaining Team’s efforts at the bargaining table, demand pay equity and NOW is the time to #ValueScientists! Please read the weekly Call to Action emails on Wednesdays to get involved!

Get your voice heard at the table. Continue writing letters to CalHR and submitting them to the CAPS Team (caps@capsscientists.org) for consideration. Find more information about this request here. 

In Solidarity,

David Rist, Chair
CAPS District IV Director

Margarita Gordus
CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac
CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera
CAPS District III Director

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS Local Rep

June 16, 2022

Highlights (see paragraphs below for more detail on these topics):

  • The State’s Team passed a handful of economic proposals, including a salary proposal 
  • The CAPS Team made another compelling presentation on the important work State Scientists do, this time in relation to pollution
  • The CAPS Team Passed a Proposal
  • The CAPS Team shared additional member letters with the State’s Team
  • CAPS Call to Action:
    • CAPS needs your input, Letters!
    • Day of Action: June 22!
    • Show up at our July 29 rally!

State Passed Proposals. The State’s Team finally responded with their own economic proposals. Prior to passing their proposals, a subject matter expert (SME) from the Financial Management Division at CalHR gave a presentation that focused on the Unit 10 vacancy rates, turnover rates, and wage increases in comparison to inflation and wage increases with other employers since 2012. The CAPS Team asked clarifying questions like whether they track open positions that are re-posted, and if they considered the need to close salary lags in Unit 10 when preparing their presentation. The SME concluded that the State’s only purpose for the exercise was to illustrate wage growth, but their data was clearly biased to only recognize that past increases that the past CAPS Teams have negotiated are sufficient. After the presentation, the State presented their economic proposals. Overall, the State has summarily ignored and dismissed the unique pay inequity and other issues facing Unit 10 without any justification.

The State’s proposals are limited and there is still more work to do before we can reach an agreement. Their proposals included a limited Geographic Pay differential (new section), nominal General Salary Increases and Special Salary Adjustments – or increases that apply only to a segment of the Unit, for purposes defined in the language (Section 2.1), AR 40 adjustment for Hazardous Materials Specialists (Section 2.9), adjustment to the language for the Educational Pay differential (Section 2.17), a new differential for the Department of Industrial Relations (new section), and an increase for transportation incentives (Section 2.19). The State Team’s proposal would not address the salary inequities facing State Scientists. See our summary of the State’s counter proposals here: https://capsscientists.org/proposal-document/. The CAPS Team will be reviewing the State’s proposals in-depth and are currently developing counter proposals for next week. The Bargaining Team needs YOUR support!

Avoiding Collapse – Pollution. Prior to receiving the State’s proposals, the CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) delivered another Avoiding Collapse presentation, this time on pollution and its prevalence in our everyday lives, with a focus on microplastics. The presentation made the connections between the previous five Avoiding Collapse presentations and tied together how without substantial change now, led by science, the rate of pollution will exponentially increase into the future and continue to negatively impact the environment and lives of all Californians. The presentation concluded that California is an environmental leader in environmental protection, and yet questioned how could the State lead without recognizing state scientists. You can view the presentation here: https://capsscientists.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Avoiding-Collapse-Pollution-2.pdf.

CAPS Proposal. The CAPS Team passed a proposal for Section 2.10 – Recruitment and Retention Differentials, that would expand the list of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities that receive the $2,600 incentive. You can view all of CAPS’ proposals here: https://capsscientists.org/bargaining/past-proposals/.

Passed Member Letters. The CAPS Team shared two member letters with the State’s Team this week. The first letter was from an interested outside party – a consulting group – wrote in and asked the State how it could continue to pay State Scientists less than their engineering counterparts, stating that it is wholly unfair and a morale killer. The second letter was from a recently retired State Scientist – who had previously been in the Geologist series – who noted that even though they were paid less than their engineering counterparts, they were in charge as the team and project leader. Finally, a letter from a Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) at the Department of Toxic Substances Control who contends that the State of California has heard from thousands of voices who are all advocating for the same thing – addressing the salary issues for Unit 10 state scientists. You can view these and all member letters that have been submitted here: https://capsscientists.org/support-bargaining/.  

CALLS to ACTION. The CAPS Team will continue to work towards a full tentative agreement to present to the membership that will illustrate that this Administration values state scientists and the important work they do, but they also need to hear from YOU! 

YOUR help is needed for a DAY OF ACTION that begins on June 22, 2022 and will be recurring, every Wednesday, moving forward until our CAPS Team can reach a successor agreement. On June 22, 2022 our first action where you can stand in solidarity with your colleagues will be to email and call the Governor and other key decision-makers to ask them to support State Scientists. We need every State Scientist to participate in this action, so we can FILL THEIR INBOXES and demonstrate that we are not going to accept an unfair contract. Make this Governor stays true to his words – hear State Scientists and their supporters – VALUE YOUR SCIENTISTS. 

SHOW UP FRIDAY, JULY 29. Together, we will show the Administration that State Scientists deserve and DEMAND a Fair Contract. CAPS is holding a rally for this contract in-person on Friday, July 29, 2022, on the West Side of the State Capitol. More details will be released soon, but we’d love to see you, your colleagues, your friends and family there!  Please note, attendance will need to be on your own personal time, so get your leave request in early!

People power must be visible to have an impact – we need every State Scientist to show up! YOU can show Governor Newsom and his administration that you support our Bargaining Team’s efforts at the bargaining table, demand pay equity and NOW is the time to #ValueScientists! 

Get your voice heard at the table. Continue writing letters to CalHR and submitting them to the CAPS Team (caps@capsscientists.org) for consideration. Find more information about this request here. 

In Solidarity,

David Rist, Chair
CAPS District IV Director

Margarita Gordus
CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac
CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera
CAPS District III Director

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS Local Rep

June 2, 2022

Highlights (see paragraphs below for more detail on these topics):

  • The CAPS Team:
    • Delivered another “Avoiding Collapse” presentation
    • Provided an update on member letters that have been submitted
      • Your Bargaining Team urgently needs your support and input – continue writing letters letting the State know that State Scientists demand and deserve pay equity, NOW!
    • Shared a recent blog post written by freelance author Kate Karpilow: “State Scientists Deserve Pay Equity
      • Post this on your social media accounts with the hashtag #ValueScientists to spread the word – State Scientists deserve pay equity, now!
  • Passed an additional proposal and received a counter from the State
  • Is still waiting on a response to CAPS’ Salary Proposal
  • CAPS Call to Action:
    • SAVE THE DATE: Future Action – Friday, July 29th on the West Side of the State Capitol
    • As a show of unity, show up with your colleagues, your friends, and your family to let Governor Newsom know that you support your Bargaining Team and now is the time to #ValueScientists!
  • Looking Forward: Discussions at the Bargaining Table Resume in June. Stay Tuned. 

Avoiding Collapse – Population Growth and Consumption Patterns. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) delivered a presentation on how unchecked human population growth leads to overconsumption and how both factors may accelerate ecological collapse. The presentation hit home how California and the world are on a fast-track to destruction, mainly, at the hands of humans, and that State Scientists are instrumental in preventing further destruction. It also stressed that State Scientists and their programs must be competitively compensated and fully funded, now, to attract and retain the scientific talent the state requires. You can view the presentation here.

Member Letters Passed. The CAPS Team shared two member letters with the State’s Team last week. One from a Senior Insect Biosystematist at CDFA, who detailed the work they do that links back to the point the CAPS Team has been trying to make for the last several months – State Scientists help California avoid collapse by protecting biodiversity and California’s agricultural, economic and environmental interests. The member detailed their classification’s unique expertise and value to the State, and explained how many Biosystematists are trying to promote outside of their classification to Supervisory positions in order to seek a more sustainable salary, but that the value of having individuals in their classification will be lost as they promote out of their unique classification. The second letter shared was from a group of State Scientists at the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. The members detailed how a State Scientists’ Salary puts them in a position where they struggle to purchase, or even rent, a home local to their work and that in order to afford a home at the median  price for a single-family home in California, one would need to earn nearly double the average gross salary of an Environmental Scientist. 

The Bargaining Team needs YOU to write letters to CalHR, and submit them to CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) to be reviewed and shared with CalHR. The Bargaining Team needs your support now more than ever. Need some inspiration or ideas on what to include in your letter? See letters previously written by members and shared at the Bargaining Table here

Blog Post Supporting Pay Equity for State Scientists Shared. The CAPS Team additionally shared the blog post titled “State Scientists Deserve Pay Equity,” by freelance author Kate Karpilow. The piece gave an excellent overview of the history behind our pay equity issues and why State Scientists should be paid equitably to their peers. Please share this blog post on your social media platforms with the hashtag #ValueScientists to help spread awareness. Tag the Governor, the First Partner, and CalHR so they continue to be reminded that State Scientists demand and deserve pay equity – NOW.

Proposal Passed. During each round of negotiations, all sections of the CAPS MOU must be reviewed and re-negotiated. This past week, the CAPS Team passed a proposal for CAPS MOU, Section 6.2 – Moving Expenses, detailing in which cases the default government codes applying to Rank-and-File state scientists should be used, and when the government codes applying to so-called “excluded employees” should be used as they pertain to employees moving for work. You can view all of CAPS’ proposals here. The password is ChooseCAPS! – it is case-sensitive.

State Passed a Proposal. The State passed a counter proposal on Section 6.1 – Business and Travel Expenses. The CAPS Team took the proposal under advisement and will be reviewing it in-depth.  

No Salary Proposal Response, Yet. The CAPS Team had been told for several weeks that they would likely have a response to CAPS’ most recent Salary Proposal last week. Unfortunately, the State did not provide a response but hoped they would be ready to discuss the proposal next time we meet. The CAPS Team remains ready to continue discussions on salaries. 

CAPS CALL TO ACTION: SAVE THE DATE FRIDAY, JULY 29, 2022!

CAPS is planning to hold a rally for this contract in-person on Friday, July 29, 2022, on the West Side of the State Capitol. More details will be released soon, but we’d love to see you, your colleagues, your friends, and your family there! Please note, attendance will need to be on your own personal time, so get your leave request in early! Together we can show Governor Newsom and his administration that we support our Bargaining Team’s efforts at the Bargaining Table, we demand pay equity, and NOW is the time to #ValueScientists!

Future Meetings Planned. The State’s Team has expressed a desire to reach a tentative agreement prior to the end of the fiscal year. The CAPS Team remains ready to meet but knows that in order to reach a tentative agreement the top priority – salaries – must be addressed. The Teams have identified several tentative meeting dates in June, July and August to allow ample time to reach agreement before the Legislature ends its current session at the end of August. 

While CAPS wants to reach agreement, we will not be pressured into a deal that the membership is not going to support.

In Solidarity,

David Rist, Chair
CAPS District IV Director

Margarita Gordus
CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac
CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera
CAPS District III Director

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS Local Rep

May 19, 2022

Highlights (see below for more detail on each topic):

  • Last week at the Bargaining Table with CalHR:
    • CAPS informed the State’s Team about the Petition Delivery Event held May 6, 2022
      • CAPS was informed that staffers at the Governor’s Office and the Department of Finance sent photos of the event to CalHR
    • Both Teams Passed Proposals
    • The CAPS Salary Proposal is still being reviewed by the State
  • CAPS Call to Action: Support Your Bargaining Team!
    • The Bargaining Team urgently needs your support and your input now, Letters! Together, we can make our message loud and clear: State Scientists demand and deserve pay equity, now!
  • Looking Forward: Discussions at the Bargaining Table Resume Later This Month. Stay Tuned.

CAPS Reported on the Petition Delivery Event. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) informed CalHR (State’s Team) that State Scientists had met in downtown Sacramento on May 6, 2022, and marched agency to agency to deliver larger-than-life petitions to agency secretaries and Governor Newsom. The CAPS Team also shared photos of the event with the State’s Team. The news was no shocking revelation to the State’s Team, who reported receiving photos of the rallying State Scientists directly from staffers at the Governor’s Office and the Department of Finance, among other agencies. More photos are available on CAPS’ Instagram and Twitter pages. Did you join the event? Share your photos from the event on social media and tag @capsscientists, or email photos to caps@capsscientists.org.

CAPS Passed Proposal. The CAPS Team passed a proposal for Section 7.7, Work Week Definitions and Compensation. You can view all of CAPS’ proposals passed this round of Bargaining here. (The password is ChooseCAPS! – it is case-sensitive.)

State Passed Proposals. The State’s Team passed several proposals, including sections 3.21, No Mandated Reduction in Work Hours, 7.7 Work Week Definitions and Compensation, and 13.6 Supersession.

CAPS Salary Proposal Still Under Review. The State’s Team yet again reported that CAPS’ most recent Salary Proposal is still under review and that they should be ready to discuss the proposal at the Teams’ next meeting in late May. Please do not hesitate to reach out to CAPS if you have any questions about CAPS salary proposal, or the salary proposal explanatory guide.

CAPS Call to Action: Make Some Noise and Get Your Voices Heard! The CAPS Team requests that members continue to write letters to this Administration, detailing how Unit 10’s salary issues have impacted your quality of life, your loved ones, your morale, your career, your programs, and your agency’s ability to meet its missions. These letters give you the opportunity to get involved at the Bargaining Table and are an opportunity for your voice to be heard directly by the State’s Team.

Together, we can make our message loud and clear: State Scientists demand and deserve fair pay! The Bargaining Team needs YOU to write letters to CalHR, and submit them to CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) to be reviewed and shared with CalHR. The Bargaining Team needs your support now more than ever.

Need some inspiration or ideas on what to include in your letter? See letters previously written by members and shared at the Bargaining Table here. If you have any questions about Unit 10’s salary issues or our long history working towards pay equity, please contact CAPS or your local CAPS leader.

Find more information about this request here.

Need a CAPS T-shirt? We’ve recently restocked – you can order one from the CAPS website here.

Looking Forward. The CAPS Bargaining Team plans to meet with the State’s Team later this month. The next presentation, continuing our series on “Avoiding Collapse”, will focus on human population growth and consumption patterns, and how the work of State Scientists helps ensure the sustainability of California’s resources amid increased demand. The presentation will also communicate why it’s critical for the State to provide competitive salaries to attract and retain the best scientific talent available.

Other News of Note. The May 6, 2022 Petition Delivery Event was covered by Univision in Sacramento, and picked up by a local independent Journalist, Kate Karpilow, and shared on her blog. You can read her take on State Scientists’ plight here.

In Solidarity,

David Rist, Chair
CAPS District IV Director

Margarita Gordus
CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac
CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera
CAPS District III Director

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS Local Rep

April 21, 2022

Bargaining Team Met with CalHR. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR (State’s Team), to continue bargaining over the terms of a potential successor MOU. The Teams discussed some outstanding sections, and the CAPS Team gave another presentation relating back to the “Avoiding Collapse” presentation from early 2022.

Avoiding Collapse – Diversity Loss. The CAPS Team presented to the State’s Team on how California will soon be experiencing wholesale loss of diverse ecosystems as a result of climate change, and how the State must recruit and retain the best and brightest scientists in order to combat these negative effects. The presentation hit home how climate change is already impacting the biodiversity of California and how that is already and will continue to cause untold economic and human health consequences. It also stressed that State Scientists and their programs must be competitively compensated and fully funded to attract and retain a highly qualified scientific workforce. You can view the presentation here.

CAPS Team Passed Proposals. The CAPS Team passed a proposal to the State’s Team, designed to ensure State Scientist Veterinarians be compensated for providing round-the-clock care to California’s wildlife. The new proposal is Section 7.XX – On-Call/Standby – Veterinarians. An additional proposal for a new section, 19.13 – Data Collection, was also passed. You can view all of CAPS’ proposals passed this round of Bargaining here.

State’s Team Passed Proposals. The State’s Team passed proposals on CAPS MOU, Sections 2.4, Bilingual Differential Pay; and 3.23 Personal Leave Program – 2020; 7.7 Work Week Group Definitions; and 7.10 Telework/Telecommute. The State’s Team also noted that the CAPS Team’s salary proposal is under review, and they did not expect to be ready to discuss the proposal until the teams reconvene in May.

Teams Tentatively Agreed to Several Sections. The Teams Tentatively Agreed (TA’d) to several sections of the successor MOU, including 2.4 Bilingual Differential Pay; 3.23, Personal Leave Program – 2020; and 7.10 Telecommute/Telework Program. You can view all of CAPS’ tentatively agreed to (TA’d) sections here.

CAPS Needs Your Support Delivering Petitions. The Member Action Committee (MAC) will be delivering several larger-than-life petitions on Friday, May 6, 2022 in Downtown Sacramento and is inviting you to participate. The petitions will be delivered to Governor Gavin Newsom; California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) Secretary Jared Blumenfeld; California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) Secretary Wade Crowfoot; California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross; and California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Mark Ghaly. The first three petitions were signed, enlarged, and printed, some time ago, but the last two need more signatures. The MAC encourages all members to sign, and to share the petitions far and wide for signatures before they, too, are enlarged, printed, and delivered. The delivery will take place on Friday, May 6, 2022 in Downtown Sacramento, and participating members should meet at Cesar Chavez Plaza (910 I Street, Sacramento) at 11am. All Rank and File members are invited to attend in support of CAPS Bargaining. Those intending to come should RSVP here ahead of the event. Please note, attendance will need to be on your own personal time, so get your leave request in early!

Looking Forward. The CAPS Bargaining Team plans to meet with the State’s Team once more in April. The next presentation, continuing our series related to the original “Avoiding Collapse” presentation will focus on human population growth and consumption patterns, and how the work of State Scientists helps ensure the sustainability of California’s resources amid increased demand. The presentation will also communicate why it’s critical for the State to provide competitive salaries to attract and retain the best scientific talent available.

In Solidarity, 

David Rist, Chair
CAPS District IV Director

Margarita Gordus
CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac
CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera
CAPS District III Director

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS Local Rep

 

April 5, 2021

Bargaining Team Met with CalHR. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR (State’s Team) to continue bargaining for a successor MOU. The Teams discussed some outstanding sections and the CAPS Team gave another presentation relating to the “Avoiding Collapse” presentation from early 2022. The CAPS Team also made a presentation on Salaries and passed a proposal for section 2.1-Salaries, for the successor MOU. 

Avoiding Collapse – Extinction. The first presentation the CAPS Team gave focused on the acceleration of global extinction rates and loss of biodiversity. The presentation tied the efforts to slow and reverse the course of another mass extinction event to the work of State Scientists. The presentation hit home that State Scientists and their programs must be competitively compensated and fully funded to attract and retain the scientists the state needs to protect our biodiversity and the ecosystem services provided by biodiversity. You can view the presentation here.

CAPS’ Salary Presentation. CAPS has made many different salary presentations throughout this round of bargaining. Each presentation thus far has been historically informed and educational for the State’s Team. The CAPS Team has continued to focus on identifying the Unit 10 salary structure problems and the factors outside of Unit 10 that caused the disruptions. Had the necessary adjustments been made to salary structures over time as disruptions occurred, the Unit 10 salary structure would reward extensive minimum qualifications, level of responsibility, and expertise. This presentation recapped this information and aligned it with the CAPS Team’s other “Avoiding Collapse” presentations. 

Internal and external voices were emphasized in the presentation – the countless CAPS members, the media, internal Agency Secretaries, and various iterations of CalHR’s own Total Compensation reports and Legislative Analyst’s Office reports which recognize the need to correct these structural problems for Unit 10. The presentation clearly identified the direct benefits the State would experience by fixing the unit-wide salary inequities. These direct benefits include improving morale and productivity, enabling the attraction and retention of qualified State Scientists, ensuring compliance with CalHR’s own internal salary relationship guidance, strengthening internal and external relationships, proclaiming respect and value for state scientists and, among others, re-establishing California as an environmental, agricultural, and public health leader to combat the existential threats to society. The CAPS Team also identified a course of action to reach these goals. This presentation opened by quoting a Twitter post from Governor Newsom, and questioned whether California would remain a leader by taking action now to deal with the existential threats and avoid collapse of our life support systems by supporting state scientists and their programs. You can view the presentation here.

CAPS’ Salary Proposal. CAPS passed a comprehensive, in-depth, conceptual proposal to the State’s Team following the Salary Presentation. The CAPS Team strongly emphasized making necessary adjustments to ensure the Unit 10 salary structure has a logical merit-based principle behind it that attracts and retains State Scientists who are integral in supporting the Governor and his plans for environmental, agricultural, public health and energy progress. This is not solely about compensating State Scientists to equitable levels – this is about how California is planning for its future.

CAPS recommends that members use this explanatory guide while reading through the proposal, because it is extremely thorough (and written purposefully to align with some bargaining strategy).

The CAPS Team intentionally made this proposal without clear salary numbers because the solution proposed is based in re-establishing historical salary differences between the rank-and-file and their supervisors, and then adjusting the remaining rank-and-file classifications based upon their required education, level of responsibility, and experience.

CAPS Team Passed an Additional Proposal. The CAPS Team passed another counter-proposal on Section 7.10, Telecommute/Telework Program. You can view all of CAPS’ proposals passed this round of Bargaining here

State Passed Proposals. The State’s Team also passed proposals on Sections: 3.1, Vacation; and 3.13, Annual Leave Program. The State had also previously passed an update to Section 6.2, Moving Expenses and they brought a Subject Matter Expert from CalHR to the meeting to explain the proposal. 

We Need Your Input and Support. Your input and support is vital to make clear to the State why State Scientists are essential for California’s continued well-being as an ecological, agricultural, and economic powerhouse. Please share with the Bargaining Team what your immediate needs are regarding specific topics covered (or not covered) by the CAPS MOU, and ways in which your work helps California and the world “Avoid Collapse” of our life-support systems. Letters can be sent to caps@capsscientists.org

Next Scheduled Meeting. The next meeting with the State’s Team is scheduled for mid-April. In the interim, the Member Action Committee will continue working with the Bargaining Team to plan upcoming membership action. Stay tuned! 

In Solidarity,

David Rist, Chair
CAPS District IV Director

Margarita Gordus
CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac
CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera
CAPS District III Director

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS Local Rep

March 17, 2022

Bargaining Team Met. Your CAPS Bargaining Team met with the State’s Team last week to continue bargaining for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Teams passed several proposals and agreed to meet again toward the end of March to continue working toward a successor MOU. 

CAPS Team Passed One Proposal. The CAPS Bargaining Team passed a proposal on Section 7.10, Telecommute/Telework Program. You can view all of CAPS’ proposals passed this round of Bargaining here

State Passed Proposals. The State’s Team also passed proposals on Sections: 7.10, Telecommute/Telework Program; 7.11, Telework Stipend Program; and 10.9, Releases of Home Addresses and Employee Communication

Tentatively Agreed to Sections. Both Teams Tentatively Agreed to several sections of the successor MOU, including 4.1, Holidays; 10.9, Releases of Home Addresses and Employee Communication; and 7.11, Telework Stipend Program. You can view all of CAPS’ TA’d sections here

Looking Forward. The CAPS Bargaining Team is scheduled to meet again with the State’s Team later this month to continue progress towards a successor MOU. The next presentation, continuing our series related to the original “Avoiding Collapse” presentation, will focus on species extinction and how the work of State Scientists ensures that California will continue to preserve biodiversity in California and beyond. The presentation will also showcase that ensuring State Scientists and their programs are competitively compensated and fully funded will attract and retain the best scientific talent available.

In Solidarity, 

David Rist, Chair
CAPS District IV Director

Margarita Gordus
CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac
CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera
CAPS District III Director

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS Local Rep

March 03, 2022

Bargaining Team Met. Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with the State’s Team last week to continue negotiating a successor MOU. The CAPS Team gave another presentation relating back to the “Avoiding Collapse” presentation from several weeks ago; gave a presentation on the high cost of living in California; passed “Morale Killer”: California Scientists Battle Over Pay Disparities, a recent news article; exchanged several proposals; and tentatively agreed to three additional contract sections. 

Shared “Morale Killer.” The CAPS Team made a point last week by sharing the recently published article, “Morale Killer” with the State’s Team. The article, in summary, reaches the following conclusion: Fix the State Scientist pay gap or risk undermining the State’s scientific ambitions and policy goals. The story was originally published in CalMatters on February 11, 2022, and has since been picked up and circulated by the San Francisco ChronicleSFGate, San Diego’s KPBS, the Bakersfield Californian, the Palm Springs Desert Sun, Chico’s Enterprise-Record; several larger more far-reaching news aggregators such as MSN, Rough & Tumble, and Politico, and most recently, it was published in the San Francisco Examiner. The CAPS Team highlighted several of the author’s most important points, such as the fact that State Scientists earn 27% less than State Engineers; and that Bay Area State Scientists, like those in many other areas of the State, are at a compensation disadvantage due to geographic considerations. Several State Scientists were quoted in the article, speaking privately as members of CAPS, and not in their official capacity as State employees. You can view the original story in its original publication here.  

Presentation on Disease. The CAPS Team also delivered a presentation related to our overall message that Unit 10 salaries must be fixed to ensure the State is able to attract and retain skilled State Scientists to deal with the imminent public health and environmental crises that all Californians face. This week’s message centered around the work that many State Scientists perform for the Department of Food and Agriculture, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and various other smaller boards and commissions. The message was simple: With more frequent interactions between humans and animals already happening in California and around the world, the work of Unit 10 State Scientists will continue to be essential to navigate the looming peril that may befall our state if State Scientists are not actively and competitively retained. You can see the presentation on the CAPS website here

Presentation on High Cost of Living in California. The CAPS Team additionally presented information to the State’s Team about the high cost of living in California and the recognition of the issue by the Federal Government and CalHR’s own Total Compensation Report. In the presentation, the CAPS Team utilized a novel approach to identifying which areas in California are “high cost.”  You can view the presentation here.

Passed Proposals. Your CAPS Team passed several proposals to the State’s Team this week, including Sections 7.10, Telecommute/Telework Program10.9, Release of Home Addresses,  and potential new sections 2.18, Recruitment and Retention Differential: High Cost Areas; and 14.2, Ergonomic Evaluations. You can view these latest proposals and all of CAPS’ proposals passed during this round of Bargaining here

State Passed Proposals. The State’s Team also passed several proposals for sections 2.10, Recruitment and Retention Differentials2.15, Salary and Alternate Range Disclosure; and 6.3, Business Equipment, Materials, and Supplies

Tentatively Agreed to Sections. The CAPS Team and the State’s Team agreed to several sections of the potential successor agreement last week, as well: 2.15, Salary and Alternate Range Disclosures; 6.3, Business Equipment, Materials, and Supplies; and 14.2, Ergonomic Evaluations. You can view all of CAPS’ tentatively agreed to (TA’d) sections here

Member Action. The Bargaining Team is working with other CAPS Committees to find new ways to get the membership involved in supporting the bargaining process. We will soon need more of your help to get our message across to this Governor loud and clear: Value your State Scientists, or devalue science!

We Need Your Input. The CAPS Team feels strongly that your input is necessary to make clear to the State why State Scientists are essential for California’s continued well-being as an ecological, agricultural, and economic powerhouse. Please share with the Bargaining Team what your thoughts/suggestions are with regard to specific topics covered (or not covered) by the CAPS MOU, and/or ways in which your work helps California and the world “Avoid Collapse” of our life-support systems. Letters may be shared with the State’s Team during bargaining, and can be sent to caps@capsscientists.org

In Solidarity, 

David Rist, Chair
CAPS District IV Director

Margarita Gordus
CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac
CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera
CAPS District III Director

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS Local Rep

February 17, 2022

Bargaining Team Met. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met again last week with the State’s Team to continue negotiating a successor MOU. In these meetings, the CAPS Team gave another presentation relating to the “Avoiding Collapse” presentation from several weeks ago; passed a member letter and a copy of California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) “Stay Survey”; exchanged several proposals; and tentatively agreed to five contract sections.

Shared Member Letter. As has become standard practice for your CAPS Team, a new letter from a member was shared with the State’s Team. The letter, from a State Scientist at CDPH, analyzed some of the data in CDPH’s “Stay Survey,” calling particular attention to the results of a question that pondered CDPH’s staff’s reasoning for their consideration of leaving the Department. The CAPS Team also shared the actual results of the Stay Survey with the State’s Team. Unfortunately, the results of CDPH’s survey are not hosted in a way that is shareable to members who do not have access to CDPH’s intranet, but it is worth noting that among the answers to the question why someone would consider leaving, the lack of a competitive salary and benefits package was the top response.

Presentation on Climate Change and Water. The CAPS Team also delivered a presentation related to our overall message that State Scientists’ salaries must be fixed to ensure the state is able to attract and retain skilled State Scientists to deal with the imminent public health and environmental crises that all Californians face. This week’s message centered around the work that many State Scientists perform for the Department of Water Resources, the State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and many other conservancy, river, and flood boards battling against the growing water crisis in California. The message was simple: With more frequent and more intense drought cycles already happening in California and around the world, the work of Unit 10 State Scientists will continue to be essential to navigate the looming peril that may befall our state if State Scientists are not actively and competitively retained. You can see the presentation on the CAPS website here.

Exchanged Several Proposals. The CAPS Team and the State’s Team exchanged several proposals this week. The CAPS Team passed proposals for Sections 3.23 – Personal Leave Program 2020; 6.3 – Business Equipment, Materials, and Supplies; and 10.10 – Employee-Union Orientation. The State’s Team also passed several proposals to the CAPS Team, including sections: 6.3 – Business Equipment, Materials, and Supplies; 7.10 – Telecommute Telework Program; 10.6 – Representative Time Off; 10.10 – Employee-Union Orientation; and how to incorporate the newly agreed to Side Letter Agreements on the Telework Stipend and the Joint Labor Management Committee on Telework. You can view CAPS’ proposals on the website here.

Tentatively Agreed to Five Sections. Both Teams managed to reach agreement on five sections. They included the following: Preamble; 7.11 – On-Call Assignments – Public Health; 7.12 – Telework Joint Labor Management Committee; 10.6 – Representative Time Off; 10.10 – Employee-Union Orientation. You can view these TA’d sections on the CAPS website here.

Looking Forward. The CAPS Team thanks you for your continued support as we move forward with negotiations for a successor MOU. The Teams are scheduled to meet two more times in February. Stay tuned.

In Solidarity,

David Rist, Chair
CAPS District IV Director

Margarita Gordus
CAPS President

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS Secretary

Jacqueline Tkac
CAPS District II Director

Itzia Rivera
CAPS District III Director

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS Local Rep

February 10, 2022

Bargaining Team Met. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with the State’s Team twice last week to continue negotiations for CAPS’ successor MOU. The productive meetings again sought to bring the new CalHR and Department of Finance representatives up to speed on CAPS’ most important issue – State Scientists’ salaries. 

Letters Shared. Per our typical process, CAPS provided letters of support at the start of our meetings. The first letter from The California Institute of Biodiversity and co-signed by 46 other organizations, called on Governor Newsom to direct his representatives at CalHR to address the longstanding salary issues faced by State Scientists via a successor bargaining agreement with CAPS. The second letter, from a CAPS member at CDFW in Southern California, discussed the need for Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialists) and Senior Environmental Scientist (Supervisors) to once again be treated as peer classes, and compensated comparably. You can read the letters here.

Salary Presentation. The CAPS Team made a presentation to the State’s Team, encapsulating the disruptions over time to State Scientists’ salaries. These disruptions have led to the current inequities in the horizontal and vertical salary relationships between Unit 10 classifications. The presentation reiterated the longstanding compensation relationship between environmental scientists and environmental engineering classes, the 2014 “Like Pay for Like Work” Pay Letter, and the 2018 excluded Toxicologist Pay Letter, and emphasized the need to acknowledge comparables both in and outside of State service to ensure the State can compete for scientific talent in an increasingly competitive job market. You can view the presentation here. The CAPS Team will continue to make the case for appropriate compensation for State Scientists, acknowledging that the State’s Team has not provided any updated financial analysis. 

Telework. The CAPS Team reviewed the topic of telework with the State’s Team, reiterating our story and interests before once again discussing proposals presented to the previous CalHR Labor Relations Officer (chief spokesperson). The CAPS Team brought up the need to continue to adjust the culture of automatically dismissing teleworking needs by employees at various departments – even now CAPS is hearing reports that some supervisors are unwilling to be flexible once emergency telework ends. CAPS reiterated the need for remote-centered employees to have equivalent workspaces at their remote office as they have at their reporting office. This includes the need for an ergonomic workstation, should it be requested. CAPS also moved to formalize, within the successor MOU, the Joint Labor Management Committee on Telework and the Telework Stipend. You can see the proposals here.

Alternate Range 40. Continuing the spirit of open communication, the teams discussed concerns surrounding the use of AR40 for Unit 10 State Scientists in the Hazardous Materials Specialist Series. As a result of the discussions, CalHR intends to inquire with their own chain of command regarding their ability to commit to various options presented. 

Additional Proposals Passed. The CAPS Team passed a rollover proposal on Section 5.6 – Employee Injury or Disability. They also passed a proposal for Section 2.10 – Recruitment and Retention Differential. You can view all the proposals made by CAPS during this round of negotiations on the CAPS website here. The State’s team also passed a rollover proposal to CAPS – Section 8.3 – Second Tier Retirement Plan.

Rollover Proposals TA’d. As a result of these actions, both Rollover Proposals were Tentatively Agreed-to. You can see them here

Looking Forward. The CAPS Team will continue to bring the new Labor Relations Officer up to speed on CAPS’ remaining issues. The Teams are scheduled to meet four more times in February. Stay tuned.

January 20, 2022

Bargaining Team Met. The newly-seated CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with the State’s Team last week to resume contract negotiations. The CAPS Team brought the new CalHR Labor Relations Officer (LRO) up to speed with two presentations relaying the importance of the work CAPS Scientists do for the State of California. 

Presentations. The first presentation, titled “Why Science?” conveyed the critical work State Scientists perform to protect Californians, including from a polluted environment, declining species populations, and a virus-challenged citizenry, etc. You can view the (confidential) slides from the “Why Science?” presentation here.

The second presentation, “Avoiding Collapse,” provided the State’s Team with an understanding of some of the major threats human activities pose to the environment, animals, and people of California, and articulated why State Scientists’ work is uniquely vital for Californians, and the world. The presentation adapts aspects of the “Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century: Information for Policy Makers” and information from recent publications.  You can view the slides from “Avoiding Collapse” here

Advocating for Salaries. The CAPS Team continued the discussions around CAPS’ top priority: State Scientists’ salaries. The CAPS Team provided the State’s Team with a summary of all the work completed during the nearly two years of previous negotiation. The CAPS Team reiterated the methodology utilized in the Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) process to show the large lags in State Scientists’ salaries. The CAPS Team briefed the State’s Team on the process whereby the “story,” “interests,” and potential “options,” were arrived at by both teams, and the eventual whittling down process to narrow the “options” to only those that might be acceptable to both parties. The CAPS Team pressed to continue focusing on State Scientists’ salaries, as they remain State Scientists’ most significant concern. With another record budget surplus anticipated – in stark contrast to what the CAPS Team was told in early 2020 – now is the best time to address the long standing salary lags. 

Remaining Sections of the CAPS MOU. Both teams compared notes regarding which sections of the CAPS MOU were still “on the table” to negotiate for a successor MOU. As the CAPS Team has shared in the past, all sections of the last CAPS MOU must be renegotiated when bargaining for a successor MOU. That renegotiation can include “rollovers,” or leaving a section of the CAPS MOU exactly the same as it was in the previous contract, or the negotiation of agreed-upon changes to the language. You can view the sections of the successor CAPS MOU that have been tentatively agreed to (or “TA’d”), on the CAPS website here. You can also view proposals that have been made during this round of bargaining by the CAPS Team here.

Order of Priority. The Teams additionally took the opportunity to discuss how to move forward in negotiations in the coming weeks, and which topics would be important to discuss in the near future. The Teams agreed to meet again in early February. A topic schedule was not set, but the Teams are planning to continue discussions on telework first. 

We Need Your Input. The CAPS Team feels strongly that your input is necessary to make clear to the State why State Scientists are essential for California’s continued well-being as an ecological, agricultural, and economic powerhouse. Please share with the Bargaining Team what your immediate needs are with regard to specific topics covered (or not covered) by the CAPS MOU, and/or ways in which your work helps California and the world “Avoid Collapse” of our life-support systems. Letters can be sent to caps@capsscientists.org

September 1, 2021

Bargaining Continued. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR last week to continue bargaining for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) before the Legislature adjourns for the remainder of the year in September.

Blood, Sweat, Sometimes Even Tears. The CAPS Team has spent countless hours over the past 17 months preparing for and meeting with the State’s Team to clearly articulate the longstanding salary issues all Unit 10 State Scientists have been subjected to for more than a decade, chief among them:

  • The broken salary relationship with other Units (namely Unit 9 environmental engineers with whom State Scientists work side-by-side while performing the same or very similar duties)
  • Discrepancies within the rank-and-file classifications in our own Unit (some State Scientists who are required to have a Doctorate currently earn less than some others  who are only required to have a bachelors)
  • The broken salary relationships between rank-and-file classifications and their direct supervisors (created by the funding of the Like Pay for Like Work Lawsuit in 2014 – which the CAPS Team maintains was funded to the letter of the lawsuit, but not the spirit of the law under which it was filed – and the 2018 toxicologist supervisor pay letter)
  • The salary lags between Unit 10 State Scientists and their federal, private, local, and academic counterparts.

The State’s Team said they heard and understood all the information provided by the CAPS Team, but there is currently a fundamental disagreement on what problems exist in Unit 10. The State’s Team explained that they are only interested in addressing recruitment and retention issues that can be supported by objective data. Further, the State’s Team contends many of the historical relationship discrepancies the CAPS Team relayed in bargaining have not appeared to hinder hiring or retaining State Scientists, based on their currently available data. Thus, while the State’s Team claims to understand CAPS’ position, the State is not considering comparables to support salary adjustments, either with Unit 9 engineers or internally with Unit 10 supervisors and managers. By only focusing on recruitment and retention issues, the State’s Team is effectively not considering Government Code 19826 and their own salary guidance for rank-and-file employee compensation. The CAPS team strongly disagrees and contends that all the broken historical relationships referenced above drastically harm morale, as well as recruitment and retention. So much so, in fact, that it damages programs and prevents Agencies from being able to complete their missions.

At the very beginning of this round of Bargaining, the CAPS Team requested information related to recruitment and retention from the State. For example, the CAPS Team requested a demographic breakdown of employees in Unit 10 by classification and age, years of state service, and number of qualified applicants per job advertisement, among many other requests. The information provided to CAPS varied greatly by department; in many cases it was not specifically what was requested or was entirely missing. The State’s Team wasn’t able to fully explain how data are collected or by whom, and left the CAPS Team without a means of substantiating recruitment and retention issues in Unti 10 that CalHR would accept. Throughout the bargaining process, the State’s Team continued to rely on faulty data in the State’s Total Compensation Report, despite having been told exactly how and why the report’s data and conclusions are inaccurate and unapplicable. The CAPS Team believes the State needs to overhaul the way it develops its Total Compensation Report, and needs to work with CAPS in the development of that report in order to generate usable data. The State’s Team recognizes they do not currently collect or have the data to justify CAPS’ position, but, to CAPS knowledge, they have not made or attempted tomake headway after identifying this. You can review past Bargaining Updates here

Too Far Apart. As reported in the August 11th Bargaining Team Update, options that met the State’s parameters were limited and reflected their focus on only addressing recruitment and retention problems that could be supported with objective data. Those options included Special Salary Adjustments (which would only apply to approximately 110 employees), a limited Geographic Pay differential (which would only apply to approximately 159 employees), minuscule General Salary Increases, and options for only two classification series reviews out of the 43 that exist in Unit 10. These new options were inadequate and would not have addressed the Unit 10 salary inequities. As a result, the CAPS Team spent the next few sessions developing alternative options that would still meet CAPS’ interests in full within the terms of the next contract. The State’s Team requested that CAPS provide a more attainable list of options, from their perspective, to take back to their constituents. In the spirit of interest-based bargaining, and listening to the needs of each side, the CAPS Team developed an additional option that would not fully solve all the Unit 10 salary issues but it would have made significant progress towards restoring the horizontal and vertical salary relationship disruptions. The State’s Team quickly indicated that this new option was still far beyond their current parameters. In response, the CAPS Team held fast to the convictions of the union and reiterated that the next contract should make significant progress in resolving the salary issues within Unit 10, especially considering the State’s current historic budget surplus. As a result, the Teams have not reached a tentative agreement and will continue to meet to find a mutually acceptable solution that satisfies the interests of both teams.

Tentative Agreement Unlikely Before Legislators Adjourn. Last week’s meeting will likely be the last before the Legislators adjourn for the year, meaning any Tentative Agreement could not be fully ratified by both parties until January, at the earliest. The State will also be assigning a new Labor Relations Officer (LRO) to serve as their chief spokesperson for the next bargaining session, as the current LRO is retiring. Likewise, CAPS will have a new Bargaining Team due to the upcoming Board of Directors Election. A new Board will be seated in November 2021, and they will approve a new Bargaining Team. If the Governor is not recalled, the new Bargaining Team will continue where the current Bargaining Team left off, but if the Governor is recalled, the new Bargaining Team will likely need to start from scratch with the new Administration and their representatives.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

 CHOOSE UNITY! CHOOSE STRENGTH! CHOOSE CAPS! 

July 27, 2021

CAPS Seeks YOUR Input. At lot has happened since CAPS sent out an initial Bargaining Survey on January 28, 2020. The first official bargaining session was held three months following the release of that survey, in March 2020. CAPS once again requests your input and wants to hear YOUR voice.  This survey poses questions the CAPS Team has determined are necessary to help them continue the Interest-Based Bargaining process which requires feedback from our respective constituents.

The CAPS Team is bargaining to restore the unit-wide, logical, historical pay relationships that previously existed until they were disrupted in 2005, 2014, and 2018.   

2005: Unit 9 secured a 5-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Davis Administration shortly before he was recalled. In that MOU, increases were based on a single classification comparable (Transportation Engineer) to that of Civil Engineers in California local governments. These were applied across their Unit. See the history between Water Resources Engineer, Range C (R09) and Environmental Scientist, Range C (R10) here.

2014: The Brown Administration executed a Pay Letter that fully funded the decision resulting from the Like Pay for Like Work Lawsuit (based on Government Code 19826) only for fourteen Unit 10 Supervisory classifications listed in the court case. See the history between Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) (R10) and Senior Environmental Specialist (Supervisor) (S10) here.

2018: The Brown administration executed another Pay Letter that adjusted the salaries of two of three Supervisory Toxicologist Classifications. The Pay Letter was funded in late 2018 shortly after the CAPS 2018-2020 MOU was ratified. See the comparison between Staff Toxicologist (Specialist) (R10) and Senior Toxicologist (S10) here.

These actions caused a disruption in horizontal salary relationships between peers (based on Government Code 19826), and in vertical salary relationships between supervisors and the staff they supervise (based on the State’s internal guidance). Further, these disruptions affect recruitment, retention, morale and continue today

These and other salary comparables, with Federal counterparts for example, show that all Unit 10 Rank-and-File State Scientists have salary lags.

The restoration of the logical salary relationships that recognizes minimum qualifications, level of responsibility, and experience is necessary for Unit 10. The CAPS Team developed a framework using benchmarks (representative classes), as an organizational tool to explain the historical salary structure for Unit 10 based on the following benchmark classifications:

Bachelor’s Level: Environmental Scientist and Senior Environmental (Scientist) are the representative classifications utilized for this benchmark. The Senior level is added to recognize that many of the classes that would fall under this benchmark have a technical expert level. Any class that requires a Bachelor’s degree within the minimum qualifications falls within this benchmark. 

Master’s Level: Research Scientist III is the representative classification for this benchmark. Any classification that requires a Master’s degree within the minimum qualifications falls within this benchmark. 

Doctorate Level: Staff Toxicologist (Specialist) is the representative classification for this benchmark. Any classification that requires a Doctorate degree within the minimum qualifications falls within this benchmark. 

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Level: Veterinarian (General), Range D is the representative classification for this benchmark. Any classification that requires a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine within the minimum qualifications falls within this benchmark. 

The CAPS Bargaining Team understands that fair pay has been and continues to be the top priority for Unit 10 members. Your answers to the questions in this survey will assist the CAPS Team in proceeding through the next steps of the Interest-Based Bargaining Process, which requires feedback from each Team’s respective constituents. 

Only member responses will be reviewed. Encourage your colleagues to sign up to join CAPS here: https://capsscientists.org/application/.                                                                                                                      

 CHOOSE UNITY! CHOOSE STRENGTH! CHOOSE CAPS! 

June 29, 2021

Bargaining Team Met. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR (State’s Team) again last week to continue bargaining for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). 

Member Letters Passed. The CAPS Team shared more member letters with the State’s Team that detailed how the Unit 10 salary lags have impacted their personal lives, departments, and programs. The first letter, from members at the California Energy Commission (CEC), clearly articulated how employees in the Unit 10 Energy Commission Specialist classification and those in the Unit 9 Electric Generation System Specialist classification continue to perform very similar work, but that State Scientists’ salaries are far lower than those of their engineer counterparts. Historically, the Energy Commission Specialist made more than the Electric Generation System Specialist. The discrepancy between the Unit 9 and Unit 10 salaries worsened in 2014 when Energy Commission Supervisors received a salary increase to match them to their engineering counterparts as a result of the Like Pay for Like Work Lawsuit, but the resulting salary increase was not translated to the rank and file. Another letter, from an Associate Toxicologist at the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) included observations from their long career: starting as a Hazardous Substances Scientist in 1985, then an Associate Toxicologist since 1993, they were paid commensurately with their environmental engineer counterparts prior to 2004, since then, their wages have not kept up with their peers inside and outside of state service. To highlight this point, this State Scientist points to how Associate Toxicologists historically earned 8% less than their senior engineering colleagues, and now, years later, earn nearly 48% less. Furthermore, their current salaries are not commensurate with the level of education and experience required for their classification. Another letter, from an Environmental Scientist in DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products Program, clearly communicated why the department needs interdisciplinary teams of scientists and environmental engineers to accomplish their mission. Unfortunately, the otherwise equitable working relationships do not extend to pay because State Scientists in the Program are paid substantially less than their environmental engineer teammates. The letter also provides a specific example of how State Scientists’ wages are not competitive compared to local public agencies. Finally, another State Scientist from DTSC’s Site Mitigation and Restoration Program strongly advocated for the State to follow the principle of “like pay for like work” and abide by Government Code 19826 for Rank and File State Scientists. 

Tentatively Agreed To Rollovers. The CAPS Team and the State’s Team tentatively agreed to rollover several contract sections, including: 2.16, Range Change Deferral; 6.6, License Renewal Fees;  Article 8 – Retirement; 8.6, Enhanced Industrial Retirement; 19.9, CalEPA Relocation and Transportation Agreement; 19.12 Excess Leave Balance Committee; 20.1, Entire Agreement; 1.1, Recognition; 3.11, Work and Family Program – Transfer of Leave Credits Between Family Members; 7.6, Duty Officer – Department of Toxic Substances Control; 7.9 Arduous Duty Differential for FLSA Exempt Employees; 8.7, Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA); 15.1, Release Time for State Civil Service Examinations; and 19.3, Personnel and Evaluation Materials. You can view the TA packet here.

Meetings Resume in July. The teams will meet again on July 14th to continue discussing salaries utilizing the Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) process. As reported in the last bargaining update, a “straw design” that contains a list of narrowed down options to address Unit 10 salary issues was developed by both teams. During the next meeting the CAPS Team will continue working with the State’s Team to refine the straw design with the goal of further narrowing down the options.

Thank You! The CAPS Team thanks you for your continued support as we navigate these difficult topics with the Newsom Administration for the first time. You can help by sharing your experiences in a letter to CalHR. The more State Scientist classifications that are represented by these letters, the better. Read examples, and find out how to submit your own here.

Sincerely, 

The CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

June 23, 2021

Bargaining Team Met. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR (State’s Team) last week to continue the Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) Process, focusing again on State Scientists’ salaries with a third-party facilitator. 

Straw Design. As reported last week, both Teams worked to identify options that could be mutually acceptable, such as special salary adjustments, utilizing comparable classes to establish new salary ranges, and addressing recruitment and retention issues. The options were developed without the expectation of a commitment by either side, to foster creativity. The narrowed-down list of options is known as the “straw design,” which is evaluated further to determine if any of the ideas are mutually agreeable. This option-refining process is repeated as needed, aiming to reach formal language, in the form of a proposal, that could be tentatively agreed to by both parties. 

CAPS Team’s Takeaways. Thus far, the CAPS Team has not yet definitively heard that the State agrees that State Scientists’ salaries need to be adjusted. There has been discussion surrounding the fact that the Administration understands CAPS’ perspective of large salary lags between State Scientists and State Engineers, between many rank-and-file State Scientists and their Supervisory counterparts, between State Scientists and Academic Researchers, and between State Scientists and Federal and Local Government Scientists. It is apparent to the State’s Team that the CAPS Team’s viewpoint is that these lags must be addressed as soon as possible, but the CAPS Team has received no indication at this point that the State feels the same way about the necessity to remedy those lags, or that lags even exist. 

In summary, there has been no agreement, yet, with regard to State Scientists’ salaries, but the CAPS Team is continuing to ensure the State’s Team (and ultimately the Governor) hear CAPS’ concerns. 

Member Letters Passed. The CAPS Team passed two additional member letters to CalHR. A Senior Environmental Scientist Specialist from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) in Sacramento detailed the historical salary relationship between Senior Environmental Scientist Specialist and Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisor, and pointed out that State Scientists feel singled out and treated unfairly. Another letter from an Environmental Scientist at the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) detailed how they had worked in the private sector as a consultant. In that role, they worked alongside geologists and engineers who were considered equals and were paid the same, but the member found that was not the case for State Scientists once they began working for the State. Please continue sending in letters detailing your experience with regard to the rate of pay you receive. CalHR is following up on them, and is listening! Learn more about how to submit letters, and read other members’ letters here:  https://capsscientists.org/support-bargaining/.

Society of Toxicology Salary Survey Passed. The CAPS Team also took the opportunity to pass to CalHR a Salary Survey conducted triennially by the Society of Toxicology (SOT), along with a summary of points to assist them in navigating the fairly complex report. You can review the report here.

Proposals Passed. The State’s Team passed three counter-proposals to CAPS, including one on Section 8.1 Miscellaneous/Industrial, Section 10.1 Representational Designation, and 10.3 Use of State Phones. CAPS cannot share the State’s proposals, but CAPS’ original proposals can be found on the CAPS Website here. Additionally, the CAPS Team passed several proposals, including Section 10.10, Employee-Union Orientation, Bicycle Commuter Program, Paid Parental Leave, Lactation Accommodations, and Domestic Partners. As a reminder, these proposals would need the agreement of both the CAPS Team and the State’s Team as part of a full and final Tentative Agreement, ratification by a vote of the CAPS rank-and-file membership, and ratification by the State Legislature before they could go into effect. For now, these are just proposals for each parties’ consideration

Proposals Tentatively Agreed-To. In addition to the proposals passed by both teams, several proposals were tentatively agreed-to (or “TA’d”). These again would not go into effect until after ratification by the CAPS rank-and-file membership, and the State Legislature as part of a full and final Tentative Agreement. The sections TA’d include: 2.3, Night Shift Differential; 5.7, FlexElect Program; 5.13, Health Promotion Activities; 10.2, Access; 10.7, Employee Time Off; 11.1, Organization Securities; 15.6, Professional Papers; and 18.1, Permanent Intermittent Appointments. You can view the TA package here.

Thank You! The CAPS Team thanks you for your continued support as we navigate these difficult topics with the Newsom Administration for the first time. You can help by sharing your experiences in a letter to CalHR. The more State Scientist classifications that are represented by these letters, the better. Read examples, and find out how to submit your own here.

Sincerely, 

The CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

 

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

June 15, 2021

Bargaining Team Met. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR last week to continue the Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) Process, focusing this time on the CAPS Team’s top priority – State Scientists’ Salaries – with a third-party facilitator. 

Story. Both Teams reviewed the most important elements of the “story” behind why Unit 10 salaries must be brought in line with Government Code 19826 “that like salaries shall be paid for comparable duties and responsibilities” and the State’s own description of how employees should be paid, now. The CAPS Team recounted again the major break in the historically equitable relationship between State Scientists’ and State Engineers’ salaries that existed prior to 2005; and the wide gap that developed between Unit 10’s rank-and-file salaries and management when, in 2014, salaries for some State Scientist Supervisors were adjusted to provide comparable compensation to their State Engineering supervisor peers. The CAPS Team also noted that since 2014, the State has made no effort to correct the vertical relationship between rank-and-file State Scientists and their supervisors or the horizontal relationship that once existed with State Engineers. 

While identifying the salient story points, the CAPS Team noted, once again, the unfortunate and very difficult position both sides are in now due to previous administrations’ inaction. However, IBB is allowing for the long-needed, extended, in-depth discussions about the Unit 10 salary issues that could finally lead to a solution.

Interests. The Teams also went through an exercise to evaluate and identify each team’s most important interests. Surprisingly, the State’s list did not include the State’s fiscal situation, a topic that had featured prominently in discussions before the Administration issued its revised budget proposal in May.

Options. The Teams then began the challenging process of narrowing down salary options. The process requires each option to be evaluated through the lens of what each parties’ constituents would be able to accept should any of the options move forward. This is the first of what will likely be a multi-step evaluation process to reach a formal agreement. Both Teams identified options that could be mutually acceptable, such as special salary adjustments, agreeing on comparable classes to establish new salary ranges, and addressing recruitment and retention issues. While options were identified that could be mutually acceptable, in the IBB process there is no commitment until both parties make a formal agreement. This allows the Teams to have in depth discussions and explore different options that can be further evaluated without fear that either Team will assume commitment. Unfortunately, as with past bargaining sessions, the CAPS Team has still not heard that the State agrees that there are salary lags within Unit 10 to be remedied, and the State is concerned that the percentages the CAPS Team has presented are large and unlikely to be achieved all at once.

Notably, the State’s Team did not reiterate earlier claims about the State facing dire financial circumstances over the next few years. However, they did reference the State’s need to continue cautiously with future fiscal considerations and budgetary commitments because economic forecasts predict less prosperous years ahead.

Members Loud and Clear. The CAPS Bargaining Team passed four more member letters to CalHR, again detailing the need for State Scientists to be treated equitably. The first letter was written and signed by many members from various departments. It described how the State’s treatment of State Scientists reveals an implicit bias, and asks why the State values rank-and-file scientists less than their engineering and supervisory counterparts. The second letter, from Veterinarians at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), discussed the imperative need to restore the historical value of State Veterinarians, as recruiting and retaining the expertise required in that field has become more and more difficult due to the low salaries provided by the State. Next, a member at the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) Site Mitigation Cleanup Program discussed how their working title, Project Manager, would often result in them inheriting projects from other State Scientists and Engineers – without any change to their duties. And yet, they are paid less than their engineering counterparts. Finally, the CAPS Team shared a letter from an Environmental Scientist at the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) who discussed the high cost of living in the Sacramento area. The member shared that the comparable Sacramento County position, Environmental Specialist, earns 37% more at entry level.

Proposals Passed. The CAPS Team also passed proposals regarding Premium Pay and Emergency Pay in the traditional positional bargaining process for the State’s consideration. 

Thank you for all your support. The CAPS Team values all members’ input and support during this often arduous process and hopes you will continue sharing your thoughts. Please continue sending letters detailing your state-pay experience. CalHR is following up on them and is listening! Your voices are helping CAPS get our message across: This pay issue must be fixed for California’s agencies to continue fulfilling their missions and place the appropriate value on science and scientists. Learn more about how to submit letters and read other members’ letters here.

Sincerely, 

The CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

June 11, 2021

Agreement Reached on COVID-19 PLP Side Letter. Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) and the State of California reached an agreement to end the 2020 Personal Leave Program (PLP) and to restore the deferred 5% General Salary Increase (GSI) originally scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2020. 

Compensation. Effective July 1, 2021, the 9.23% reductions to State Scientists’ gross salaries will end, returning salaries to the full amount listed in the State’s pay scales as of June 2020. In addition to returning to full pay, on July 1, 2021, all rank-and-file Unit 10 scientists will receive the deferred 5.0% GSI along with a newly negotiated 2.5% GSI, and an additional increase of 0.13% due to compounding two separate GSIs, for a total increase in pay of 7.63%. As a result, State Scientists’ gross pay will increase by 16.86% between June 2021 and July 2021, but take home pay will differ, based on each individual’s deductions. Please note that these increases are related to the Covid-19 PLP Side Letter: CAPS is still in the process of bargaining for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Other Side Letter Details. 

OPEB/CERBT. In addition to the negotiated pay increases, the agreement restarts the employee’s OPEB contribution, which pre-funds post-retirement healthcare. In July 2020, the employee’s share was temporarily suspended as part of the COVID-19 PLP Side Letter Agreement. In June 2020, State Scientists were contributing 2.8% of pay. Starting July 1, 2021, State Scientists will contribute only 2.1%. The deduction is listed as “CERBT” on your pay warrant.

Retirement Contributions Continue at Lower Rates. When the CAPS Team negotiated the initial COVID-19 PLP Side Letter Agreement, they ensured State Scientists’ retirement contribution for members’ pensions decreased by 0.5% a year earlier than previously planned. That reduction continues under this new agreement (e.g., 8% of pay for Miscellaneous CalPERS members, instead of 8.5%).

Leave Cap Increase Remains Until 2025. The CAPS Team further ensured that the increases to the Vacation/Annual Leave Cap will remain as previously agreed-to. This means that the Vacation/Annual Leave Cap will remain at 832 hours until 2025, due to the 192 PLP hours received during the past year. 

PLP 2020 Hours Do Not Expire. While the COVID-19 PLP Side Letter Agreement was silent on whether PLP 2020 hours could expire, the new agreement ensures Unit 10 Scientists’ PLP 2020 hours never expire, until used. 

Allows Changes to VPLP Participation. The 2018-2020 MOU, still in effect due to the “Evergreen Clause” in the Dill’s Act, allows members to make modifications to their participation in the Voluntary Personal Leave Program (VPLP) quarterly. The CAPS Team negotiated provisions that allows opting in or out of the program any time within the first three months after the new agreement goes into effect. That gives members until November 1, 2021 to modify their participation (including starting or stopping) in the VPLP, before returning to a quarterly schedule. 

CAPS Proposed Retroactivity. The CAPS Team proposed multiple other ways to resolve ending PLP 2020 that the State ultimately would not agree to, including vigorously and repeatedly advocating for the retroactive restoration of CAPS members’ deferred 5% GSI to July 1, 2020; “me too” clauses that would have ensured that should any other bargaining unit achieve a higher GSI than CAPS, the State would match it; and enacting the 5% GSI “on the books” on July 1, 2020, but not realizing the raise in members’ paychecks until 2021. Ultimately, the State insisted that they did not want to include language that would be non-operational — another way to say that they will not contemplate retroactivity for any bargaining unit. 

When does it go into effect? This agreement amends the COVID-19 PLP Side Letter, but is not a full and final Tentative Agreement for a new successor MOU. Side Letters do not require a ratification vote of the membership and are considered “ratified” once signed by both parties. The terms of the new agreement go into effect “the pay period following ratification of the agreement by both parties.” CAPS and the State agreed to the Side Letter terms on June 9, 2021. Assuming the State Legislature passes a budget that includes funding for this new Side Letter Agreement, and the Governor signs the budget on time, these changes will be effective July 1, 2021. 

What’s Next? The CAPS Team will continue bargaining for a successor MOU and immediately meet with the State’s team to continue our Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) sessions with the assistance of a third-party facilitator. The CAPS Team will send a bargaining update to the membership next week.

Thanks for Your Support. It’s Not Over Yet! The CAPS Team wants to sincerely thank the membership for its support throughout this round of bargaining and to assure you that negotiations for a successor MOU to address the necessary increases to State Scientists pay are still underway. Please continue sending letters detailing your experience with regard to the rate of pay you receive. CalHR is following up on them and is listening! Learn more about how to submit letters and read other members’ letters here: https://capsscientists.org/support-bargaining/.

Sincerely, 

The CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

June 2, 2021

PLP 2020 Side Letter Agreement Bargaining Begins. Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR last week to discuss ending the Personal Leave Program (PLP) 2020 and reinstating the postponed General Salary Increase (GSI) that would have gone into effect on July 1, 2020. 

Member Letters and Past Petitions Shared. The CAPS Team kicked off the meeting by sharing more letters from members in support of CAPS’ bargaining efforts. One letter was from a Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) at the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) who stated they are following bargaining closely and concluded that the State’s predicted financial downturns appear to be an excuse the Administration will use to deny State Scientist raises, even after those predictions have proven to be incorrect. The member calls on CalHR and the Department of Finance (DOF) to not rely on predictions that have been proven inaccurate and instead to provide State Scientists with long overdue salary adjustments. A second letter, from a member at the Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) in the Solid Waste Enforcement Section, describes how they do similar work and have the same education level of their engineer colleagues, yet they get paid substantially less. The member is also a new parent and experiencing a financial hardship due to the pay cuts. As a result, they are consiering quitting their state career since it is becoming financially unsustainable to work as a State Scientist. A final letter was shared from a member at the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board who emphasized that the pay inequities have caused enormous financial hardships. The member also asserts that the State has sufficient funds to resolve State Scientist salary inequities, and points to CalHR’s responsibility to maintain horizontal and vertical salary relationships. You can read these and past member letters, and find out how to submit your own, here

The CAPS Team also shared some previously submitted member communications with CalHR that included petitions and letters surrounding the pay issue from past bargaining rounds. You can view those here (Petitions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). 

May Revise Questions Abound. The CAPS Team again pressed CalHR and the Department of Finance (DOF) for more information on the May Revise budget. The CAPS Team again questioned why the Governor waited until after the May Revise was released to call bargaining units back to the table, despite news reports as far back as January 2021 that there would be sufficient funds to end PLP 2020 and restore deferred raises. In response, the DOF representative noted that there were still a lot of unknowns at that time and there was a need to verify the amounts of incoming revenues which can only happen after Tax Day. The DOF representative further explained that those calculations and verifications take time and could not be completed by the end of April. 

COVID-19 PLP Side Letter. CalHR passed counter-proposals surrounding the COVID-19 PLP 2020 Side Letter in response to CAPS’ side letter proposals passed back in April 2021. You’ll recall that CAPS’ proposals contemplated ending PLP 2020 effective with the May pay period, and funding the 5% GSI retroactively to July 1, 2020. The CAPS Team took the Administration’s counter-proposals under consideration for review. Per the May Revise, the Administration is amenable to ending PLP 2020 and funding the deferred 5% raise. However, the Administration expressed an unwillingness at this point to provide any retroactive pay as CAPS had proposed, due in part to technical limitations of the State’s financial process. All Management proposals passed in a positional setting are confidential, and are not posted. The CAPS Team will meet next week with CalHR to continue bargaining on the COVID-19 PLP Side Letter. Please note, that a full tentative agreement on a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is not needed to have an agreement on a side letter to the current MOU. This means that should CAPS and CalHR come to an agreement on a side letter, the provisions and effective date of the side letter is not dependent on a successor MOU.

Successor MOU Discussions Continue. The CAPS Team has not stopped bargaining for a successor agreement, just because the Governor wants to focus on the PLP 2020 Side Letters. Your CAPS Team is continuing discussions over the successor MOU next week. 

Thank you for all your support. The CAPS Team values all members’ input and support during this often arduous process, and hopes you will continue sharing your thoughts. Your letters are having an impact in painting the picture for CalHR and the Administration that restoring pay equity in Unit 10 salaries is crucial. Please keep sending your letters. We’ve received many letters from Environmental Scientists at DTSC that clearly outline the issues the pay issue is causing, so letters from members representing other departments and classifications would be greatly appreciated. Your voices are helping CAPS get our message across: This pay issue must be fixed for California’s agencies to continue fulfilling their missions, and place the appropriate value on science and scientists. View examples of other members’ letters, and find out how to submit your own, here.

Sincerely, 

The CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

May 12, 2021

Bargaining Teams Met. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met twice with CalHR’s Team last week to continue discussing the topic of Alternate Range Criteria (AR) 40 using the Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) approach with a specialized IBB facilitator.  

Member Letters. The CAPS Team shared the most recently received letters from members, including one from a member who serves as a Project Manager in the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) Site Mitigation and Restoration program. The department assigned the member the Project Manager duties of a coworker who recently retired from an Engineering Geologist position while expecting the State Scientist to pick up the same responsibilities for less pay than their predecessor. Next, the CAPS Team shared a letter from several members at DTSC, State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), and the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQB), asking CalHR their own questions, and assuring CalHR of what the CAPS Team has been telling them all along: CAPS members are following the bargaining process very closely. The final letter shared with CalHR this week was a well-researched, cited document on the many merits of telework for employees, employers, and the environment. You can read these and other member letters, and find out how to submit your own, here

CalHR Passed Proposals, Tentatively Agreed to Two. This week the CalHR Team asked questions about previous CAPS proposals and passed some of their own. Additionally, CalHR Tentatively Agreed to Section 2.3 and 5.7 as rollovers. You can review all of CAPS’ proposals on the CAPS website here.

Facilitated IBB Sessions. Last week’s two Interest-Based Bargaining sessions included a third-party facilitator to help the two Teams begin the “whittling down” process of IBB options for the AR 40 topic. First, the “interests” of both Teams’ were reviewed and discussed to better understand each other and find common ground. Some of these interests include stabilizing the income of those State Scientists employed in the Hazardous Materials Specialist (HMS) series, recognizing the additional duties of having to supervise inmates, and reducing the state’s liability for mishandled hazardous waste. Utilizing these interests, the Teams worked to whittle down a range of possible options. The next steps include working together on language to reduce the options to writing and looping out with each Team’s constituents.     

Money Rules. The CAPS Team took the opportunity, with the facilitator present, to bring up the prevailing sentiment that underlies every conversation on topics that cost money. CalHR’s recent statements implied to the CAPS Team that they were jumping to financial considerations without any thought for other concerns that CAPS has brought forth, including the evidence showing a need for salary adjustments, justifications for providing those adjustments, and the impact of inequitable salaries on programs and State Scientists.  CalHR’s comments also seemed to ignore the tenets of the IBB process by expressing a finality that, from CAPS’ perspective, didn’t invite dialogue. The facilitator counseled the teams on methods to overcome these hurdles, noting that these kinds of comments should be used constructively to improve the options, interests, or story pieces that had given pause in the first place. 

Thank you for all your support. The CAPS Team values all members’ input and support during this often arduous process, and hopes you will continue sharing your thoughts. Your letters are having an impact and painting the picture for CalHR and the Administration that restoring Unit 10 salary relationships is crucial. Please keep sending your letters. We’ve received many letters from Environmental Scientists at DTSC that clearly outline the havoc the pay issue is wreaking, so letters from members representing other departments and classifications would be greatly appreciated. Your voices are helping CAPS get our message across: This pay issue must be fixed for California’s agencies to continue fulfilling their missions, and place the appropriate value on science and scientists. View examples of other members’ letters, and find out how to submit your own, here.

Sincerely, 

The CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Other Items of Note.

Vacation/Annual Leave Cash Out. The CAPS MOU allows eligible employees in participating departments to submit a written request during May to receive payment at their regular salary rate in exchange for up to 80 unused vacation or annual leave hours. Payment for all leave hours are made using existing departmental appropriations, therefore, each department’s participation is subject to the availability of departmental funds. These departments have announced whether they are participating. CAPS will update these lists as departments confirm or decline participation in the program for the year. State Scientists at these departments should have been notified of the department’s participation, and how to enroll. If you encounter issues enrolling in the program at a department that has confirmed their participation this year, as listed above, contact CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org). 

Professional Development Grants Available: Apply Now! CAPS strongly urges you to apply now for one of four $400 Professional Development Grants awarded each quarter to support members’ scientific research, education, or other career-enhancing activities that the state does not fully fund. The next deadline to apply is June 30 for grants the CAPS’ Member Benefits Committee will award in July. Applicants may seek funds for upcoming costs or expenses already incurred.  (Due to COVID-19 concerns, at this time the Committee is not considering applications to facilitate attending scheduled in-person meetings or conferences.)  

CAPS makes a total of $1,600 in grants available to deserving activities each quarter. Recipients are chosen in January, April, July, and October, so applications should be submitted before these months to be eligible for the subsequent selection. Once submitted, applications remain eligible for consideration for at least two quarters. For more details about CAPS’ Professional Development Grants and how to apply for this members-only benefit, please go to capsscientists.org/application/benefits/grant. Please contact CAPS staff with questions at caps@capsscientists.org or by calling your nearest CAPS office.  Don’t wait!

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

May 4, 2021

Bargaining Meeting Last Week. The CAPS Bargaining Committee (CAPS Team) met with CalHR again last week to continue negotiations for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

CAPS Team Shared Additional Letters and Petitions. The CAPS Team shared additional member-submitted letters with CalHR. One from a Research Scientist III member at the California Department of Public Health’s Richmond Campus describes their role in the emergency response to the Grand Princess COVID-19 incident in March 2020. Since then, they continue to work diligently on the State’s pandemic response – often working for long periods of time without any compensation for the overtime. Letters from two members in the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) Site Mitigation and Restoration Program who work side by side with engineers, explain how they earn less than the state engineers they manage as part of interdisciplinary, multi-agency teams of scientists and engineers. And finally, a brand-new State Scientist wrote a letter after working for the state just one month. As a former private-sector scientist, they knew state wages were less, but their first paycheck was shockingly “unlivable.”  You can read these and past member letters, and find out how to submit your own, here

The CAPS Team also shared copies of the member-created and CAPS-amplified petitions to Governor Newsom, California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) Secretary Wade Crowfoot, and California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) Secretary Jared Blumenfeld, and highlighted several comments from these petitions (Governor Newsom’s, Secretary Crowfoot’s, and Secretary Blumenfeld’s) that speak to the impact Unit 10 salary lags are having across classifications and departments. The CAPS Member Action Committee thanks everyone who signed the petitions and encouraged others to do the same. Watch for more Member Actions to come as bargaining continues.

Department of Finance Representative Queried Again. The CAPS Team again pressed the Department of Finance (DOF) representative for more information about California’s “rainy day funds” and their use, the status of the Federal Stimulus money, and Premium Pay for State Scientists who have continued to protect California’s citizens, the environment, and food safety during the global pandemic. The DOF representative explained that there are technically two “rainy day funds.” One is the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties, which holds California’s unspent money. The other is the Budget Stabilization Account, which voters established in 2004. Both funds are limited to spending on one-time emergencies. They could not be used, according to the DOF representative, to fund ongoing commitments such as employee salaries.

Next, the CAPS Team asked about the status of the Federal Stimulus funds and Premium Pay, and were informed that the State has not yet received any of the money promised by the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The Administration hopes the State’s Treasury receives the money before the 2021-22 State Budget Revision’s release on May 14, but there are no guarantees. Despite more news stories of California’s pandemic-budget windfall (like this story, or this one), the overall message from the DOF remains the same. The Administration continues to predict that future years will bring economic hard times.  

CalHR SME Presentation on NDI/SDI.  CalHR’s Team brought in Subject Matter Experts last week to answer CAPS questions regarding the two Disability Insurance programs available for State employees. The two programs are as follows: 1.) Non-Industrial Disability Insurance (NDI) and Enhanced Non-Industrial Disability Insurance (ENDI), respectively) and 2.) State Disability Insurance (SDI; Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL)). The funding source for the programs differ: NDI/ENDI is employer-funded, while SDI is employee-funded. Additionally, NDI/EDNI only provides for disability leave for the employee themself, whereas SDI-PFL can be utilized to care for family members. Currently, all Unit 10 employees are covered under NDI/ENDI.

NDI/ENDI, which covers all non-SEIU rank-and-file bargaining units in California, allows up to 26 weeks of disability leave per occurrence for non-work related injuries. Employees pay nothing out-of-pocket for the NDI/ENDI coverage, but NDI is limited to a $135/week cap for employees enrolled in Vacation/Sick, and ENDI provides 50% of salary with the requirement employees are enrolled in Annual Leave. SDI provides leave for up to 52 weeks and 60-70% of salary. Employees in the units covered by SDI contribute 1.2% of salary for the program.

There are many other differences between the two programs, such as: the amount of supplemental leave employees can use; how gross salary is calculated, payroll deductions; state service accrual; and the government codes which dictate certain benefits, to name a few. Since this is a complicated subject, the CAPS Team, with the assistance of a member-led Family and Medical Leave Working Group, will provide more information to members on the pros and cons as bargaining continues.

Family Care Leave was provided to supervisors and managers as part of the E/NDI program in 2019 via legislation.  The CAPS Team asked if Family Care Leave could also be extended to rank-and-file Unit 10 scientists, but CalHR made it very clear that the employer would not pay for any additional paid family leave benefits, and that any additional benefit costs would have to be covered by employees. 

More Salary Options for IBB. The CAPS Team added more options to the IBB salary topic. These options included calculations for the financial adjustments required for State Scientists’ salaries to match those of their counterparts both inside and outside of the unit that would restore Unit 10’s historical salary relationships. CalHR immediately responded by restating the Administration’s pessimistic budget forecast. The CAPS Team did not back down, and instead countered that the finances required to adjust State Scientists’ pay and restore the historical pay relationships were much smaller 15 years ago when these issues began, and if the salary lags are not addressed, they will continue to grow.

We Need Your Letters!  More member input is needed. Your letters are having an impact and painting the picture for CalHR and the Administration that restoring Unit 10 salaries is crucial. Please keep sending your letters, no matter how long or short they are. We’ve received many letters from Environmental Scientists at DTSC that clearly outline the issues the pay issue is causing, so letters from members representing other departments and classifications would be greatly appreciated. Your voices are helping CAPS get our message across: This pay issue must be fixed for California’s agencies to continue fulfilling their missions, and publicly place the appropriate value on science, and scientists. View examples of other members’ letters, and find out how to submit your own, here

In Solidarity, 

The CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Other News of Interest. 

Support David Miller for CalPERS Board. CAPS and CalPERS Board Member, David Miller, is seeking re-election to the CalPERS Board of Directors to the Member-At-Large Position A seat, and he needs your help.  We’re asking for all Unit 10 members to sign and submit a Nomination Petition to help David Miller reach the 250 valid CalPERS member signatures required to ensure that he appears on the ballot.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CalPERS has adopted emergency regulations allowing non-original signatures on the Nomination Petitions. To submit your Nomination Petition, please print the attached form, fill out your full name, provide the last four digits of your Social Security number, give the agency where you are employed or retired from, and sign the form indicating you endorse David’s nomination. Please return the form to CAPS by either scanning and emailing it to caps@capsscientists.org or fax it to (916) 442-4182.  Please share this with your colleagues and send your nomination petition in today!

CAPSule Out Now. The current issue of CAPS’ monthly newsletter, CAPSule, is posted on the CAPS Website. You can view it here!

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

 

April 13, 2021

Bargaining Team Met. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR last week to continue the process of bargaining for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). During the meeting, the CAPS Team shared additional member letters with CalHR, pressed the Department of Finance (DOF) for answers surrounding the news of increased revenues and federal stimulus money, and passed several proposals to CalHR on a variety of topics. 

Member Letters Passed. CAPS shared additional letters with CalHR, written by members describing their particular circumstances concerning the long-standing inequities between rank-and-file State Scientists and their supervisory and engineering counterparts.

Last week’s letters included a letter from a member from the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) Berkeley Enforcement Program who describes the situation through the lens of their thirty years as a State Scientist. Specifically, they describe the salary difference between the Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) and that of their Senior Environmental Scientist (Supervisor) counterpart as $3.00 per month in 2011, to now a nearly $3,000 per month difference. The member also references CalHR’s guidance that describes a target differential of 10% between supervisors and their direct reports, and how  that is clearly not being maintained for State Scientists. Another letter submitted by a member in DTSC’s Hazardous Waste Management Program, appeals to the Director of CalHR, Eraina Ortega, to end the wage disparities of State Scientists, and provides real-world examples of the detrimental effects these pay inequities have had on their program.

Finally, CAPS also shared an Op-Ed written by State Scientists that will be sent to the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and others in hopes it will be published by a high-readership California publication. The Op-Ed, titled Wage Discrimination Is Illegal and Real for California’s State Scientists, Governor Newsom Needs To Stop It Now, was written by State Scientists and details how a recent survey of CalEPA State Scientists indicated that at least 90% of the respondents said they are unwilling to recruit future State Scientists due to the pay inequities within Unit 10.

You can read the member letters and Op-Ed, and find out how to submit your own, here

DOF Pressed for Answers. The CAPS Team again requested more information from the Department of Finance (DOF) representative in light of recent reports (like this and this) that indicate California’s budget is healthy despite the pandemic. Media reports aside, DOF’s story remains the same for now, that DOF is still determining if there are sufficient funds to end the Personal Leave Program (PLP) prior to July 2022. DOF is also predicting budget shortfalls in future fiscal years but did not elaborate on how it arrived at those predictions. While the budget is in a better shape than initially anticipated, there is currently no guarantee that PLP 2020 will end this year. Likewise, the Administration won’t yet commit to restoring the temporarily-suspended 5% General Salary Increase (GSI) in 2021, nor have they discussed whether additional monies will be allocated specifically for State Scientists’ salaries in 2021. Despite DOF’s reluctance to update their economic forecast, most reports both in the news and from our sources in the Legislature indicate the Governor intends to lift PLP 2020 via negotiations with each state employee union after the revised 2021-22 budget proposal is released in mid-May.

The CAPS Team also asked if COVID-relief funding from the federal American Rescue Plan would allow the state to free up funds within the budget for other uses; whether the Administration had begun discussing Premium Pay, who will be eligible for it; when the additional federal stimulus monies will be received; and whether there is specific criteria for the DOF Director to end PLP 2020 for all bargaining units. The DOF representative’s answers were inconclusive, and made clear that DOF was still gathering information, reviewing the American Rescue Plan, and getting clarification from the Federal Government on how the funds can be spent. 

Getting the Ball Rolling to Restore Salaries. The CAPS Team passed proposals related to the PLP 2020 Side Letter Agreement, as a package, to prompt CalHR to discuss ending PLP 2020 and to restore the temporarily-suspended 5% GSI and make it retroactive to July 1, 2020. The proposals included a new contract section, 2.1.2, Return of Suspended General Salary Increase; the deletion of 2.1.1, Contract Reopener Language; and the modification of 3.23, Personal Leave Program 2020.

Other Proposals Passed. The CAPS Team spent the majority of last week’s session passing proposals to CalHR in the traditional bargaining method. Proposals included: 2.6, Staff Specialist Compensation; 7.7, Work Week Group Definitions and Compensation; 8.10, Employer Contribution for Retiree Health Benefits; 8.11, Post-Retirement Health and Dental Benefit Vesting; 10.1, Representational Designation; 10.2, Access; 10.3, Use of State Phones and Other Equipment; 10.6, Representative Time Off; 10.7, Employee Time Off; 19.6, Transportation Incentives; and new section, 3.XX, Additional Sick Leave Benefits for Current State Employees injured while called to Active Service. The CAPS Team also passed some counterproposals to proposals previously received from CalHR. These included: 2.15, Salary and Alternate Range Disclosure; 5.13, Health Promotion Activities; 7.2, Alternative Work Schedules; and 10.4, Distribution of Literature. Finally, the CAPS Team passed some “rollovers,” or proposals that would not modify existing contract language. Those rollovers included sections: 2.3, Night Shift Differential; and 5.7, FlexElect Program. You can view all of CAPS’ proposals that have been passed in this round of bargaining on the CAPS Website here

Thank You. The CAPS Team thanks you for your unwavering support to secure fair and equitable pay for all State Scientists. Over the last several months CAPS has asked you, the membership, to add your voice to CAPS’ efforts at the bargaining table. Several members have written letters and initiated and signed petitions. It is important all State Scientist classifications add their voice to assist us in bargaining the successor MOU. CalHR is following up on your stories, please keep sending in letters! These membership actions demonstrate State Scientists are united in solidarity behind the CAPS Bargaining Team. There is power in collective action!

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director


Choose Unity. Choose Strength

 

March 17, 2021

Bargaining Last Week. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met again with CalHR last week to continue to bargain for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Teams continued using the Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) process and focused on the topic of Alternate Range Criteria 40 (AR 40). The CAPS Team also shared some proposals with CalHR in the traditional bargaining process and a member letter. 

Member Letter Shared. The CAPS Team has continued to receive letters in response to our request for support from the membership. Last week, the CAPS Team shared another member letter with CalHR that was submitted by a Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) working out of the Berkeley office at Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). The member discusses the history of the pay issue and the similar or sometimes identical duties between their work and the engineers they work with at DTSC. The member emphasizes that as a seasoned project manager they lead teams and oversee the work of both scientists and engineers and yet the engineers earn more for performing the same duties. The member also notes the extreme pay disparity between rank-and-file Senior Scientists (Specialists) and their Supervisory peers, which prior to 2014, didn’t exist. The member concludes the letter by asking if CalHR will act now to correct the scientists’ pay issue before it further compromises the State’s environmental programs. You can read the letter, and all previously submitted member letters, and find out how to submit your own by clicking here.

Alternate Range Criteria 40. The CAPS Team continued the IBB process on the topic of AR 40 by adding more details to the “story,” “interests,” and “options.” The Teams shared many interests on this topic, including recruiting and retaining scientists at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and compensating employees when they meet the appropriate alternate range criteria, among others. But the CAPS Team’s interests go further, specifically, that those scientists in the Hazardous Materials Specialist (HMS) series are able to experience greater salary stability, that the current HMSs are retained, and HMS scientific work is not outsourced. 

Working together, both Teams identified options for the AR 40 topic, without agreement or evaluation, that could potentially satisfy one or both parties’ interests. The options identified ranged from restructuring the HMS series to include deep classes for all classifications, providing a separate pay differential to recognize inmate supervision duties, reclassing the HMS series and adding a “Correctional Facility (CF)” designation, or including protections to ensure that HMSs aren’t frequently moved in and out of Range B due to circumstances out of their control. The Teams will continue the discussion and evaluate options during future sessions.

CAPS Passed Proposals. During the meeting, the CAPS Team passed proposals to the CalHR Team, proposing changes to improve the existing language in the CAPS MOU for Sections 6.1, Business and Travel Expenses; and 15.9, Professional Conferences. The CAPS Team also passed proposals to add new sections: Electronic Monitoring and Longevity Pay. You can review CAPS’ proposals here

COVID-19 Side Letter Agreement, Reopeners. Early reports from the Governor’s proposed budget released in January indicate his priorities remain focused on combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and California’s economic recovery. The budget proposal also includes the possibility of terminating the Personal Leave Program (PLP) 2020 early, due to California’s better-than-expected fiscal outlook. Immediately after the Governor released his proposed budget, the CAPS Team requested a meeting to discuss ending the program and funding the 5% General Salary Increase (GSI). If PLP 2020 is terminated, wage deductions of 9.23%, and the corresponding 16 hours of leave State Scientists are accruing each month would stop. Additionally, it would mean the leave cap on annual leave or vacation hours would top out at 640 plus the total of accrued PLP 2020 hours. Currently, after nine months of PLP 2020, the cap is 784 hours, which increases each month PLP 2020 is in effect.

The American Rescue Plan that was signed by the President provides additional federal funding to states and local governments and also seems likely to trigger provisions included in the COVID-19 Side Letter Agreement that established the PLP 2020 program.

The COVID-19 Side Letter specifically states that if the State receives funding from the Federal Government, the State may restore some or all of the various pay items that have been suspended (e.g. the 5% GSI that was temporarily suspended) or reduced (employee pay as a result of PLP 2020). Here is the pertinent language: “If the Director of the Department of Finance, as a result of appropriate federal legislation providing additional funding to the state to address the impacts of the COVID-19 Recession, elects to restore, at their sole discretion, some or all of the various pay items that have been suspended or reduced.”  If the State receives federal funding to address the COVID-19 recession, the State is obligated to, “provide notice to the Union and shall meet and confer with the Union upon request regarding the impact of that determination.”  

The CAPS Team reached out to CalHR immediately after President Biden signed the Federal plan that provides additional funding to states and local governments. As of late last week, CalHR had no new budgetary information or decisions to share. Regardless, the CAPS Team will continue to push for a meeting to discuss the early termination of PLP 2020 and the return of the suspended 5% GSI. 

CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Other News of Interest. 

CAPS Grant Applications Still Open. The CAPS Member Benefits Committee is accepting applications for 1st Quarter 2021 Professional Development Grants until April 1. Applications received later will be considered for the 2nd Quarter.

Only CAPS members are eligible for one of the four quarterly $400 awards the Committee gives to support scientific research and professional development activities not fully funded by the State. 

In keeping with state and local health mandates and the best scientific guidance, CAPS has temporarily suspended awards that would subsidize in-person meetings and conferences.  All other professional enhancement activities remain eligible for grants, including research, scholarly publication of work, online courses, virtual seminars, and online or virtual meetings.

More details about the members-only Professional Development Grant program and a downloadable application are available online.  The Member Benefits Committee strongly encourages members to apply.

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

March 12, 2021

Dear Hazardous Materials Specialist Series CAPS Members,

Last week, CalHR brought Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to the bargaining table from both CalHR and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to discuss the State’s view of Alternate Range Criteria 40 (AR 40), the background of the Hazardous Material Specialist (HMS) series, and how they view both were designed to work. 

To begin, the CDCR SME reviewed how they determine which HMS classifications have a “deep class” by looking at the pay scales. An example of a “deep class” is one which has multiple ranges, where an employee can move through the ranges through time-in-grade alone (e.g. after one year in Range A an employee can move to Range B). Within the pay scales, classifications that have the notation “21” in the footnote column are an exception to State Personnel Board (SPB) Rule 431, which means these classifications are “deep classed.” The Associate Hazardous Materials Specialist (AHMS) and the Senior Hazardous Materials Specialist (SHMS) classifications do not have footnote “21,” and therefore are not designated as a “deep class.” Whereas, the Hazardous Materials Specialist (HMS) classification does have the footnote 21 designation, so one can move to Range B solely by time-in-grade. Per the Classification and Pay Guide, which is the next authority that the State cited, the AHMS and SHMS classifications only have a “status range,” Range A. The AR 40 is the sole reason for the creation of Range B for the AHMS and SHMS classifications, and, from the State’s perspective, serves as a pay differential for inmate supervision.

Per the State, because the AHMS and SHMS classifications are not a “deep class,” the only way for an AHMS or a SHMS to receive Range B pay is to meet the criteria in AR 40. The State maintains that AR 40 is functioning as it was designed. The CAPS Team, however, insists that the way AR 40 currently is implemented results in large salary swings (upwards of $800) in any given month for those in the HMS series. There are other mechanisms to compensate for the supervision of inmates. For example, other classes receive Pay Differential 67, which ensures employees are paid for inmate supervision duties while not experiencing such wide swings in their monthly income, and therefore earn a more stable income. CAPS also noted that other classes reward time-in-grade, and so should the entire HMS series.

Next, the CDCR SME detailed the calculation for Range B pay, and cited California Code of Regulations (CCR) 559.681. The example that was provided is that AHMS Range B is calculated by subtracting the top step of Range A from the top step of Range B ($7731 – $7014), to arrive at $717, and adding this amount to the AHMS’ Range A pay. This means that regardless of where an AHMS falls within Range A, when they meet the AR 40 criteria, the pay increase is $717. This means the difference in pay for each class in the HMS series when one qualifies for AR 40 or AR 70 ranges between $400-$800 per month. CAPS once again noted that this is significantly different than other professional scientific classification series and causes undue hardship for employees. Additionally, calling it “Range B” makes understanding how the Alternate Range actually functions difficult for those actually in the classification, let alone for those new to state service.

Further, the CDCR SME explained that Merit Salary Adjustments (MSAs) are calculated based on the employee’s current salary during their anniversary month. For example, if an AHMS meets the AR 40 criteria, and is in Range B at the time of their anniversary date, their MSA is based on their Range B pay. If that employee no longer meets the AR 40 criteria after their MSA is enacted and goes back to Range A, their pay is decreased by $717, but their MSA dollar amount increase remains that which was calculated while they were receiving Range B pay.

The CAPS Team informed the CDCR SMEs about those scientists working in the HMS series who have experienced losing Range B as a result of going on vacation or taking sick leave. CDCR insists that they do all that they can to ensure employees keep their Range B pay when they go on vacation, and that they do not move employees in and out of Range B for taking vacation leave, but that there are times when an employee might lose their Range B pay. For example, COVID restrictions have seen prison populations decrease heavily which has directly affected opportunities for HMSs to supervise inmates and advance to or remain in Range B.  But these stipulations are not found in the plain language of AR 40 and AR 70, and the CalHR SMEs have not yet provided any rules or policies about the above process, so the CAPS Team will continue to pursue clarity on this issue. Without solidifying language that recognizes benefits not found in the plain language, the State may not be consistent on how they interpret AR 40 and AR 70.

The CAPS Team asked whether an employee could be removed from AR 40 as a result of using sick leave or disability leave, but CalHR’s SMEs were not prepared to answer. They committed to conducting more research and providing more answers in the future.

Though the State holds that AR 40 is functioning as it was designed, the CAPS Team insists that there is a deep flaw in continuing with the status quo. The large salary fluctuation for these duties is unacceptable. The CAPS Team has posed that the entire series needs a rehaul and that the Range Bs that currently exist for AHMS and SHMS should be “grandfathered” in as part of a deep class. Additionally, the designation of the HMS Series as “Correctional Facility” (CF) has been put forth as a potential option by the CAPS Team. The CAPS Team has embarked on putting forth some of these solutions, but we have yet to reach the stage in the Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) process where both sides can evaluate what options could provide the solution. We do want to ensure; however, that the affected members are provided with timely information, and given an opportunity to review the position put forth by CalHR and CDCR.

CAPS members, please provide us your thoughts on a method to address this issue, and whether you, as a HMS series scientist, have experienced losing Range B as a result of going on vacation or taking sick leave. We are working hard to ensure that your issues are heard and addressed. Please send comments to caps@capsscientists.org. The information will be shared with the entire Bargaining Team. Please also encourage your HMS colleagues who have yet to become CAPS members to join the union – we are stronger together (Find out more here)! Thank you once again for your engagement and support. We look forward to hearing from you! 

In Solidarity, 

CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

March 9, 2021

Bargaining Team Met with CalHR. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with the CalHR Team last week, continuing efforts to bargain for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Last week, bargaining focused on several topics, including continuing discussions of Alternate Range Criteria 40 (AR 40), travel and lodging issues impacting CAPS members, and next steps within the Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) process. 

Member Letters Shared. The CAPS Team has continued to receive letters in response to our request for support from the membership. The letters received so far have detailed the salary-related issues you and your colleagues face every day, the impact on your program’s work, your agency’s ability to meet its mission, your department’s ability to recruit and retain the scientists it needs, and the low morale caused by these issues. This week, the CAPS Team shared two more member letters with CalHR. The first letter, from a member at the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, describes their need to maintain multiple side jobs to stay afloat in the San Francisco Bay Area. The second letter, from a Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) at the Department of Water Resources, relates the impacts they see in their program due to the inequities between State Scientists and State Engineers who perform comparable duties. You can read the member letters, and find out how to submit your own, here

Additional Information Provided to CalHR. The CAPS Team gave the CalHR Team copies of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Workforce and Succession Plan for 2020-2022 and highlighted several sections, including CDFA’s recognition that State Scientists’ salary challenges pose a significant obstacle for future recruitment efforts and current employee retention. The CAPS Team requested Workforce and Succession Plans from other departments and asks that should your department has a similar plan, please provide a copy to CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org). The CAPS Team also shared a public statement made by CAPS Members in June 2018 at a State Personnel Board Hearing in support of reclassifying various specialized classes – used only at CDFA – into the Research Scientist classification to more accurately reflect their duties and responsibilities. You can read the statement transcript here.

Alternate Range Criteria 40 Discussions Continue. In our last Bargaining Update, we reported that the CAPS Team had asked CalHR’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) several questions that required additional research. CalHR’s SMEs returned last week better prepared to answer the CAPS Team’s questions, including a full explanation of the State’s understanding of how AR 40 functions. The CAPS Team stressed that what CalHR’s SMEs had provided is not consistent with member experiences at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Both teams then began the IBB process of discussing and recording the AR 40 “Story,” or all the facts as each side understands them. CAPS will provide an additional update to members in the affected classifications later this week.

Travel and Lodging Discussions. CalHR also brought in SMEs to discuss the CAPS Team’s questions surrounding travel and lodging. The CAPS Team reiterated that this is another very important topic for members: large swaths of State Scientists perform fieldwork and often times in remote areas. The State’s lodging rates frequently force members to pay out-of-pocket, travel long distances (e.g. from their hotel, or within a single day because they cannot find a room at the State rate), or stay in unsafe locations to perform their duties. The CAPS Team shared that during the last bargaining round with the previous Administration, CalHR stressed that moving the lodging rates into the CalHR Manual would give the State the authority to keep reimbursement rates current with climbing costs, and wouldn’t require each bargaining unit to independently bargain lodging rates. In separate meetings about travel and lodging, years ago, CAPS was informed that CalHR and Department of General Services (DGS) use the submitted excess lodging forms to determine when it is time to adjust travel and lodging rates. However, since the State lodging rates have not been adjusted, it would appear that this process is not working.

The CAPS Team provided a long list of questions to CalHR ahead of last week’s meeting to enable a meaningful discussion of the process and metrics the Administration uses to update the travel and lodging rates, as they have not been adjusted since the previous MOU went into effect. The CAPS Team shared that members at multiple departments have reported being told not to submit the excess lodging forms. Other members report submitting the forms but never receiving a written response, making the use of the forms as a metric for change inaccurate, at best. Unfortunately, CalHR’s responses to the questions fell short of the CAPS Team’s expectations, as the current Administration appears to prefer the rates be bargained.

Upcoming IBB Tasks. Finally, the CAPS Team and CalHR discussed moving forward in the IBB process, and the next steps for the IBB topics after the story, interests, and options are completed. After options are exhausted, the next step is for the teams to jointly work to whittle down the options and begin to evaluate their plausibility for inclusion in a final agreement.

In Solidarity, 

CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Other News of Interest. 

CAPS Member Needs Your Help! CAPS Member, Henry (Sharif) Traylor, an Environmental Scientist for the California Coastal Commission in Santa Cruz, has requested catastrophic leave donations in order to continue receiving pay and benefits.  Section 3.10 of the CAPS MOU allows transfer of the following leave credits as catastrophic leave: CTO, Personal Leave, Annual Leave, Vacation, Personal Day, and/or Holiday Credit. If donating Personal Holidays, they must be donated in whole-day increments per the donating employee’s time base. All other donations must be made in a minimum of one hour (1.00) increments. Sick leave cannot be donated. You can find the form to donate to Mr. Traylor on the CAPS Website here.

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS.

March 2, 2021

Bargaining Team Met Twice. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met twice with the CalHR team last week, once to continue bargaining for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and once to discuss a Contact Tracing Side Letter Agreement for Unit 10.

Alternate Range 40 Discussions. The Teams continued discussing Alternate Range Criteria 40 (AR 40). CalHR Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) presented information about the structure of the Hazardous Materials Specialist Series and its relation to AR 40 from CalHR’s perspective. After their presentation, the CAPS Team asked questions that prompted the need for CalHR to gather more information. CalHR confirmed their SMEs would return during a future meeting after researching the CAPS Team’s questions.

Member Submissions Shared. The CAPS Team has continued to receive letters in response to our request for support from the membership. The letters received so far have detailed the salary-related issues you and your colleagues face every day, the impact on your program’s work, your agency’s ability to meet its mission, your department’s ability to recruit and retain the scientists it needs, and the stress of dealing with these issues. This week, the CAPS Team shared two more member letters with CalHR. The first one was from a group of Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) members. It clearly detailed how this classification functions as a peer class with the Senior Environmental Scientist (Supervisor), and how the implementation of the Like Pay for Like Work (LPLW) Lawsuit broke that long-standing relationship. The second submission came from State Scientists at the Department of Toxic Substances Control, State Water Resources Control Board, Department of Water Resources, and the Delta Stewardship Council. Their letter describes the significant impacts to Rank-and-File State Scientists as a result of only implementing the LPLW Lawsuit for supervisory classifications. You can review both letters here. Please keep the letters coming. You can help by submitting yours to caps@capsscientists.org.

CAPS Passed Proposals. During the meeting the CAPS Team passed proposals to the CalHR Team, proposing changes to improve the existing language in the CAPS MOU for Sections 2.7, Diving/Climbing Pay; 3.1, Vacation Leave; 3.8, Jury Duty; and 5.3, Medical Monitoring. You can review the proposals here.

Roll Overs Agreed To. The CAPS Team and CalHR tentatively agreed to several Roll Over Proposals, which is language from CAPS’ last MOU that will “roll over” with no substantive changes to the next MOU. The Roll Overs include these CAPS MOU Sections: 3.21, No Mandated Reduction In Work Hours; 5.8, Pre-Tax of Health, Dental, Vision Premiums; 6.2, Moving Expenses; 6.5, Damage of Personal Items; 7.1, Meal Period; 7.5, Fair Labor Standards Act; 9.6, Informal Discussion; 9.12, Formal Grievance – Step 5; 9.13, Health and Safety Greivances; 13.8, Sexual Harassment; 16.3, Change in Work Location; 16.4, Appeal of Involuntary Transfer; and 17.2, Out-of-Class Grievance Process.

Contact Tracing Side Letter Meeting. The CAPS Team also met with a different CalHR Team last week to discuss a Side Letter Agreement that would grant Bilingual Pay for members redirected to the Contact Tracing Program, retroactive to July 1, 2020. The agreement would also clarify workplace rights for Contact Tracers. After a lot of back and forth, the CalHR and CAPS Teams reached agreement and signed a Side Letter that will go into effect immediately. You can view the Side Letter Agreement here. Side Letter Agreements do not require ratification from the membership, and therefore are in effect after signature by both parties.

Important Notes About the Contact Tracing Side Letter. CalHR initially proposed the Side Letter Agreement solely to grant Bilingual Pay to members using their bilingual skills in their work as Contact Tracers. The CAPS Team bargained for additional important provisions, including:

  • Formally acknowledging that members will return to their original assignment after their Contact Tracing Assignment ends;
  • Providing some of the reasons Contact Tracers may use to request to return to their original assignment (The list is not exhaustive. Contact CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) if you need help returning to your original Department. CAPS is handling each member request on a case-by-case basis);
  • Ensuring that Contact Tracers are not exceeding forty (40) hours per week, unless the employee is willing and eligible for overtime. This includes any work assigned from their originating department, combined with their Contact Tracing duties. (As a reminder for all members, if you are continuously expected to complete more than forty hours per week, CAPS may be able to assist. If this sounds familiar, please contact CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org));
  • Allowing employees to request refresher training for their Contact Tracing duties;
  • Ensuring that the State will provide the necessary equipment for members to conduct their Contact Tracing duties;
  • Allowing members to request a Performance Appraisal, should they so choose, for their Contact Tracing assignment, regardless of the length of time they were assigned;
  • Ensuring any Performance Appraisal from a member’s originating department during Contact Tracing also acknowledges their Contact Tracing duties;
  • Ensuring members continue to accrue their departmental seniority while on redirection; and?
  • Ensuring members redirected to Contact Tracing will not suffer a loss of compensation, except as a result of PLP 2020.

If you encounter any issues with your Contact Tracing Assignment, as always, contact CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org).

Items of Note for Contact Tracers. Some informational items CAPS proposed to include in the Contact Tracing Side Letter Agreement were not agreed to by CalHR, as they already exist in the CAPS MOU. Please note, that due to the “Evergreen Clause” of the Dill’s Act, all sections of the 2018-2020 CAPS MOU are still in effect for all members, including those members redirected to Contact Tracing. For instance, members have the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) available to them, pursuant to CAPS MOU, Section 5.2. Many members have reported that the Contact Tracing Program weighs heavily on them, so reaching out for assistance may help. Each fiscal year, CAPS members are entitled to a total of three sessions for themselves, and a total of three sessions for their spouse and dependent children. You can read more about EAP on the CalHR Website here.

CAPS also proposed language to clarify when the Contact Tracing Program assignments would end. Although the CAPS Team verbally heard that the Contact Tracing Program may end on June 30, 2021, CalHR did not mutually agree to include an end date in the Side Letter Agreement. Absent a formal end date, the CAPS Team asked the Administration’s representatives what metrics would need to be met for the Contact Tracer Program to end, but CalHR’s team was unable to provide that information due to the uncertainties of the pandemic. CAPS ensured that our Side Letter Agreement had reopener language to resolve any issues with the Contact Tracing Program, with the expectation we will want to meet should the date of the Program be extended.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

February 9, 2021

Bargaining Team Met with CalHR. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR again last week to continue bargaining for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The teams discussed telework using the Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) process, but also discussed CalHR’s counters to CAPS proposed updates to current MOU sections in the traditional bargaining process.

Telework. The teams continued the IBB process centering on the topic of telework. The CalHR Team urged the CAPS Team to focus on what working remotely will look like long-term after the pandemic ends. This is because the emergency telework agreements currently in effect for many State Scientists are separate and distinct from teleworking agreements under any future MOU. The CAPS Team recognized the Department of General Services (DGS) is in the process of updating the Management Memo that would provide a foundation for departments to create their own telework policies, and that DGS started drafting the document before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the CAPS Team contended that any telework rights should build on lessons learned from the widespread utilization of telework during the pandemic.

Shared Interests for Telework. Both teams identified and shared their separate and mutual interests with regard to telework. The CAPS Team’s interests include allowing State Scientists to voluntarily enter into telework agreements, and ensuring that State Scientists don’t pay out-of-pocket for work-related expenses. CalHR’s Team identified the following interests, among others: reducing the State’s building-lease costs, departmental preapproval of telework expenses, and the State’s ability to mandate telework. Both teams identified a host of mutual interests, including: ensuring any cost-shift from the employer to the employee does not negatively affect the employee, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that if an employee’s duties allow for telework, they be given the opportunity to do so.

Possible Options for Telework. The CAPS Team and CalHR began to identify different “options,” without agreement or evaluation, that could potentially satisfy the interests of one or both parties. The wide range of options included allowing maximum flexibility within telework agreements, from a partial day (e.g. telework in the mornings) to full-time (e.g. five-days-per-week) telework, State-provided telecommunications equipment, and dedicating funds to cover telework expenses.

Counter Proposals. The CalHR Team provided counter proposals for some sections of the current MOU the CAPS Team had passed as potential new language. In some instances, the CAPS Team proposed the sections be brought up to the “standard” rate of a benefit provided to other employees in State service. The counters show the State is concerned about the cost of items and continues to reference financial impacts over treating bargaining units equitably. Even so-called “soft costs,” or costs that don’t directly involve specifically earmarking money for one unit were removed from consideration in the Administration’s proposals. Non-bankable days off are one example of a soft cost. The CAPS Team will review and discuss the Administration’s counter proposals and may, in turn, propose CAPS counter proposals. Bargaining items are not “closed” until there is a tentative successor MOU, which means discussions and proposals on all bargaining related items can still occur. Members can view CAPS proposals here.

Contrary to news reports of increased revenues and surplus money the Administration’s perspective on the budget remains the same, that the State is still in a financial crisis. Even though the Administration has countered CAPS proposals, the CAPS Team will continue to press the Administration into investing in Unit 10 and providing equitable benefits to State Scientists. The CAPS Team will continue to utilize the IBB process to build a relationship with CalHR and the Administration to finally resolve the longstanding pay inequity issues that State Scientists face.

The CAPS Team Needs Your Help. The CAPS Team thanks you for your unwavering support to secure fair and equitable pay for all State Scientists. One of the most effective ways to support CAPS’ bargaining is writing letters to CalHR and submitting them to CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org). The CAPS Team will review and share them with CalHR. It has become abundantly clear to the CAPS Team that your letters are making a difference, and that CalHR is following up on members’ statements. So please continue submitting letters­, because they are effective. Letters can focus on the salary inequity State Scientists encounter daily and its impact on your program’s work, your agency’s ability to meet its mission, your department’s ability to recruit and retain scientists, or any other issue you experience as a State Scientist.  Find more information about this request here.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Other Important Items of Note: 

Thank you for your Interest: CAPS Masks. CAPS thanks all members who have submitted orders for adult and/or children’s protective face masks to support the simple fact: Science Saves Lives. CAPS ordered an initial limited supply of these protective masks for members and we have reached that limit. CAPS will look at the feasibility of ordering additional rounds of CAPS-branded masks, with member interest. If you are interested in obtaining a mask, and were unable to in the first round, please fill out this form.

Orders are being mailed to members in batches, thank you for your patience. When you receive your mask, be sure to take a photo with your mask on and tag @capsscientists on social media or send the photos direct to caps@capsscientists.org

February 2, 2021

Team Met with CalHR Twice. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with representatives from CalHR twice last week, once to discuss Bargaining a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and once to discuss a Side Letter Agreement to clarify workplace rights and bilingual pay for qualifying State Scientists that have been redirected to Contact Tracing.

Successor Talks Continue. The CAPS Team continued discussions about a successor MOU with a clarification on the Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) hybrid process the teams have used, and the next steps moving forward. Both groups agreed the discussion was helpful to ensure that each party knows what to expect. During this discussion, however, CalHR once again mentioned the State is facing financial hardships, and that any successor MOU will likely reflect the current financial outlook.

Telework. The teams then turned to a timely subject: telework. The CAPS Team discussed the “story” behind telework, noting the pandemic has demonstrated that many State Scientists’ tasks can be performed remotely. Before the global outbreak, securing the option to telework was difficult, particularly in departments that insisted employees need in-person supervision to work efficiently. The CAPS Team stressed that many departments have reported that telework allowed them to catch up on backlogs, demonstrating that telework can be more efficient than traditional office work. The Team also noted other advantages of telework: it reduces employees’ commuting time and costs; and more broadly, telework lowers the State’s greenhouse gas emissions by keeping more cars off the road. Still, the CAPS Team said, there are some challenges to remote working: some State Scientists’ duties do not allow for the option of telework; working from home can pass some employer costs on to employees, such as utilities, internet expenses, office furniture, and supplies; and some State Scientists do not have the capacity to establish a permanent home office.

Alternate Range Criteria 40. The teams also discussed the IBB topic of Alternate Range Criteria (AR) 40. CalHR noted that CAPS’ presentations on the subject had prompted them to research the history of AR 40 and its use with the Hazardous Materials Specialist series at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). CalHR indicated that representatives with specific knowledge of AR 40 and representatives from CDCR will likely be brought in to a future meeting to share their research, in detail, to ensure a better understanding on both sides.

Proposals Passed. The CAPS Team continued to make progress toward a tentative agreement by passing two proposals this week: one updating the percentages the State pays towards employee healthcare premiums, and removing the 24-month waiting period for dental coverage for new hires; and a proposed new section, Health Care Stipend. You can view the proposals on the CAPS website here.

Contact Tracer Side Letter Continues. The CAPS Team also met with a specialized CalHR team last week to discuss a possible Side Letter Agreement to provide bilingual pay to qualifying State Scientists who use that skill while redirected to the Contact Tracing Program, and other workplace rights for all State Scientists who have been redirected. A majority of the discussions centered around the duration of the Contact Tracing Program; who has the right to terminate a contact tracing assignment, and on what grounds; and if there could be additional mental health resources for contact tracers. The CAPS Team countered the Administration’s proposal, and will meet with CalHR on a future date to continue negotiations. The CAPS Team wants to ensure any Side Letter Agreement outlines members’ rights still available to them during a Contact Tracing Assignment and provides as much useful information for members as possible.

Thank You for Your Continued Support. The CAPS Team thanks you for your unwavering support and asks you to consider helping to secure fair and equitable pay for all State Scientists. Support the CAPS Team by writing letters to CalHR and submitting them to CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) to be reviewed and shared with CalHR. It has become abundantly clear to the CAPS Team that your letters make a difference and that CalHR follows up on members’ statements. Please continue submitting letters. The State’s Team is reading them. Find more information about this request here.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Other Important Items of Note: 

Dependent Re-Verification. Once every three years, state employees must re-verify the eligibility of their insured dependents. The year you must re-verify your dependents is based on your birth month. For 2021, employees born in January, April, July, and October will be asked to re-verify their dependents’ eligibility. If you need to verify your dependents’ eligibility this year, CalPERS will mail you a notice three months ahead of your birth month. Learn more about the verification process on the CalHR website here.

Thank you for your Interest: CAPS Masks. CAPS thanks all members who have submitted orders for adult and/or children’s protective face masks to support the simple fact: Science Saves Lives. CAPS ordered an initial limited supply of these protective masks for members, and we have reached that limit. CAPS will look at the feasibility of ordering additional rounds of CAPS-branded masks, based on member interest. If you are interested in obtaining a mask, but were unable to in the first round, please fill out this form.

CAPS is mailing out orders in batches, and we thank you for your patience. When you receive your mask, please put it on, take a few photos, post them on social media, and tag @capsscientists. You can also email your photos directly to: caps@capsscientists.org.

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

January 26, 2021

Bargaining Continues with CalHR. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR last week. This marked the first time bargaining talks had resumed since Governor Newsom released his Fiscal Year 2021-22 State Budget proposal. As a result, the CAPS Team asked many questions related to the draft budget.

Budget Questions Abound. The CAPS Team posed questions to clarify the Governor’s proposed budget. Specifically, the CAPS Team asked if CalHR considered using part of the $15.6 billion budget surplus to address State Scientists’ salary inequities; whether the increased revenues from this Fiscal Year’s budget (which could trigger the Gann Limit) could be used to help fund compensation increases for Unit 10; and how the Governor arrived at the $19 billion figure projected to go to the reserve. CalHR and the Department of Finance (DOF) said the State’s financial picture is worse than in January 2020 – despite the current surplus and next year’s anticipated reserve. CalHR also indicated that even with the surplus revenues going into reserves, it is unclear at this point if the budget will include employee compensation increases. CalHR committed to providing more information about the Gann Limit and the CAPS Team’s other questions. The CAPS Team also informed CalHR of our interest in discussing the terms of the current COVID-19 Side Letter Agreement, which includes restoring the reductions from PLP 2020 and the Unit 10 General Salary Increase deferred in July 2020 to July 2022.

More Member-Provided Information. This week, the CAPS Team shared communication from members at DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products Program. It provided details about the program, including classifications, and the rationale for why scientists in that program desperately require equitable salaries. While this highlights the inequities in one program, it underscores the need for equitable pay for all State Scientists.

Proposals Passed. The CAPS Team continued moving closer to a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by passing five more proposals. You can view the proposals here.

Measuring Progress. CalHR and the CAPS Team reviewed progress made toward a successor MOU. Bargaining a successor MOU requires renegotiating every part of the previous MOU. That assessment can lend clarity to how far the parties remain from reaching a tentative agreement. CalHR indicated they need to see all proposals prior to having meaningful financial discussions on what proposals the Administration may be willing to agree to. CAPS and CalHR’s progress thus far does not yet lend a full picture of the potential cost of a successor MOU. A full financial picture will help both sides determine whether aspects of proposals passed are feasible.

Thank You for Your Continued Support. The CAPS Team thanks you for your unwavering support and asks you to consider helping to secure fair and equitable pay for all State Scientists. Please consider supporting the CAPS Team by writing letters to CalHR and submitting them to CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) to be reviewed and shared with CalHR. It has become abundantly clear to the CAPS Team that your letters are making a difference, and that CalHR is following up on members’ concerns. Please continue submitting letters, they are being read by the State’s Team. Find more information about this request here.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Committee

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President

Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President

Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director

Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director

David Rist
CAPS District IV Director

Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Other Important Items of Note: 

DRAFT Minutes Posted. The DRAFT Minutes from the November 7, 2020, Virtual Board of Directors Meeting are now posted on the Members-Only Section of the CAPS Website. The password is Winter2020 – it is case-sensitive.

Thank you for your Interest: CAPS Masks. CAPS thanks all members who have submitted orders for adult and/or children’s protective face masks to support a simple fact: Science Saves Lives. Members quickly snapped up the initial supply, but CAPS may consider ordering more of these CAPS-branded masks, if member interest remains high. If you requested a mask but did not receive one because supplies ran out, please fill out this interest form.

Orders are being mailed to members in batches, thank you for your patience. When you receive it, be sure to take a photo with your mask on and tag @capsscientists on social media or send the photos direct to caps@capsscientists.org.

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

December 22, 2020

Bargaining Team Met With CalHR. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met again with CalHR last week to bargain the terms of a successor contract. Last week’s discussions included several items: the salary issue has reached a point such that outside entities are now requesting the governor remedy the situation; the history of Unit 10’s reclassification and consolidation project and options that take that work into consideration; the next Interest-Based Bargaining Topic (IBB), Alternate Range Criteria 40; and CalHR’s team proposed changes to Section 7.8: On-Call Assignments Department of Fish and Wildlife.

State Scientists’ Salary Issues Not an Internal Matter. The CAPS Team began the day by sharing with CalHR two reports by stakeholders outside of State Government that emphasize the need, as well as the impacts to State programs, to resolve the inequitable pay of State Scientists.

The first report, “Healthy Communities and Safer Chemicals,” from January 2019, comes from the Public Health Institute with a strong recommendation that the Governor and Legislature “correct the pay disparity between environmental scientists and engineers in California government” (page 4).

The second report, “Clean Water Accountability,” was produced by the California Coastkeeper Alliance in October 2020. It recommends that “the Governor should direct CalHR to adjust the salaries for environmental scientists across the regions to improve recruitment and retention” (page 36). The CAPS Team emphasized that State Scientists’ salaries are viewed as inequitable inside and outside of state service and have also become a priority for stakeholders. These reports show that the lack of pay equity for state scientists impacts state government, as well as the priorities of several stakeholder groups, some of which are now requesting that the Governor remedy the situation.

Consolidation and Reclassification Effort. The CAPS Team provided background to CalHR on the long-standing effort to modernize, consolidate, and reclassify the 81 different classifications in Unit 10 to ensure they accurately reflect the actual work of State Scientists. The CAPS Team explained that a joint project was undertaken by CAPS and Management during the Brown Administration. It suddenly collapsed during bargaining in 2015 when CalHR stated they were no longer interested in pursuing the effort. Following review, both the CAPS Team, and members of CalHR’s Team emphasized that hundreds of hours had gone into the effort to appropriately modernize CAPS’ classifications, only for departments and CAPS to be left at the very end without any agreement on the reclassifications, nor an explanation of the abandonment of the project.

The addition of this background information to the IBB Salary Story allowed the CAPS Team to add more options that would fix the salary issue and reclassify and modernize some classifications simultaneously. The most recent iterations of the joint consolidation and reclassification project were shared again with CalHR.

IBB Topic: Alternate Range Criteria 40. The CAPS Team opened the next IBB Topic, Alternate Range (AR) Criteria 40, with presentations by the CAPS Team and a Subject Matter Expert (SME), Matthew Palmer (Associate Hazardous Material Specialist – California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation). The presentations described the complications caused by AR 40; whereby State Scientists employed in the Hazardous Materials Specialist series do not have stability in their pay from month to month, through no fault of their own. AR 40 requires that an employee must supervise at least two inmates or other ward of the state for a total of at least 173 hours per month in order to be placed in Range B. If the inmate loses their working privileges, is released, or if management assigns the inmate elsewhere, the State Scientist drops back down to Range A. The CAPS Team explained the issues caused by AR 40, and its sister criteria, AR 70, in wreaking havoc on State Scientists’ income stability. Look for Matthew’s SME presentation on the CAPS SME Presentations page in the coming weeks.

CalHR Passes Proposals. This week, CalHR passed two counterproposals to Section 7.2 (Alternate Work Week Schedule) and 15.6 (Professional Papers). CalHR also passed a new proposal for Section 7.8, which outlines how State Scientists in the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are paid for remaining on-call for seven days at a time. The CAPS Team will evaluate the proposal with CAPS OSPR SMEs. You can read CAPS proposals on Section 7.2 and 15.6 here, and the current contract language on Section 7.8 here.

Correction From Last Week’s Bargaining Update. CAPS strives to make sure the information sent to our members is accurate and correct. Last week’s Bargaining Update mistakenly included that CAPS’ Proposal on Section 15.2 – Performance Appraisals and Individual Development Plans – was accepted by CalHR and could be tentatively agreed to at a future meeting. While CalHR and the CAPS team did discuss several sections under Article 15, CalHR did not include Section 15.2 in their verbal list of acceptable proposals.

Thank You for Your Continued Support. The CAPS Team thanks you for your unwavering support and asks you to consider helping in this cause. Please consider writing a letter with your colleagues to CalHR and submitting it to CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) to be reviewed and shared with CalHR. It has become abundantly clear to the CAPS Team that your letters are making a difference, and that CalHR is following up on members’ concerns – Your voices are being heard. Find more information about this request here.

December 15, 2020

Bargaining Continues. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR twice last week: the first time to continue bargaining for a successor contract, and the second time to negotiate a Side Letter agreement for employees who have been temporarily reassigned to Contact Tracing duties.

Questioning Finance. The CAPS Team again queried the Department of Finance (DOF) representative about the $26 billion windfall recently projected by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). The DOF representative indicated there was no new information and it’s unknown at this time how the windfall could impact next year’s financial outlook with regard to employee compensation. The CAPS Team once again offered to provide additional information about the Unit 10 salary lags should there be any remaining questions about the need to adjust scientists’ salaries.

Member Letters Shared. The CAPS Team has been asking for your support by writing letters to the Administration and the response has been considerable. Hearing directly from members makes an impression on the Administration and the CAPS Team is benefitting from your support. Your letters have detailed the problems you and your colleagues contend with every day, and the impacts the salary lags are having on your programs, departments, and agencies’ abilities to meet their missions. This week, the CAPS Team shared additional member letters with CalHR, including one from several scientists who work at the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation, and one from a member who works at the Central Valley Flood Protection Board’s Environmental Services and Land Management Branch.

Savings Plus Program Information Request. As relayed in last week’s bargaining update, CalHR passed proposals pertaining to the Savings Plus Program. The CAPS Team had several questions about the proposals and requested additional information about applicable IRS Tax Codes and other parameters that could affect how the proposed changes to the program would be enforced. CalHR is still preparing a response and expects to have the requested information soon.

Additional Proposals and Progress. CalHR passed an additional proposal last week for Section 2.14 – Operational Availability Incentive – Department of Water Resources (DWR). The proposal was presented as “clean up” and clarification language that would reflects current practices at DWR, and would not impact who currently is eligible to receive the incentive. This proposal is under review. Finally, CalHR noted that CAPS’ Proposals on Section 15.2 – Performance Appraisals and Individual Development Plans and 15.3 – Training were acceptable and could be tentatively agreed to at a future meeting. You can view Section 15.2 and 15.3 proposals here.

Contact Tracing Side Letter. As shared with the CAPS Membership in October, CAPS was notified of the Administration’s intent to expand bilingual pay to Contact Tracers utilizing those skills through the Bilingual Pay Differential. CAPS passed a counter proposal to CalHR in October that would formalize this new program and member rights surrounding it. This week, CAPS met with the CalHR representatives who are the Administration’s labor relations leads for Contract Tracing to discuss this counter proposal.

The CAPS Team told CalHR that State Scientist’s work cannot simply be put on hold – that many colleagues are having to double-up on work, or contact tracers are finding themselves continuing both assignments. Additionally, the CAPS Team advocated that employees reassigned to Contact Tracing are provided physical (i.e. ergonomic evaluations) and mental (i.e. Employee Assistance Program (EAP)) support and benefits. The representative from the Department of Public Health (CDPH) informed CAPS that there were more online classes for mental wellness currently in circulation. CAPS requested that information to share with the membership.

The proposed Side Letter will provide any Unit 10 member who can self-certify and is certified by CDPH as performing bilingual duties as a Contact Tracer the Bilingual Pay Differential, backdated to July 1, 2020. The CAPS Team expects to schedule an additional meeting and a counterproposal from CalHR and CDPH next week to, hopefully, finalize this Side Letter agreement.

Thank You for Your Continued Support. The CAPS Team wants to thank you for your continued engagement, and encourages you to support the bargaining process. Please consider assisting the CAPS Team in their efforts by writing letters to CalHR and submitting them to CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) to be reviewed and shared with CalHR. Find more information about this request here.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Committee

December 8, 2020

Bargaining Team Meets. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR again last week to continue negotiations for a successor contract. The meeting began with a discussion of the State’s updated financial forecast for next fiscal year given recent news of a financial windfall, which led to additional discussions about the Unit 10 salary lags.

Department of Finance Questions Remain. During the communications loop in, the CAPS Team queried the Department of Finance (DOF) representative about the recently reported $26 billion “windfall” of additional tax revenue projected for next fiscal year’s budget. The CAPS Team asked if the unexpected windfall changed the outlook for ending the Personal Leave Program (PLP 2020), funding the deferred 5% General Salary Increase (GSI), and most importantly, the possibility of correcting Unit 10’s salary lags. The DOF representative explained that while the $26 billion was a welcome development for the State, it did not significantly change this year’s fiscal outlook, or next year’s, as the State’s operating budget still has a structural deficit, even after taking into account savings from PLP 2020 and deferred employee raises. The CAPS Team also pressed the DOF representative on what the Governor’s priorities are for the coming fiscal year, and if State Scientists are included. Once again, the CAPS Team did not hear that science was a priority. The DOF representative also stated that relevant information from the Bargaining Sessions is shared with DOF management, but they have not heard details from the Governor’s office about the budget.

Legislative Analyst’s Office Past Findings Support CAPS’ Arguments. The CAPS Team provided CalHR with additional information about Unit 10’s salary history: specifically, two Fiscal Analysis Reports that were produced by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) for past Unit 10 contracts. The August 2014 Report, which was released shortly after the Like Pay for Like Work raises for supervisors was funded, states that, “…many Unit 10 managers and supervisors will receive large pay increases- between 18 percent and 43 percent-as a result of a recent court decision. The combination of these factors likely will affect management and rank-and-file pay differentials. We advise the Legislature to monitor these changes in salaries and try to maintain appropriate differentials between rank-and-file and managerial classifications.”

The CAPS Team also shared information from the 2018 LAO Fiscal Analysis Report for Unit 10, which includes a statement about parity issues, “There are a number of classifications represented by Unit 10 that are similar to classifications represented by Unit 9 (professional engineers). There have been issues in the past with retaining Unit 10 members as they are drawn to higher compensation levels provided by the Unit 9 classifications.”

Based on these findings by the State’s LAO, the CAPS Team added additional salary options based on the LAO’s reports. After presenting these additional story items and options, the CalHR Team remained silent and as with past Bargaining Sessions, did not state the Administration agrees that Unit 10 has salary lags. The CAPS Team will continue providing salary related information, and persist in our pursuit of resolving this long-standing pay inequity issue.

CalHR Discusses Expanding Savings Plus Options. CalHR brought in their own subject matter expert to discuss potentially expanding members’ options for transferring vacation and/or annual leave hours to a Savings Plus 457(b) and/or 401(k) plan. They passed proposals, which are under review by the CAPS Team.

Proposals Passed, Sections Tentatively Agreed To. The CAPS Team passed several more proposals for CalHR to review. You can view them here. The CAPS Team and the State also Tentatively Agreed (TA’d) to six sections of our successor MOU. You can view those here.

Another Member Letter Shared. The CAPS Team received another letter from a CAPS Member, detailing the issues they face due to Unit 10’s salary issue. It was shared with CalHR during the morning loop-in. You can read it here.

Your Continued Support Is Very Appreciated and Meaningful. The CAPS Team thanks you for your continued support, and asks that you please consider writing more letters to CalHR and submitting them to the CAPS Team (caps@capsscientists.org) to be reviewed and shared with CalHR. Find more information about this request here.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Committee

November 24, 2020

Bargaining Continues. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR this week, transitioning to the next Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) topic: the High Cost of Living in California, known as Geographic Pay (Geo Pay). However our discussion on salaries are not over. Due to the calculations and evaluations done by the State, items with a financial component are typically resolved last, and this time is no different. The CAPS Team will continue to provide information related to salaries, add items to our salary story, share letters from our membership, and continue to add options throughout this bargaining round.

CA Coastal Management Agency Chairs Letter Shared. The CAPS Team shared a January 2019 letter to Governor Gavin Newsom and CalHR from three California Coastal Management Agency Chairs: R. Zachary Wasserman, Chair of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission; Douglas Bosco, Chair of the California State Coastal Conservancy; and Dayna Bochco, Chair of the California Coastal Commission. The letter urged the Governor to consider geographically disparate pay structures for employees throughout the State and also provided compelling reasons why geographic pay is needed in California. You can view the letter here.

Discussions Regarding High Cost of Living. As mentioned, this week’s IBB session focused mostly on the high cost of living in California. The CAPS Team gave a presentation on the Federal Locality Pay structure that already exists for California and provided examples of the impacts of working in high-cost areas has on members. CalHR and the CAPS Team discussed what each group’s interests are with respect to the high cost of living in California. Notably, CAPS and CalHR had mostly mutual interests. For example, both CalHR and CAPS have an interest in improving the recruitment and retention of State Scientists; ensuring a stable workforce; reducing the emissions contributing to climate change; increasing diversity within the unit; maintaining regional offices; and helping the State become the employer of choice in high-cost regions for highly skilled, qualified scientists.

Potential Options Discussed. Adhering to the IBB process, the teams discussed possible options that centered around providing a geographic pay (Geo Pay) differential to counties and locations where scientists work with a high cost of living. A range of options were discussed, from following the federal locality pay model to focusing on offices with recruitment and retention issues due to the high cost of living. It was clear the State remains concerned with implementing any financial items prior to 2022.

Discussion Surrounding Positional Proposals. During the last meeting, the CAPS Team provided CalHR with 13 proposals for rollovers or changes to existing sections of the CAPS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). CalHR requested more information, background, and clarification for some of the proposals the CAPS Team submitted during past meetings, and Tentatively Agreed to six of them. Additionally, due to the virtual nature of Bargaining, a confirmation of the rollover sections previously Tentatively Agreed to from October 14th was read aloud for the record.

Department of Finance (DOF) Representative Confirms Loop Outs. A portion of each bargaining session has been dedicated to a “loop in” and “loop out” session, to facilitate better communications between CalHR and the CAPS Team on what information is being shared with their constituents, and the feedback both parties are receiving. During this week’s “loop in” session, a DOF supervisor confirmed that they were familiar with the discussions and information shared at the Bargaining Table, thanks to the loop outs the CalHR Team’s DOF representative has been providing.

Member Letters Shared. The CAPS Team has been asking for your support in writing letters so the Administration can hear directly from the union membership on the impacts of the Unit’s salary inequity. The letters received so far have detailed the salary-related issues you and your colleagues face each and every day, the impacts to your programs and your agencies’ abilities to meet their missions and recruit and retain scientists. This week, the CAPS Team shared more member letters with CalHR. The letters were from members from the following Departments: Central Valley Flood Protection Board; California Department of Pesticide Regulation; California Department of Food and Agriculture; and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. You can review them here. You can help by submitting your own letters to caps@capsscientists.org.

Contact Tracing Bilingual Pay Meet-and-Confer Scheduled. Several weeks ago, the CAPS Team passed a counterproposal surrounding a bilingual pay differential for employees currently redirected to Contact Tracing duties. CalHR notified CAPS that since the item was potentially retroactive to CAPS’ expired (but still in effect) MOU, the item needed to be negotiated outside the current negotiations for a successor agreement. As such, a separate Meet-and-Confer has been scheduled for mid-December. Stay tuned.

Next Meeting Scheduled for December. Due to the Thanksgiving Holiday, the CAPS Team will next meet with CalHR during the first week of December. Please consider assisting the CAPS Team in their efforts by writing letters to CalHR and submitting them to CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) to be reviewed and shared with CalHR.  Find more information about this request here.

November 17, 2020

Looping In. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met again with CalHR to continue discussions surrounding the most important topic for CAPS, salaries. The day began with a discussion, coined a “loop-in,” where CalHR and CAPS shared feedback from each other’s constituents after the last meeting. CAPS shared a grassroots letter, signed by more than 225 State Scientists from throughout the State, that had been sent directly to the Governor. As it turns out, the letter had already been shared with our CalHR representative by their management. One phrase seemed to strike a chord with CalHR – the letter states that the “CalHR Bargaining Team continues to ‘plead poverty’.” While the financial outlook has changed since January, State Scientists’ salary lags have not changed, nor has the need to address the Unit’s salary lags.

CalHR’s loop-in informed the CAPS Team that the information shared about our Unit’s historical vertical and horizontal salary structure is currently being evaluated by CalHR. The CAPS Team is pleased CalHR is more engaged and offered to assist CalHR in the review.

During the loop-in, the CAPS Team asked whether Governor Newsom is aware of our salary lag and if the CalHR team has shared information with him about recruitment and retention issues facing Agencies that employ State Scientists. While the CalHR representatives could not confirm the information had reached the Governor, they stated that information shared during each bargaining session is being shared with the appropriate Administration Officials – the Director of CalHR and the Director of the Department of Finance, who attend higher-level Administration meetings.

More Options. CAPS and CalHR again tried to identify options that would satisfy the interests of both parties. Of note, CalHR presented vacancy rate numbers for Energy Commission Specialists and Energy Analysts, positions at the California Energy Commission. They noted vacancy rates for these Unit 10 classifications have been above the State standard for several years.This served as more evidence to the CAPS Team that the CalHR Total Comp Report is flawed because it generalizes information and tends to miss critical issues within the Unit. CAPS, as a unit, is much too diverse to fit into the Total Comp Report survey design and criteria.

The CAPS Team added additional and more specific salary options, including salary increases required to correct the historical salary relationships as has been presented by the CAPS Team. CalHR found the numbers staggering, especially when facing pandemic budget concerns. The CAPS Team noted several counterpoints: that while the percentages may seem large, past Administrations did not address the Unit’s salary lag which has exacerbated the problem; that CAPS is a smaller unit, so the real dollar amounts are smaller than what would be needed to provide significantly lower percentage increases to other units; if the Administration doesn’t address the Unit’s salary lag, these pay lags will only continue to grow, and become more costly; and finally, that money shouldn’t be the only consideration.

The CAPS Team continues to hear from CalHR that money – not necessarily science nor equity – is the driving interest for the Administration. The CAPS Team continues to emphasize that there is a cost to the people and State of California if the salary lags are not addressed: scientific programs, Departments, and Agencies will be unable to fulfill their mission which will have long-term and costly consequences.

Proposals Passed. Per CAPS previous bargaining updates, CAPS and CalHR are using a “hybrid bargaining model” in this round of bargaining, and as such, some proposals are being passed in the traditional positional bargaining method. During last week’s meeting, CAPS passed 13 proposals on a variety of Memorandum of Understanding sections. You can view the proposals here.

Overall Sentiment. For the first time, CalHR seemed to be more willing to engage in a conversation about the Unit’s salary issues. CAPS and CalHR had meaningful discussions where it was evident that CalHR wants to better understand “CAPS’ perspective,” which is refreshing since these open discussions hadn’t occurred in past rounds of bargaining for many years. While there was consequential dialogue, CalHR once again declined to agree that the Unit has salary lags. The CAPS Team will meet again with CalHR this week. Please consider writing letters to CalHR and submitting them to CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) to be reviewed and shared with CalHR. Find more information about this request here.

Other Important Items of Note:

FlexElect Medical Reimbursement Account (MRA) and Dependent Care Reimbursement Account (DCRA). The deadline for State Scientists to make a one-time mid-year enrollment change to their MRA and/or DCRA elections for the 2020 plan year has passed. However, any employees who previously cancelled or reduced their election to $0 will have until November 30, 2020, to amend their prior election to the minimum amount ($10 per month) if they wish to do so. Employees who do not amend their prior elections will only be eligible to incur expenses until the cancellation effective date for the MRA or until December 31, 2020 for the DCRA.

More information is available under the National Emergency Relief and Guidelines for Employee Benefit Plans. In order to make changes for the 2021 plan year, employees will need to experience a permitting event. A list of permitting events can be found here: FlexElect Program Permitting Event Codes/Dates Chart.

Currently, IRS guidelines prohibit retroactive election changes or refunds of remaining balances in an MRA and/or DCRA for the 2020 plan year. If there is any change to the IRS policy, CAPS will share that with members.

Member needs Your Help. Longtime CAPS Member and Local Rep, Beverly Hill, has requested catastrophic leave donations in order to continue receiving pay and benefits. Section 3.10 of the CAPS MOU allows transfer of leave credits as catastrophic leave: CTO, Personal Leave, Annual Leave, Vacation, Personal Day, and/or Holiday Credit. If donating Personal Holidays, they must be donated in whole-day increments per the donating employee’s time base. All other donations must be made in a minimum of one-hour (1.00) increments. Sick leave cannot be donated. If you are able to donate time, please fill out this form and submit it to your Department’s Personnel Specialist.

November 3, 2020

How You Can Be Involved:  Last week the CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) asked for your help to achieve our salary goals by having the Administration hear directly from you, the union membership, by writing a letter to the Administration.  We have already started receiving letters and want to thank those members for taking the time to make their voices heard.  The CAPS Team will share these letters with CalHR at our next Bargaining Session on November 12th, where the CAPS Team will continue presenting on the impacts of the salary inequities on California and Unit 10 Scientists.  If you have time, please consider writing letters to the Administration and submitting them to CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) to be reviewed and shared with CalHR.  Find more information about this request here.

CAPS supports member-led efforts to make our voices heard, because the members are the union, and our power is greatest when we stand united together.

  • A CAPS Local Rep, Sammantha Mello, has created a Change.Org petition, demanding from Governor Newsom equitable pay for State Scientists, and highlights the importance of the work State Scientists perform.  If you’d like to read and sign Ms. Mello’s petition, click here.

Be an Informed Member: Bargaining, The Basics. Part 5: The History of CAPS.

The California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS) formed in 1984 as an independent union by State Scientists, for State Scientists, with the premise that we can best represent the unique interests of State Scientists.

At first, Unit 10 was part of a conglomerate union that represented tens of thousands of state employees in nearly a dozen bargaining units.  But soon those early leaders observed that State Scientists’ collective voice was drowned out by the voices of larger bargaining units in the conglomerate.  State Scientists voted to form their own union and established CAPS as their exclusive representative.

That is why CAPS represents State Scientists and only State Scientists in the workplace, in the Legislature, and, when necessary, in the courts.  CAPS has always bargained for equitable and competitive salaries, battled to protect pension and health benefits, and defended members’ rights to continued state employment.

CAPS is committed to three leading principles:

Professionalism:  CAPS is committed to helping individual scientists fulfill their professional needs as members of the world community of science and occupational responsibilities to the State of California and its residents.

Independence:  CAPS members and its leaders are pledged to pursuing professional, scientific courses of action without regard to political influences.

Professional advocacy:  CAPS takes a firm but responsible approach to representing its members in legislative matters, contract bargaining, and individual personnel actions.

Backed by the collective power of California State Scientists, CAPS will always bargain for fair and equitable pay, improved benefits, and other enhanced terms of employment for Unit 10 employees.

Other Important Items of Note: 

CAPSule on the Web.  The October issue of CAPSule is posed on the CAPS Website. Access it here.

October 27, 2020

Bargaining Team Meetings Continue.  The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met last week with CalHR, where both teams again discussed Government Code (GC) 19826; identified separate and mutual “interests,” and began to come up with “options,” or potential solutions to the salary issue.  The Department of Finance representative gave an update on the State Budget and the budget process, as well.

CAPS Team Shares Agency Secretaries’ Request.  The CAPS Team shared copies of letters that had been sent to the Director of CalHR, Eraina Ortega, written by the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, Wade Crowfoot, and the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, Jared Blumenfeld, requesting that CalHR work with Bargaining Unit 10 to create a new bargaining agreement that secures equitable compensation for State Scientists.  These letters emphasize the vital work State Scientists perform, how recruiting and retaining talented scientists is essential to their agencies’ missions, and outlines how Unit 10’s salary inequities are negatively impacting the agency’s ability to meet their mission statement.

Discussions Surround Application of GC 19826.  The CAPS Team revisited part of last week’s conversation, requesting that a clarification be made for the record on CalHR’s insinuation that Government Code (GC) 19826 applies only to excluded employees, and does not extend to Rank and File.  The CAPS Team explained that State government codes apply to state government, and therefore all state service civil employees, including Rank and File.

At issue was the language in GC 19826 subsection (a), which states, in part “The department shall establish and adjust salary ranges for each class of position in the state civil service subject to any merit limits contained in Article VII of the California Constitution. The salary range shall be based on the principle that like salaries shall be paid for comparable duties and responsibilities. In establishing or changing these ranges, consideration shall be given to the prevailing rates for comparable service in other public employment and in private business. . .” and GC 19826 subsection (b), which states “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the department shall not establish, adjust, or recommend a salary range for any employees in an appropriate unit where an employee organization has been chosen as the exclusive representative pursuant to [Government Code] Section 3520.5.”

The discussion ended in agreement that GC 19826(a) does apply to Rank and File State employees, and GC 19826(b) simply reflects that the State must collectively bargain with the appropriate employee union to establish, adjust or recommend salary ranges, pursuant to the Dills Act.  In addition, GC 19826 subsection (d) states that if provisions of the GC are in conflict with any provisions of an MOU, the MOU is the controlling document.  So the fact remains that GC 19826 does inherently apply to Rank and File, and not just to excluded employees, which CalHR acknowledged.

Department of Finance Presents.  Last Bargaining Session the CAPS Team asked the Department of Finance (DOF) representative to go over the budget timeline and process, and answer preliminary questions the CAPS Team had on the budget.  DOF discussed budgeting timelines, the current outlook for next year’s budget, and outside factors that could potentially change the budgetary outlook (e.g., Federal funding).  DOF stressed the need for tempered expectations, as a large budget deficit is still predicted for next fiscal year, though some factors, like the federal election, could potentially result in additional stimulus monies that could change the State’s financial forecast.  The DOF has begun working on the 2021-2022 FY budget, but it will not be released until January 10, 2021.  After taxes are due (April 15), DOF will work on updating the budget for the May Revise.  The CAPS Team asked several questions, including whether the employee compensation line item had been budgeted, to which DOF replied it was too early for that.  The CAPS Team also asked what the Administration’s priorities are for next fiscal year and who decides what they are.  DOF informed CAPS that the governor’s priorities are generally reflected in the budget and for Governor Newsom, those have historically been homelessness, housing, education, and wildfires.  However, even after asking, the CAPS Team did not hear that science was a clear priority for the budget.  The DOF representative also clarified that the higher-level discussions surrounding the budget involve the Director of Finance, Keely Bosler.  The DOF bargaining representative’s duties are to ensure that information from CAPS’ bargaining sessions are shared with those, like Director Bosler, who attend those budget meetings.

Teams Identified Interests.  The CAPS Team and CalHR identified and shared their separate and mutual interests with regard to salaries.  Both teams identified a host of mutual interests, including: ensuring California environmental and public health agencies are able to fulfill their missions; improving the morale and productivity of Rank and File State Scientists; and recognizing the high level of expertise that is required of all Unit 10 scientists, especially in classes that require advanced degrees and/or licenses.  However, of note were the separate interests identified.

CalHR’s team identified the State’s separate interests, including: considering the fiscal situation, ensuring employees are working within their classification, and ensuring that the State is able to recruit employees who can deal with serious environmental and public health and safety issues.

The CAPS Team identified several union-interests, including: being valued the same as our engineers and supervising counterparts; making the State an employer of choice for scientists; preventing the loss of institutional knowledge; and minimizing project delays related to turn-over, among others.  It was striking that these union interests were not considered mutual interests by the State.

Collective Team Identifies Potential Options.  As one team, CAPS and CalHR began to identify “options” that could potentially satisfy the interests of one or both parties.  During this process for Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB), different options are listed without evaluating or agreeing to them.  The options identified ranged from pay parity in 2020 to raises deferred beyond 2022, with a variety of other options in-between to address the issue.  Unlike positional bargaining there are no formal proposals passed between parties while identifying initial options.  After options are exhausted, the next step is for the teams to jointly work to whittle down the options and begin to evaluate their plausibility for inclusion in a final agreement.  CalHR has noted that the Director and other Administration management will need to be apprised of the options prior to the start of the evaluation process.  This is not typical of the IBB process and will likely shift the process towards a more positional approach.

Looking Forward.  The CAPS Team will not meet with CalHR again until mid-November to continue bargaining for State Scientist salaries and a successor MOU.  But in the meantime, we need your help to achieve our salary goals.  The CAPS Team will continue presenting on the impacts of salary inequity for State Scientists, but the Administration also needs to hear it directly from the union membership.  If you have time, please consider writing letters to CalHR and submitting them to CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) to be reviewed and shared with CalHR.  Find more information about this request here.

As always, please continue to share your thoughts with the Bargaining Team by emailing CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) or submitting proposals via the template available to members here.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

October 20, 2020

Busy Week in Bargaining.  Last week’s Bargaining Session covered a lot of ground.  Topics of discussion included Unit 10 salaries, CalHR’s policies, the Like Pay for Like Work (LPLW) Lawsuit for State Scientist supervisors, and Government Code 19826 – the violation of which prompted the 2008 LPLW suit.  The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) and CalHR (representing Governor Newsom’s administration) also reviewed a possible side letter agreement regarding contact tracing and bilingual pay.

Unit 10 Salaries.  The parties continued the discussion about the history of Unit 10 salary relationships.  The CAPS Team once again emphasized that despite the break in the historical vertical and horizontal compensation relationships within Unit 10 and between Unit 10 and Unit 9, nothing has changed in the duties or responsibilities of these classifications.  The State expects similar work, but has not provided similar compensation.  During the salary history discussion, the CAPS Team made a point of sharing with CalHR a letter that was sent to CAPS by State Scientists working in DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products program.  You can review their letter here.

CalHR More Active in Last Week’s Bargaining Session.  As the salary discussions continued, CalHR was more engaged and there was a more contentious feeling at the table.  While they still did not acknowledge the salary lag, they did acknowledge that there has been a disruption in terms of CAPS’ historical salary relationships among classes throughout Unit 10.  However, CalHR took issue with CAPS’ perception and/or insinuation that the State failed to apply the LPLW lawsuit and decision to Rank and File scientists, rather than simply following the ruling.  The CAPS Team agreed that the State had followed the ruling, but not the spirit and intent of the suit; that the same LPLW argument also applies for Rank and File employees, especially since the case was based on a study of work performed by both Excluded and Rank and File scientists.  CalHR stated the State was under no obligation to adjust the Rank and File salaries due to the LPLW decision and implementation.  In response, the CAPS Team highlighted CalHR’s Internal Salary Relationships Statement on their website that indicates CalHR looks at both the horizontal and vertical relationships when considering salary adjustments.  The CAPS Team also contended that by avoiding the issue for this long, the historical disruption has created real, tangible, unsettling effects both in and outside of state service for State Scientists, state departments, and for the State’s stakeholders and citizens.

Although the CAPS Team spent several hours last week rebuking, debunking, and disproving the utility of the Total Compensation (Total Comp) Report, CalHR continued to rely on cherry-picked data from the Total Comp Report.  The CAPS Team will continue to call out the inconsistencies and flaws in the Total Comp Report.  To read last week’s Bargaining Update about the Total Comp Report please click here.

Though CalHR was more vocal at the table this week, they primarily reiterated their concerns about costs.  CalHR emphasized the amount of funds required if they were to agree to restore historical salary relationships among Unit 10 classifications.  The CAPS Team emphasized that past Administrations have not addressed the Unit’s salary lags, and the costs may seem significant, but it does not take into account the unaccounted cost to the State – which are also significant – if the issue is not addressed.  Further, the vital work State Scientists do protecting California will suffer and have long term and costly consequences.  As CalHR continues to focus primarily on costs, the CAPS Team is starting to question if science is actually a priority for the current administration.

“Hybrid” Bargaining Model.  CalHR stated the type of bargaining CAPS and CalHR are participating in appears to be a hybrid model, of both positional and interest-based bargaining (IBB), and not an exclusively IBB model.  The CAPS Team agreed, as not all Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) sections will be discussed using the IBB process, and some have already begun to be bargained via the positional model – i.e. the rollovers discussed in last week’s emails, as well as this week’s side letter agreement proposal, passed by the CAPS Team.

Proposal for Contact Tracers.  Last week, the CAPS Team passed a formal proposal to CalHR for a side letter agreement to secure bilingual pay for State Scientists who use that skill while temporarily redirected to Contact Tracing.  The proposal also aimed to codify for future considerations many of the processes already in place concerning Contact Tracing work.  You can read the proposal here.

More Rollovers Passed.  The CAPS Team passed a counter-proposal for eight rollovers, including some sections with “clean up” language to ensure the MOU language is gender-neutral, wherever possible.

This Week.  The CAPS Team plans to meet with CalHR again this week to continue bargaining for State Scientists’ salaries.  As always, please continue to share your thoughts with the Bargaining Team by emailing CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org) or submitting proposals via the template available to members here.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President
Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President
Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director
Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director
David Rist
CAPS District IV Director
Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Be an Informed Membership: Bargaining, The Basics.  Part 4: Bargaining Methods.

For decades, CalHR and employee unions have used “positional bargaining” to reach new labor agreements.  To illustrate this method, imagine two people want the same orange.  Positional bargaining might lead to one individual taking the entire orange or dividing the orange so that each person receives half.

This simple example shows how positional bargaining produces win-lose or zero-sum outcomes.  The bargaining parties are adversaries.  They stake out their positions (what they want) and then engage in trade-offs.  Each side focuses on “winning” what they want and assumes those victories require the other side “losing” what they want.  In positional bargaining, compromise comes from “give and take” negotiation to meet at a midpoint — and often leaves both sides unsatisfied.

This year, CAPS and CalHR agreed to engage in a different approach called interest-based bargaining (IBB).  This method requires both sides to consider the reasons for positions and encourages creative win-win outcomes through collaboration.

During this round of collective bargaining, the CAPS Bargaining Team concluded IBB may be a more effective method for bargaining a successor MOU.  The CAPS Team presented the idea to CalHR, which accepted CAPS’ offer.  So IBB, instead of traditional methods that can be more adversarial, is setting the tone for many of the sections to be discussed for contract bargaining.

October 13, 2020

Doctorate level SMEs Present.  The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR again last week to continue bargaining a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU); again focusing on CAPS’ long-standing salary lags.  These discussions build upon the previous session, which focused on our “Master’s Level” Benchmark Classification, Research Scientist III, and the meeting prior which focused on the “Bachelor’s Level” Benchmark Classification, Environmental Scientist, where Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) gave presentations.  You can view these previous SME presentations on the CAPS website here.

Last week’s meeting featured our “Doctorate” and “Doctor of Veterinary Medicine” Benchmark Classifications, Staff Toxicologist and Veterinarian, respectively.  These classifications represent Unit 10 classifications where the minimum educational requirement is a doctorate degree.  Two CAPS members served as SMEs and made presentations: Dr. Valerie Hanley (Staff Toxicologist [Specialist]- DTSC, Sacramento) and Dr. Edie Marshall (Veterinarian [Specialist] – CDFA, Sacramento).  Their presentations focused on their extensive education, the high level of consequence of their duties, the critical work they do for the State, and why fair salaries are essential to ensuring that the State can successfully recruit and retain experienced scientists, which it cannot do at current salary levels or ranges.

CAPS Team Presents.  The SME presentations were complimented by presentations from the CAPS Team that focused on the internal horizontal and vertical salary relationships that existed prior to implementing the Like Pay for Like Work (LPLW) decision in July of 2014.  The CAPS Team reiterated how the narrow application of the LPLW decision, and the more recent Special Salary Adjustment (SSA) for select Toxicologist Supervisory Classifications in 2018, further disrupted the internal salary relationships and necessitate a Unit-wide salary adjustment.

The CAPS Team also presented salary data for similar positions in State service, local government, federal government, and the private sector, to demonstrate the large salary lags and why the State has difficulty attracting and retaining the scientific talent it needs.  The CAPS Team emphasized that State Scientists are the behind-the-scenes heroes protecting Californian’s health, food supply, and critical natural resources, and that if the Administration does value and wants to prioritize science, this means investing in State Scientists and addressing CAPS’ long standing salary lags now.

CalHR SMEs Present.  Six months prior to bargaining, the State is legally required to develop a Total Compensation Report (Total Comp Report), per Government Code 19826 and the annual Budget Act, to compare state employees’ total compensation with comparable occupations in the private and public sector.  CAPS, and other unions, did not have input on how this Total Comp Report is developed.  CalHR had SMEs from their Economic Research Division present and explain their Total Comp Report as it pertains to Unit 10.  The CAPS Team pointed out to CalHR that the Total Comp Report is deeply flawed and should not be the basis when considering Unit 10’s salary issues. In particular, the CAPS team highlighted several issues and questions of concern, including but not limited to:

  • How and why was the data selected, used, and analyzed;
  • Why certain “occupational groups” were selected and why Unit 10 classifications that do different work, and have vastly different minimal education requirements, were assigned to these groupings;
  • Why years of experience was not included;
  • Why supervisory classifications were included, given contract negotiations only cover rank-and-file employees;
  • Why a median salary comparison, rather than a mean, mode, or a 95% upper confidence limit of the mean salary comparison, was used;
  • Why the lack of standard deviations or other estimates of salary variability further limits comparisons, especially between groups with different minimal educational requirements and years of experience;
  • Why only private sector employers with at least 500 employees was used;
  • Why there was not a federal government comparable classification for Epidemiologists;
  • Why the Total Comp Report lacked comparable private and federal sector jobs in the Sacramento Region for all occupational groups, yet more than 50% of State Scientists work in Sacramento;
  • Why the Total Comp Report lacked comparable University of California and other academic classifications.

The CAPS Team made it clear to CalHR the Total Comp Report has significant flaws, and cannot be relied on as a basis for determining Unit 10 salary lags.  The Total Comp Report is also missing key data and information needed for CAPS to repeat and verify CalHR’s findings.  While CalHR did not agree that the report was deeply flawed, they did agree that the Total Comp Report is limited in scope.  Additionally, CalHR recognized that the requirement to look at internal salary relationships is codified in Government Code 19826, and requested CAPS provide them the salary comparison data from CAPS presentations.  The CalHR Team again remained silent on the Unit 10 salary lags and did not provide any acknowledgement, verbal or otherwise, that there is a serious salary issue for Unit 10, and once again brought up the current financial situation.  The CAPS Team emphasized the clear equal or greater cost to the State if the compensation issues are not fixed now, then the vital work State Scientists do protecting California will suffer and have long term and costly consequences.

More Rollovers Shared with CAPS.  Finally, CalHR sent CAPS another list of Rollover Sections they propose be maintained in the next contract.  The CAPS Team is currently reviewing CalHR’s list and will respond to it at the next meeting.

Looking Forward.  CAPS and CalHR will next meet on October 14th where both teams will continue to discuss salaries.  Additionally, CAPS will be discussing a proposed side letter to ensure members redirected to Contact Tracing can qualify for Bilingual Pay.  Please continue to share your thoughts with the Bargaining Team by emailing CAPS (caps@capsscientists.org).

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President
Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President
Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director
Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director
David Rist
CAPS District IV Director
Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Be an Informed Membership: Bargaining, The Basics. Part 3: The Bureaucracy 

For nearly four decades, California state government rank-and-file employees have collectively bargained for wages, hours, and other terms of employment.  For 30 years, the Department of Personnel Administration represented the State.  Now the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) fulfills that role.

CalHR is the governor’s de facto personnel branch.  As a “control department,” it develops human resources policies for the State workforce under gubernatorial control and enforces those policies.  It also leads the State’s Bargaining Team, which comprises staff from departments that employ Unit 10 employees, depending on the bargaining agenda.

The state Department of Finance (DOF) also sends representatives to the table.  DOF is the governor’s business accounting arm and, like CalHR, it is a control department.  It handles budgeting and financial forecasting for state agencies, departments, boards, and commissions – including personnel costs – and it has the power to approve or deny expenditures and conduct audits.  This authority gives DOF considerable influence over state spending, including allocations for employee salaries, health care, and retirement benefits.

Other Important Items of Note: 

CAPSule on the Website. The September issue of CAPSule is posed on the CAPS Website here.

October 6, 2020

Master’s Level SMEs Present. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR again last week to continue bargaining a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU); salaries remain the focus of discussions.  The CAPS Team continued to focus on educating the new CalHR representatives on the long-standing Unit 10 salary lags, the impacts they are having on California’s scientific programs, and the urgent need to remedy the salary issue immediately.  The discussions built on our September 16th bargaining session, where our “Bachelor’s Level” Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) gave presentations.  All four presentations from that session can be viewed here.

Last week’s meeting featured our “Master’s Level” benchmark classification, Research Scientist III, which represents classifications within Unit 10 where the minimum educational requirement is a master’s degree.  Two CAPS members served as SMEs and made presentations: Hilary Rosen (Research Scientist III – California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Los Angeles), and Jason Van Court (Research Scientist III – Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) Sacramento).  Their presentations focused on the extensive training and experience they acquired prior to entering state service, the vital work they perform protecting California’s public health – including their work on California’s COVID-19 pandemic response – and the serious impacts the on-going salary lags are having at their workplaces (e.g. decreased morale, a sense of being expendable, departures to higher paying jobs, etc.).  They also highlighted how they, as Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)-exempt employees, do not receive compensation for the many hours of overtime they have worked on the state’s COVID-19 response.  In spite of all of this, they also expressed a real appreciation and dedication for their jobs and emphasized how critical their work is for California’s citizens.  A video of their presentations will be available soon.

During our next bargaining session, CAPS will focus on our final benchmark classifications, Staff Toxicologist and Veterinarians, to represent the “Doctorate Level” and “Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Level” benchmark.

CAPS Team Presents, As Well.  Presentations by the CAPS Team focused on educating CalHR on some of the highly specialized classifications within Unit 10 and further explaining the internal horizontal salary relationships that existed prior to implementing the Like Pay for Like Work (LPLW) decision in July of 2014. For approximately 30 years prior to 2014, salaries between all classifications within Unit 10 related to each other, based on the minimum education requirement for a classification, the level of responsibility required, and experience and technical expertise.  However, these internal salary relationships have remained broken ever since the last administration adjusted salaries for supervisors and managers in certain classifications pursuant to the LPLW court finding that similar work requires similar pay.

In addition to highlighting the disrupted internal salary relationships between classifications, the CAPS Team also presented salary comparisons between Unit 10 Research Scientists and their Federal counterparts.  This effectively demonstrated the large salary lag that exists with other equivalent public sector scientists and why the state has difficulty attracting and retaining the scientific talent it needs.  In addition to being paid much less than their Federal counterparts, a majority of the “Master’s Level” classifications work in high-cost areas of the state, such as our scientists who work at the CDPH Richmond Campus.  These scientists, along with many other Unit 10 scientists who work in high-cost areas, do not receive geographic pay; whereas all Federal employees do.  Geographic pay is an Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) topic and will be discussed in depth at future meetings.

The CAPS Team also emphasized how Work Week Group E (FLSA-exempt) was not created for months- or years-long emergency situations, but rather as a way to handle the ebb and flow of day to day work fluctuations.  Some CAPS members have been routinely working well over 40 hours a week on emergency responses for extended periods of time and do not receive overtime like employees in other non-Work Week Group E classifications.  This is another IBB topic for discussion at future meetings.

The CAPS Team also continued to add to our salary story, by emphasizing the vital work State Scientists perform, the educational and technical expertise requirements within our Unit and the critical need for experienced State Scientists.  The CAPS Team also presented anecdotal information we hear from our members regarding recruitment and retention issues and how it negatively impacts the programs in which they work.

CalHR’s Contributions.  While CalHR’s Team listened to the presentations, and asked questions of the presenters; their contributions to the story were minimal. The CalHR Team remained silent on the Unit 10 salary lag and didn’t provide any formal acknowledgement, verbal or otherwise, that there is a serious salary issue in Unit 10.  Finally, CalHR’s Team stated again that the State expects a multi-year deficit, and that new projections on the state’s budget likely will not be released until January 2021.

Roll Overs.  Finally, both teams made progress toward a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by approving a packet of 49 sections of the contract that would remain the same, or roll over.  You can view the list of rolled over sections here.

Be an Informed Membership: Bargaining, The Basics. Part 2: 

The imbalance of power between government employers and employees sparked a law that gave California’s local- and regional-government employees the right to organize and collectively bargain in 1968.  The Ralph C. Dills Act granted similar rights to rank-and-file state employees in 1977.

Before that, the California Legislature decided what to spend on state workforce salaries and benefits with no employee input.  State employers addressed workplace inadequacies only if managers agreed the concerns had merit.  Federal laws and the State civil service system provided some protections against employer abuses.  However, it was (and still is) challenging for an individual, alone, to navigate the process to protect themselves.

The Dills Act contains language that explains the law’s intention to create a more balanced system between state government and its employees:

  •  “… to promote full communication between the state and its employees by providing a reasonable method of resolving disputes … “
  • “… to promote the improvement of personnel management and employer-employee relations … by providing a uniform basis for recognizing the right of state employees to join organizations of their own choosing and be represented by those organizations … “
  • “…to foster peaceful employer-employee relations …”

Following several legal challenges, the Dills Act went into effect in 1981. Today, it continues to provide state employees a vital collective voice in their service to California.  CAPS is that voice for state scientists.  Our employer – the State of California – has a tremendous amount of power, but we can match that with people power of the union.  So, please help keep your union strong by committing to CAPS membership today!

In Solidarity,
CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus, Chair
CAPS President
Daniel Ellis
CAPS Vice President
Maureen Lee-Dutra
CAPS District II Director
Justin D. Garcia
CAPS District III Director
David Rist
CAPS District IV Director
Jimmy Spearow
CAPS At-Large Director

Other Important Updates.

Board of Directors’ Meeting Minutes Posted. Board of Directors’ Meeting Minutes Posted. The Draft Minutes from the August 22, 2020 Board of Directors’ Meeting are posted on the CAPS Website. View them here.

September 23, 2020

CAPS Starts With History. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR last week to resume bargaining on CAPS’ highest-priority issue, salaries.  The CAPS Team focused on educating the new Administration on our historical salary relationships, long standing salary lags, and how the break in these vertical and horizontal salary relationships have drastically impacted State Scientists.  This history, the impacts to California’s scientific programs, and the urgent need to remedy the salary lag immediately will be presented over several joint bargaining sessions in the upcoming weeks.  There are 81 classifications in our unit, so the CAPS Team is using “benchmark classifications” to represent all State Scientists within Unit 10.  These classifications were selected based on the minimal educational requirement and job-required responsibilities to reflect the complexity of the myriad of Unit 10 classifications.  Using benchmark classifications makes it easier for CalHR to understand the structure of our Unit, the specialized work State Scientists perform, and how the salary inequities affect State Scientists across all classifications.

The Presentations. The first of the benchmark classification is the Environmental Scientist (ES) series that represents classifications where the minimal educational requirement is a bachelor’s degree.  The CAPS Team invited four CAPS members to serve as Subject Matter Experts (SME): Dr. Simona Balan (Sr. ES (Specialist) – DTSC Berkeley); Dr. Chuck Striplen (ES – RWQCB – Sonoma); Esther Burkett (Sr. ES (Specialist) – CDFW Sacramento); and Tom Lanphar (Sr. ES (Specialist) – DTSC Berkeley). Each SME presented their job duties, their technical expertise, and why their scientific work is invaluable to California.  The presentations also highlighted the historical salary relationship and job duties between Environmental Scientists and Environmental Engineers in Unit 9, and the historical salary relationship and job duties between Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialists) and Senior Environmental Scientist (Supervisors).

The presentations by the CAPS Team focused on the justification for and the success of the Like Pay for Like Work (LPLW) case, and the issues that have resulted from the 2014 salary adjustment for 75% of supervisory and managerial State Scientists.  The basis of the LPLW lawsuit was based on Government Code 19826 which states “like salaries shall be paid for comparable duties and responsibilities,” which justified the resulting wage adjustments for the State Scientist supervisors who performed substantially the same duties as their engineering counterparts.  The suit was not filed on behalf of rank-and-file scientists, despite the data showing that job duties were the same for rank-and-file scientists and environmental engineers as well, due to the Dill’s Act which precluded the legal grounds to file suit.

The SME presentations also focused on the relationship between the two Senior Environmental Scientist parentheticals, where the SMEs emphasized the high-level of responsibility and technical expertise required for the class and the impact of the salary inequities.  The Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) and the Senior Environmental (Supervisor) classifications had been established as peer classes (one technical and one supervisory), which was reemphasized during the 2013 Environmental Scientist classification series update and class consolidation.  By adjusting salaries only for supervisors, and refusing to extend similar raises to rank-and-file in subsequent bargaining rounds, the previous Administration disrupted the long-standing horizontal relationship with the peer Specialist level and the vertical relationship with the supervisee ES level.  This created a perception that the Specialist parenthetical was no longer a peer class to the Supervisor parenthetical, and in essence demoted the Specialist level, which resulted in many departments restructuring reporting relationships, where many Specialists are now supervised by their peers.

The Discussion. CalHR listened as CAPS presented the Unit 10 salary history and asked clarifying questions, but CalHR did not indicate if the Administration agrees that there are salary lags or what those lags are.  After the presentations, CalHR and the CAPS Team continued our Interest Based Bargaining discussions to further develop the “story” for salary equity.  Though CalHR’s contributions to the story were limited, they state that another budget deficit is likely next fiscal year.  Both sides acknowledged that attempting to remedy the Unit 10 salary inequity in the midst of a pandemic and an economic recession will require developing more creative solutions.

CAPS and CalHR also discussed roll over proposals and general logistics regarding bargaining in a virtual format.  Roll overs are sections of the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that, if agreed to, would remain unchanged from our previous contract MOU.  One such proposal is Section 9.7, Formal Grievance – Step 1.

Moving Forward. At the next bargaining session CAPS will focus on the next benchmark classification, Research Scientist III, to represent the “Master’s Level.”   The “Bachelor’s Level” SME presentations will be posted on the CAPS website next week.

Be an Informed Membership: Bargaining, The Basics. Part 1: The Dills Act. 

The year was 1977.  Apple produced the first pre-assembled, mass-produced personal computer.  The first “Star Wars” movie broke box office records.  The space shuttle Enterprise passed its first flight test.

And for the first time, California state employees gained the right to organize with the enactment of the Ralph C. Dills Act.  The Legislature passed the law, which aimed to level the playing field between the government employer and its workforce by:

  • Granting rank-and-file employees the right to form, to join, to be represented by, and to participate in employee unions.
  • Creating processes for determining wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment for rank-and-file, supervisory and managerial employees.
  • Outlining good-faith rights and procedures, including full bargaining rights for rank-and-file employees.
  • Providing representational rights for supervisors and managers, but not full bargaining rights.
  • Creating the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to oversee compliance with the Dills Act.

The Dills Act allowed State Scientists to form the California Association of Professional Scientists as their exclusive representative for Bargaining Unit 10 employees.  That means only CAPS can bargain with the State of California for salaries, benefits, and working conditions for Unit 10 employees; enforce agreements with the State through the grievance process; and advocate for State Scientists’ occupational needs. The Dills Act made CAPS possible.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

September 1, 2020

Bargaining Continues. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR last week to set the agenda for future bargaining and come to agreement on which topics to bargain using the Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) process, since we cannot use the IBB process for every section of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The list of high-importance topics for consideration to use the IBB process includes, in no particular order: salaries; assignments to Incident Command Structures; Savings Plus Program; parental and family leave; retention of longtime employees; Alternate Range Criteria 40; educational pay; telework; return to work with consideration of COVID-19; geographical pay; California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) on-call program; hazardous work; travel reimbursements; and Department of Water Resources (DWR) operational availability.  The CAPS Bargaining Survey helped the CAPS Team identify and prioritize topics and sections of the MOU that would benefit from using the IBB approach.

During the meeting, the CAPS Team and CalHR provided a high-level summary on the story and interests for each of the topics, and jointly prioritized which topics to discuss at the beginning of contract negotiations.  A facilitator trained in the IBB process helped guide the discussion.

The parties agreed to focus first on salaries, CAPS’ top priority. The additional topics above will tentatively be bargained using the IBB process after the salaries. Other topics and the remainder of the MOU will likely be negotiated using the traditional positional bargaining process.

The CAPS Team came away from the meeting knowing we face a challenging time at the bargaining table, given the current economic crisis.  CalHR repeatedly expressed an interest in ensuring the state stays “fiscally responsible.” In-depth discussions surrounding the above topics have not taken place yet.  The CAPS Team is preparing to provide CalHR with as much of the history and data as possible to effectively demonstrate the important work of CAPS Scientists, and CAPS’ history of salary inequities, both via presentations, and with support of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from the membership.

The next joint meeting is scheduled for the third week in September. Stay tuned.

If you have any suggestions for changes or additions to the CAPS MOU that you’d like the CAPS Team to consider, please fill out the Bargaining Proposal Template and return it to caps@capsscientists.org.

Bargaining Updates are sent only to dues-paying CAPS Members. Encourage your nonmember colleagues to join today to ensure they, too, can stay informed.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

August 18, 2020

Bargaining Re-Commences. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR last week to resume bargaining for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to replace the currently in-effect but expired 2018-2020 MOU. This meeting served as an opportunity for the CAPS Team and CalHR Team to debrief and discuss the process used during negotiations for the 10% employee compensation reductions. While both Teams agreed the Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) model allowed for more open and frank discussions, they also agreed that the reductions criteria and time constraints forced bargaining to become positional. Both parties are eager to get back to the table and engage in IBB without the undue pressure of Legislatively-imposed deadlines. CAPS will be meeting with CalHR again the week of August 24th.

Bargaining Updates are sent only to dues-paying CAPS Members. Encourage your nonmember colleagues to join today to ensure they, too, can stay informed.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

Other Important Updates.

Virtual Board of Directors’ Meeting Scheduled for Saturday. The August Board of Directors’ Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, August 22, 2020, commencing at 9 a.m. via Zoom. All CAPS Members are welcome to attend the open-door session. All attendees must pre-register for the open-door session here. In order to allow for efficient use of time, live member comments will not be accommodated. Instead, the CAPS Board of Directors is collecting member comments ahead of the meeting. You can submit your comments here. In order to ensure the most successful and productive meeting possible, attendees will be expected to abide by the Virtual Meeting Participant Expectations.

Worksite Meetings Before August 22nd Board of Directors’ Meeting. In advance of the Board of Directors’ Meeting, the CAPS Board of Directors will be hosting virtual “worksite” meetings to allow members a forum to hear from and ask questions of Board Members. The meeting will begin with a presentation by the Board covering recent events and the effects of the novel coronavirus (including bargaining for the Legislatively-required employee compensation reductions), and end with a Question and Answer session.

Due to scheduling considerations for members, and software limitations which allow a maximum of 1,000 attendees, multiple worksite meetings will be held during the week leading up to the Board of Directors’ Meeting. Worksite meetings will be held on Wednesday, August 19 (for members in Districts 1 [Southern CA] and 5 [Northern CA]), Thursday, August 20 (for members in Districts 2 [Central Valley] and 4 [Bay Area]), and Friday, August 21 (for members in District 3 [Sacramento]), from noon – 1 p.m. Members will need to pre-register to attend. Sign up here for Districts 1 and 5; here for Districts 2 and 4; and here for District 3. Attendees of the Virtual Worksite Meetings will be expected to abide by the Virtual Meeting Participant Expectations, as well.

Choose Unity. Choose Strength. Choose CAPS. 

July 1, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

The Results are In. The CAPS membership has overwhelmingly voted to APPROVE the CAPS COVID-19 Side Letter Agreement (Agreement).

THANK YOU to all members who participated in the vote. An agreement surrounding an economic downturn and employee compensation reductions is never something a union wishes to consider. CAPS recognizes that this was a difficult vote, no one wants to vote for reductions. However, voting allows you, the membership, a voice in how those reductions are realized. This vote saw a HISTORIC number of votes cast compared to other ratification elections. Of the 2,427 Rank-and-File members eligible to vote, 1,791 (73.8%) actually voted. Of those who voted, 1,692 voters (94.5%) voted to APPROVE the Agreement, while 99 voters (5.5%) voted to REJECT it.

Voting Results, Verified. Voting on the Agreement closed yesterday, June 30, 2020 at 1:00PM. The online vote was managed by a third-party, Simply Voting, who delivered both the electronic verification and results. You can view them here.

Next Steps. The Agreement ensures that State Scientists’ pay, pensions, and healthcare are secure, and that our benefits continue during the pandemic. Now, CAPS will return to the table to focus on other important issues. CAPS will continue to bargain for our successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and focus our negotiations on salaries. Other urgent and important issues will be discussed at the bargaining table as well, like safely returning to the workplace, telework, parental and family leave, travel reimbursements, and more.

Stay Involved! CAPS needs our unified membership to stay engaged and involved. During bargaining the Side Letter Agreement, the CAPS Bargaining Team received hundreds of member ideas and discussed many of them with CalHR. Please continue to send in suggestions to your CAPS Bargaining Team via the Bargaining Proposal Template or send comments directly to CAPS at caps@capsscientists.org.

Thank you once again for your engagement.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

June 26, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you all for being an engaged membership! There have been many excellent questions about the Side Letter Agreement reached yesterday. Given the short timeline, the CAPS Bargaining Team felt it best to relay one of the most frequent questions we have received since voting opened this morning:

What does a “YES” vote mean? 

The total reductions to State Scientists’ take-home pay equate to a 5.93% reduction because the CAPS Bargaining Team negotiated offsets to reduce the impact from a 9.23% reduction down within this side letter agreement. More details are below:

  • You will receive 2 Personal Leave Program (PLP) days each month, with a 9.23% deduction in pay. The PLPs will be flexible, bankable, and may be cashed out upon retirement.
  • You will not pay into your post-retirement health benefits, “OPEB” (Other Post-Employment Benefits, or “CERBT” on your pay stub) for the duration of the PLP 2020 program. You currently pay 2.8% into OPEB. The state will continue to pay their share into the OPEB fund.
  • Your retirement contribution will be reduced by 0.5%. This reduction was going to take place July 2021. CAPS negotiated to have this reduction implemented sooner, in July 2020.
  • The 640-hour vacation/annual leave cap will be increased through June 2025.
  • “Re-opener” language regarding funding of the July 1, 2020 5% general salary increase (GSI).
  • The OPEB and retirement offsets total 3.3%, which means the 9.23% compensation reduction will actually be a 5.93% reduction.

What does a “NO” vote mean?

The Administration will impose on us measures they see fit to address the economic crisis caused from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

We have every reason to believe those measures will be 2 furlough days per month, starting in July 2020. You will be required to use these furlough days in the month they are accrued. No negotiated offsets will be included and you will experience a 9.23% reduction in pay. The Personal Leave Program’s flexibility, bankability, and ability to be cashed out will not be provided by the Administration’s imposition. Finally, there will be no language to allow CAPS the ability to discuss the future of the previously agreed-to 5% GSI.

Regardless of a “yes” or “no” vote, CAPS’ 5% GSI was not funded in the budget, so the pay raise will not occur whether the membership approves the side letter agreement or not. However, the side letter agreement includes “re-opener” language regarding the future funding of the 5% GSI.

Ballots Have Gone Out. Ballot login information has been sent to CAPS Members’ email address on file (and only to dues-paying members – nonmembers will not receive a ballot). If you do not receive the email from Simply Voting, please visit this link to provide an alternate email address to ensure you can vote: https://capsscientists.org/caps-bargaining-updates/alternate-email/

Thank you once again for your engagement.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

June 25, 2020

Your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) reached a tentative solution with the State of California’s representatives this morning regarding the Administration’s salary savings goal.

The tentative solution is in the form of a side letter. A side letter serves as an ancillary document to a contract – i.e., this side letter, if approved, will be incorporated in CAPS’ current 2018-2020 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Bargaining Unit 10 rank-and-file employees.

Reaching agreement was not easy and only happened after all other possible options were exhausted. The CAPS Team believes the agreement reached is the best possible option to mitigate the reductions as put forth by the Administration while providing protections to your positions, pay, pensions, and healthcare.

To protect the membership from mandated furloughs included in the revised state budget bill (AB89), the CAPS Team agreed to a 2-day per month Personal Leave Program (PLP) (16 hours per month) for two years, which equates to a 9.23% reduction in employee compensation. This program provides for flexible, bankable PLP days (meaning if you don’t use all of your PLP within the month, it can be carried over) to be used at the employee’s discretion in the same manner as vacation/annual leave.

The current MOU provides that employee retirement contributions will be reduced from 8.5% and 11.5% (depending on the CalPERS pension plan), to 8% and 11%, respectively, on July 1, 2021. However, CAPS fought to minimize the financial impact effect of the PLP on our members. Therefore, CAPS negotiated an accelerated return to the 8% and 11% contribution rates that now will take effect July 1, 2020 – 1 year earlier than planned.  This will mean more money stays in CAPS members’ paychecks.

CAPS further sought to offset the PLP impacts by suspending the employee portion of the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) contribution, also known as retiree healthcare. Per the CAPS MOU, Unit 10 pays 2.8% of pay towards OPEB (listed as “CERBT” on your paycheck). CAPS and the State agreed on the OPEB suspension for the duration of the side letter agreement. The State will continue to pay its share of this benefit.

Additionally, this package includes: an increase to the 640-hour limit on vacation and annual leave hours effective through 2025; allows members to cancel and/or modify their VPLP at any time for the duration of PLP 2020; and language that states the State cannot impose any further employee compensation reductions to Unit 10 employees during the PLP 2020.

Finally, the package includes “re-opener” language to address the 5% raise. The final budget bill did not fund any General Salary Increases (GSIs) for any Bargaining Unit in state service. The CAPS Team agreed to this package in order to secure “re-opener” language that would allow for reinstating the previously negotiated 5% GSI should the State receive federal funding or the State’s economic conditions improve, and allows CAPS to meet with CalHR to discuss discontinuing pay suspensions at any time.

The side letter protects all other provisions of the current MOU, including recently negotiated Educational Pay Differentials, etc.  Current pay ranges, pension and health care benefits, and the many other benefits that CAPS members have come to rely upon will also remain in place.

While the CAPS Bylaws do not require a full ratification vote in order to approve a Side Letter, the CAPS Bargaining Team felt it necessary to allow the membership a chance to cast their vote on this side letter agreement. Any agreement that results in a reduction to our salaries is a huge impact to our members – particularly given our existing pay equity issues –  however, this tentative solution protects CAPS members and allows CAPS the ability to continue discussing a successor agreement.

Voting. CAPS is using an independent firm, Simply Voting, to manage the online balloting. Here is their website: www.simplyvoting.com; and here is the information about how they ensure security of the balloting in online balloting: https://www.simplyvoting.com/security-and-reliability/.

Ballot login information will be sent to CAPS members’ email address on file (and only to dues-paying members – nonmembers will not receive a ballot). The ballot login info will be sent by “CAPS” from the email address “voting@simplyvoting.com.”

If you have not received the email from Simply Voting, please visit this link to provide an alternate email address to ensure you can vote:  https://capsscientists.org/caps-bargaining-updates/alternate-email/.

Voting Commences Early Friday Morning, June 26. As is CAPS policy, only Member votes will be counted.  Votes must be submitted by 1 pm (Pacific Time Zone) on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

After the votes are counted members will be notified of the outcome. If members approve the side letter it will go into effect on July 1, 2020. If members reject the side letter the CAPS Team will reconvene with CalHR in July, but the Administration will implement mandatory furloughs for Unit 10 employees starting July 1, 2020, and the negotiated offset to employee compensation cuts (i.e. OPEB suspension and pension formula reduction) would not be realized in July 2020.

After the membership votes on this side letter and we move beyond the immediate need to help balance the state budget, CAPS will continue to bargain with CalHR on the successor MOU. We are committed to continue bargaining for the equitable pay we all deserve as state scientists. Please stay tuned for future bargaining updates.

Members-Only Section Password.  Effective Tuesday, June 23, the CAPS website members-only section password was changed to Summer2020 – it is case-sensitive.

June 23, 2020

Bargaining Continues. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met again with CalHR last Thursday with the intent of finding an amenable solution to the Administration’s salary savings goal prior to the June 30th deadline. The meeting resulted in only one viable option to meet the 10% employee compensation reductions proposed in the Governor’s May Revise Budget and the tentative FY20-21 budget bill (SB 74) passed by the Legislature: A 2-day per month Personal Leave Program (PLP) in exchange for a total savings of 9.23%.

To help partially offset the financial impact, the Administration would agree to suspend the employee contributions to “Other Post-Employment Benefits” (OPEB), otherwise known as retiree healthcare. Per the CAPS MOU, Unit 10 pays 2.8% of pay towards OPEB. The suspension would likely be for the duration of the agreement. The State would continue to contribute its portion of OPEB during the employee payment suspension.

The Administration proposed not funding our July 1, 2020 General Salary Increase (GSI), but the Legislature included the raise in SB 74. However, yesterday the Governor and Legislators came to an agreement on the budget, and it appears the July 1, 2020 GSI may not be funded.  The CAPS Team reiterated during their meeting last week that if the July 1, 2020 raises remain funded in the final budget, then deferring them would not be acceptable. However, if the final budget doesn’t provide funding for the raises, the CAPS Team proposed “re-opener” language that would allow for reinstating any reduced compensation should the State receive federal funding or the State’s economic conditions improve.

Throughout the bargaining process, the State has continually sought a 2-year agreement, as their own economic forecasts indicate state revenues will likely not return to pre-COVID-19 levels within the next fiscal year without federal funding. The CAPS Team continued to emphasize the long-standing pay inequities that Unit 10 scientists have faced for over 15 years, and that CAPS needs to be able to meet with CalHR to review progress on revenues, and discuss the end to all employee compensation savings.

Last week, three unions came to an agreement with CalHR including: the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA, Unit 6), Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG, Unit 9), and the units represented by SEIU Local 1000.  The CAPS Team is closely examining any viable options granted to other bargaining units.

What the June 30th Deadlines Mean. As mentioned in our last email, if the CAPS Team and CalHR mutually agree on a solution this week, the membership will be asked to vote on whether to:

  • Approve the solution reached by the CAPS Team and CalHR, or
  • Reject it. Which means the Administration will impose any cost savings measures the Legislature and Administration sees fit, but the CAPS Team would return to the bargaining table immediately.

(Note that bargaining for a successor MOU will continue once these reductions have been addressed).

Should the CAPS Team and CalHR agree on a solution, the text of the language will be provided to the membership along with voting instructions? A vote of the membership will determine if the proposed solution is accepted or rejected.

Only Member Votes Will be Counted. Voting will occur electronically, and the link will be sent out via email. Please watch for the message announcing the vote and respond immediately, as all votes must be completed and tallied by June 30th for the agreement to become effective in July 2020.

June 16, 2020

Evaluating Options as Bargaining Continues. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR last Wednesday to discuss which cost-savings options, if any, the CAPS membership may be amenable to mitigate the Governor’s May Revise which requires employee compensation cost savings. This is the “narrowing down and evaluation of options” step in the Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) process.

The CAPS Team also presented two new options to CalHR that would provide employee economic relief during the term of the reductions. They included temporarily redirecting funds from memorandum of understanding (MOU) Section 19.6, Travel Incentives (mass transit and commuting), to an allowance for employees to offset cost of teleworking and/or commuting costs for employees who continue to put themselves at risk by working in the office or the field during the pandemic. The CAPS Team also proposed an early reduction of employee retirement pension contributions to 2018 levels which are currently scheduled to reset to the 2018 level in July 2021. While CalHR appreciated these additional options, they could not agree to them, noting that both options would add additional costs to the state budget and that it would be better to discuss them during bargaining for the successor MOU. The CAPS Team also presented a telework proposal that would include positive recognition of telework agreements and require a written response from management within 21 calendar days of submission. Although the telework proposal did not include additional cost, CalHR and the CAPS Team agreed to further discuss the future of telework during bargaining for the successor MOU. As a reminder, CAPS previously put forth several other options for consideration that were not viable, see last week’s Bargaining Update below.

Another meeting with CalHR was scheduled for last Thursday, but the CAPS Team decided to reschedule with CalHR after the proposed language for Senate Budget Bill 808 (SB 808) was released. The language states that “It is the expectation of the Legislature that all state employee bargaining units meet and confer in good faith with the Governor or the Governor’s representatives on or before July 1, 2020, to achieve up to $2,900,000,000 of employee compensation reductions,” which would allow more time to reach a possible agreement on mitigating the employee compensation reductions.

Yesterday, the Legislators passed Senate Budget Bill 74 (SB 74), which funds State employee July 1 raises and includes an expectation of employee compensation savings equivalent to two furlough days, as noted above for SB 808. Senate President Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said in a statement regarding SB 808 that “we now anticipate budget savings achieved through the collective bargaining process in the event anticipated federal funds do not materialize.” They also said “we encourage labor unions to engage and finalize agreements with the Administration prior to July 1.” When the Legislature’s budget bill passes, it goes to Governor Newsom, who reserves the right to veto items such as employee raises.  The CAPS Team is reviewing the final budget language in preparation for additional meetings with CalHR later this week. You can review SB 74 here.

Membership input is NECESSARY. When a tentative solution is reached, the membership will be asked to vote on: the agreement that the CAPS Team and CalHR have developed, or no agreement and an imposition of any cost savings measures the Administration sees fit. Should the CAPS Team and CalHR agree to a tentative solution, the membership will have the final vote. Only member votes will be counted. Voting will occur electronically, and the link will be sent out via email. Votes must be completed and tallied prior to June 30. Please watch for the message announcing the vote and respond immediately; this will require a quick turnaround. Future messaging will include information regarding the voting process.

Help CAPS Help You. In case you missed it, CAPS needs YOUR help. All budget proposals for the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year put forth by California Legislators require the assistance of federal aid to establish a balanced budget, as is constitutionally-required. CAPS members can help secure that aid by calling or writing to your federal legislators and encouraging them to pass the HEROES Act, or similar legislation.

Don’t know who your federal legislator is? It’s simple, dial 844-967-2163 to be connected with your Senator and 202-224-3121 to be connected with your Representative. CAPS has put together an example letter for your use here. You can also go online to find your Representatives and email them. Find your Representative here, and your Senator here. Help CAPS help you by helping California!

June 9, 2020

Discussions Continue. The CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) met with CalHR again last week to continue discussions surrounding potential creative options as a result of the employee compensation reductions in Governor Newsom’s May Revise. As mentioned in previous Bargaining Updates, CAPS and CalHR have embarked on what is called “Interest-Based Bargaining.” This alternative process appealed to the Bargaining Team because it fosters the ability to discuss any and all creative solutions to problems faced by both parties without the fear of being told “no” without explanation.

In traditional positional bargaining, the only way to propose solutions to problems faced by either party is to pass papers filled with legal jargon across the table to one another, and either take that language and make changes, accept the proposal in its entirety, or reject the proposal and provide a separate proposal. This often leads to misunderstandings or inferences about each side’s motivations for proposals. This is especially true because each side reads the proposal from their own perspective and with their own biases. Additionally, positional bargaining is much more “tight-lipped,” which forces both sides to play their motivations close to the vest, lest the other side gains the upper hand.

Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB), on the other hand, requires both sides to be forthcoming with their full story and interests, including shared interests. IBB also does not allow for evaluation of any of the ideas (called “options”) thrown out by either party until the appropriate time. Because of this; however, there are no “proposals” to share and not a lot of information can be released until the options begin to be evaluated by both sides.

We have now reached the point in the IBB process where the steady stream of creative solutions has run dry. The CAPS Team has asked CalHR to ensure there are no more options to consider. Both CalHR and the CAPS Team have put forth (as yet unevaluated) multiple options (including those proposed by members) including, but by no means limited to:

  • Golden Handshakes for members close to retirement;
  • Implementing the Governor’s proposed furloughs as more flexible, bankable, Personal Leave Program hours;
  • Funding the July 1st 5% raise through an extra day of Personal Leave Program time plus the temporary suspension of certain employee compensation items in the MOU;
  • A suspension of the 640-hour Vacation/Annual Leave Program cap; and
  • A suspension of employee OPEB contributions while the state maintains its share.

The CAPS Team has repeatedly emphasized the need for the long-standing administratively-created salary issues to be addressed, and that these compensation cuts will not be readily agreed to by our membership without consideration to the disparity. CAPS emphasized that CalHR did not appear to fully understand or appreciate the issues facing CAPS members, and urged them to provide more substantive solutions. The CAPS Team emphasized what the 5% raises represented to CAPS members, that it was the small first step to acknowledging and addressing CAPS Scientists’ long-standing salary lags.

At that, CalHR assured the CAPS Team that after costing items in the CAPS MOU that could be mutually agreed to for suspension to mitigate the impact to employees’ paychecks, and having put forth all viable options, they had no more options to contribute. CalHR has now requested that the CAPS Team begin to determine which options may work for the CAPS Membership, if any, and discuss them this week.

Both sides have expressed gratitude for the honest, open, and frank discussions that have been held over the last few weeks.

Adding additional considerations for the CAPS Team, the California Legislature announced a draft agreement last week on a budget bill that does not include any cuts to employee compensation, nor to scheduled raises, and does not provide the Administration the authority to impose furloughs during the next fiscal year. It does; however, reserve the right to make cuts should no federal funding be realized by October. While the Legislature’s proposed budget does not include any employee compensation cuts, legislative leaders spoke out to encourage the use of collective bargaining to help lower budget costs. If the Legislature’s budget bill passes, it goes to Governor Newsom, who reserves the right to veto items such as employee raises. The CAPS Team plans to continue the current negotiation effort, in case the Legislature’s budget doesn’t pass.

The CAPS Team has repeatedly emphasized to CalHR the need to include time for the CAPS Membership to voice their opinion on any option deemed viable by both parties, and the need to have an informed and engaged membership. As more information becomes available, the CAPS Membership will continue to be updated.

Choose Unity, Choose Strength, Choose CAPS.

Bargaining Updates are sent only to dues-paying CAPS Members. Encourage your nonmember colleagues to join today to ensure they, too, can stay informed.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

Other Important Updates.

Professional Development Days – Use Them or Lose Them. CAPS MOU, Section 15.10, provides all CAPS members with two days per fiscal year for activities to promote one’s professional growth and to enhance professional goals. The days must be used prior to the end of the fiscal year, June 30th. Use your Professional Development Days (PDD) before the end of the fiscal year to ensure you don’t lose them. An important note is that your pay warrants only show hours for “PD” once you’ve used your Professional Development Days, otherwise it remains zeroed. If you have a question regarding how to determine whether you’ve used your professional development days this year, contact your personnel specialist. If you have any additional questions about PDD, contact CAPS at caps@capsscientists.org.

June 2, 2020

Productive, Collaborative Meetings Continue, Amidst Incoming Information. Your CAPS Bargaining Team met with CalHR again last week to continue discussing the proposed 10% cost savings from the Newsom Administration, and also collective bargaining for a successor agreement. The Bargaining Team is trying to mitigate the financial impact on members by exploring all options with CalHR and see where we have common ground.  During the discussions, the Bargaining Team reiterated that CAPS members will experience a 15% salary reduction, due to the Governor’s proposal to not fund the July 1, 2020 employee raises. During this meeting, CAPS continued to push for additional clarification and information from CalHR to understand exactly what kind of “creative solutions” are on the table and restated that retirement benefits are of utmost importance to protect. While some questions have been answered, many remain, in part due to CalHR’s resources being stretched thin while bargaining with all units at once.

The CAPS Team focused on the necessity of our members’ input on any preliminary decisions and discovered that ensuring our membership is heard is a mutual interest. The Bargaining Team stated we have heard from hundreds of members, including a grassroots petition signed by over 500 members, and explained to CalHR what the membership concerns and interests are regarding employee compensation cost savings in the budget.  A top interest is having an informed and engaged membership. CalHR agreed that regardless of how an agreement is reached – e.g. a side letter – that CAPS’ needs to engage and inform the membership can be met.

An important piece of the discussion this week centered around the Voluntary Personal Leave Program (Section 3.19 of the CAPS MOU). This program allows members to elect to reduce their pay by 4.62, 9.24, or 13.85 percent to receive 8, 16, or 24 hours of personal leave per month, respectively. While it is normally a benefit, the program could unnecessarily burden State Scientists due to the impending July 1 employee compensation reductions. Thus, CAPS advocated on behalf of members that CalHR direct Departments to release members from VPLP should they so choose. As a result, CalHR has agreed to direct Departments to allow Unit 10 employees to cancel their VPLP without requiring it to be within a certain quarter. CalHR noted that the VPLP cancellation would have to be submitted prior to the State Controller’s Office (SCO) deadline which is likely around June 20. CAPS will continue to update the membership with more information as soon as it becomes available. Due to the potential pending salary reductions, if VPLP participants want to cancel their VPLP, they should do so immediately. If you encounter issues canceling your VPLP please contact CAPS as soon as possible.

Both CalHR’s and CAPS’ Bargaining Team members acknowledged during last week’s meeting that the Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) process felt much more productive and collaborative than the traditional method (positional bargaining), and that this method had already produced possible creative options. No possibilities have yet been evaluated (i.e. what we can mutually agree to), which is an integral part of the IBB process.

Bargaining Updates are sent only to CAPS Members. Encourage your nonmember colleagues to join today to ensure they, too, can stay informed.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus,
President & Bargaining Team
Chair
Maureen Lee-Dutra,
District II Director
David Rist,
District IV Director
Daniel Ellis,
Vice President
Justin D. Garcia,
District III Director
Jimmy Spearow,
At-Large Director

Other Important Updates.

CalHR Releases Guidance Surrounding Contact Tracing. Governor Newsom announced the new Contact Tracing Program “California Connected” on May 22 which would require Departments to identify 5% of their workforce to dedicate to this program to reach the overall goal of 10,000 contact tracers. Departments immediately started rolling out information and “volunteering” state employees, without a lot of definitive answers on how the program may affect benefits, return rights, and promotional opportunities. On Friday, CalHR released guidance to Departments surrounding the assignment of state employees to contact tracing duties that answered some of these questions. The CalHR document can be found here. CAPS continues to request additional information for members that have voluntarily or involuntarily been redirected.

CAPS Board Meeting Cancelled. The CAPS Board of Directors Meeting for Quarter 2, previously scheduled for June 13, 2020, is canceled to protect the health and safety of meeting participants due to current prohibitions on larger gatherings. The Board did not make this decision lightly and took this action so members did not have to choose between their union duties and their health and safety. At this time, the Board has turned their attention to the pressing matters surrounding Governor Newsom’s May Revise and all avenues available to CAPS in dealing with this new challenge.

Our Quarter 3 Board of Directors’ Meeting remains scheduled for August 22, 2020, at the Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown-Arena (300 J Street, Sacramento). It is the hope of the CAPS Board of Directors that the threat of the Coronavirus will be alleviated to a point by then to allow for in-person, large group gatherings.

May 26, 2020

Bargaining Team Met With CalHR. Your CAPS Bargaining Team met with CalHR on Wednesday and Thursday of last week to get additional information regarding Governor Newsom’s request for all Bargaining Units to help find “creative solutions” to the impending 10% reductions in employee compensation. If there is no agreement by June 15th to achieve the required savings, then furloughs will be imposed starting with the July pay period.

The Bargaining Team focused on “employee compensation” and sought clarification on what items besides salaries could count towards the reductions. In addition to exploring creative ways to achieve the Governor’s salary savings goal, the CAPS team made it clear that Unit 10 scientists find the prospect of a salary reduction to be very burdensome due to the long-standing pay inequity that has existed for over a decade.

Of note, when the CAPS Team relayed the importance of State Scientists and the history of the pay disparity issue that has persisted from previous Administrations, representatives from CalHR and the Department of Finance (DOF) remarked that this Administration is aware of CAPS’ history and salary issues, and that they value scientists. At the same time, they said that as a result of the State’s constitutional requirement to maintain a balanced budget, all state employee bargaining units will see a 10% reduction in employee compensation, as of June 2020 numbers due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Recession. In addition, July 1 employee compensation increases are not currently funded in the budget. Without the funding, the 5% raise will not be reflected in your gross salary, which means the 5% would not count towards retirement calculations at this time.

Both teams grappled with the challenges and short timelines imposed by the State Constitution and CAPS’ own Bylaws. To identify potential solutions the teams are using an innovative bargaining process (known as Interest-Based Bargaining) that seems more open, honest, and conducive to producing positive results when compared to the traditional bargaining process.

Looking Forward – Member Information. The Bargaining Team asked several questions that CalHR needs time to answer, but answered questions are included in the “May Revise FAQs” posted on the members-only section of the CAPS website. Please keep in mind this is a working document that will be updated when more information becomes available and is a good resource that answers some of the most common questions about Governor Newsom’s May Revise. Visit the FAQs here.

Thank you for Voicing Your Questions and Ideas! Finally, CAPS would like to THANK YOU for all your recent input. Many members have contacted CAPS to share their own creative solutions, suggestions, concerns, opinions, and personal anecdotes. CAPS Leaders have also received a well-written petition that clearly articulates the concerns many members have been expressing. It currently has over 500 signatures from members throughout the state! We appreciate the message and want to express our gratitude for your support, ideas, and engagement. An informed, engaged, and united membership is what CAPS aims to maintain.

The Bargaining Team welcomes all input, and requests and encourages members to continue sharing ideas via this new member response tool: https://app.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?EBCFA3BCEAAFBABAE0. We are working on a very short timeline and request you share your creative ideas with CAPS as soon as possible. Please look for future communications regarding how YOU can help CAPS during these trying times.

In Solidarity,

CAPS Bargaining Team

Margarita Gordus,
President & Bargaining Team
Chair
Maureen Lee-Dutra,
District II Director
David Rist,
District IV Director
Daniel Ellis,
Vice President
Justin D. Garcia,
District III Director
Jimmy Spearow,
At-Large Director

Other Important Updates.

Suspension of Direct Deposit Advices. CAPS was notified last week that the State Controller’s Office (SCO) issued notification to all departments that, in response to COVID-19, SCO has temporarily suspended the printing of all direct deposit advices for departments which have electronic access to earnings and deduction information through Cal Employee Connect (CEC). Implementation for affected staff will begin with the May 2020 pay warrant. Members affected by this change will be notified by their Department and provided with procedures for how to access their direct deposit advice through the CEC website. 

March 10, 2020

Your CAPS Bargaining Team met with the CalHR Team for the first time on Thursday, March 5, 2020 to begin the process of bargaining for a successor contract to replace the 2018-2020 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The CalHR Team included representatives from the following departments that employ State Scientists: California Energy Commission (CEC), California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and California Department of Water Resources (DWR). Additionally, representatives from CalHR and the Department of Finance were present.

The all-day meeting centered on introductions, future planning, and the introduction of CAPS’ issues. CAPS also presented a broad overview of Unit 10 and the important work that State Scientists perform to protect public health and the environment. The description of duties and the plethora of assignments was received with interest. The presentation also included a brief history of CAPS’ collective bargaining history and touched on our top priority: salaries. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 19, 2020.

You can support the Bargaining Team by wearing your CAPS T-shirt on bargaining days. Click here to order your first shirt, request a replacement of an old shirt, or to purchase additional shirts.

If you have any suggestions for changes or additions to the CAPS MOU that you’d like the bargaining team to consider, please fill out the Bargaining Proposal Template and return it to caps@capsscientists.org.
Science Matters. California State Scientists. 

Margarita Gordus,
President & Bargaining Team
Chair
Maureen Lee-Dutra,
District II Director
David Rist,
District IV Director
Daniel Ellis,
Vice President
Justin D. Garcia,
District III Director
Jimmy Spearow,
At-Large Director

March 5, 2020

Dear CAPS Membership,

THANK YOU for your participation in the CAPS Bargaining Survey, which was sent out on January 28, 2020. Only 42% of rank-and-file CAPS members completed and submitted the Bargaining Survey. This is a good percentage, but we can do better! Engage your colleagues and encourage them to participate in their union. The survey will remain open, however, the Bargaining Team is already reviewing the data to help guide this upcoming round of collective bargaining.

The Bargaining Team would like to share a summary of the results with the membership, once again noting that fair pay has been, and continues to be, the top bargaining priority. Subsequent Bargaining Team priorities will be determined as bargaining progresses with CalHR, considering member input.

You can view the survey results here.

Once again, your CAPS Bargaining Team THANKS YOU for your engagement and participation. The Bargaining Proposal Template remains open for submissions here.  Please be sure to continue to look for Bargaining Updates and write in when you have suggestions or comments!