Value Scientists

Avoid Collapse

Join State Scientists in a collective fight to protect California’s future by providing equitable wages to state-employed scientists.

What is Avoid Collapse?

For decades, leading global scientists have been sounding the alarm about major environmental crises leading to existential threats and urging governments around the world to act immediately. Now the world is facing a narrowing margin of time to reverse critical trends in resource deterioration and depletion. California, and the world, need a comprehensive plan to avoid societal collapse.

The Avoiding Collapse platform was developed by CAPS Scientists and inspired by the article: Avoiding Collapse: Grand Challenges for Science and Society to Solve by 2050, addresses the State of California’s critical need to recruit and retain scientific talent and expertise. 

California is now the world’s fourth-largest economy, and the world needs the work of state scientists to make progress in the fight against catastrophic climate change. California State Scientists are critical to addressing urgent challenges that threaten our State, our nation, and our world, including climate change, wildfires, drought, exposure to toxic chemicals, loss of biodiversity, invasive species, ecosystem destruction, housing shortages, diseases, threats to our food and water supply, and more.

Competitive and Equitable Salaries

  • It is imperative that we find a solution to attract and retain a 21st Century Scientific Workforce that is innovative, motivated, and capable of addressing the major existential public health and environmental threats facing society.
  • Historical salary relationships to comparable position and for promotional pathways within Unit 10 need to be restored to recognize minimum qualifications, level of responsibilities and expertise.
  • State scientists are paid 40-60% less than comparable positions who have the same level of responsibility and do similar or identical work.
  • From 1984 to the early 2000’s, scientists and engineers were compensated comparably as a result of comparable duties.​
  • California Government Code 19826 states that “like salaries shall be paid for comparable duties and responsibilities.”​
  • In 2014, fourteen State scientific supervisory classifications received salary adjustments that restored the historical salary relationships with engineers where work of equal value was compensated equally.
  • To date, Rank and File salaries have not been adjusted resulting in disruptions throughout the Unit, we still have a long way to go.
  • Offer salaries equitable to similar professions in California’s state civil service, larger local agencies, higher education and/or relevant industries.

Recognize Scientific Education and Experience

  • State Scientists havehigh levels of education, ​job-required licenses and certifications, ​continuing education, ​expertise that is in high demand,​ expertise gained through specialized conferences and trainings to ensure they can protect Californians. The work that State Scientists do is critical to the health and well-being of all Californians.

Workforce and Program Stability

  • Unit 10 is reaching critical mass for the age groups that are close to retirement and have the institutional knowledge and expertise required to ensure the success of the State’s environmental and public health programs.
  • Stability pay will ensure that the continuation of programs (31 programs in 15 departments) that are proposed by the Governor this fiscal year, at a minimum, will have scientists with some institutional knowledge.
  • Retention for a state scientist looks very different than for other units. A good retention rate for state scientists is at a minimum of 5-7 years. A scientist who knows their program and has the institutional knowledge to ensure the program progresses needs at least 15 years to reach that technical expertise.

Mitigate Climate Impacts

  • Reduce commute times and thereby reduce emissions contributing to climate change.
  • California is economically diverse with large and small cities and towns.
  • Lack of affordable housing in high-cost areas has led to long commute times and many are unable to live in the communities they work

Paid Family Leave and Support for Working Parents

  • As of 2020, the gender pay gap in California state civil service is 14.3%​
  • The gender pay gap is even larger when measured over the course of a lifetime, because women are often pushed out of time in the workforce after giving birth or providing care to family members, impacting career growth opportunities.​
  • A recent policy memo in the Journal of Science Policy & Governance highlighted that mothers are substantially more likely than fathers to leave STEM-related occupations following the birth of a child
  • Family caregiving is most often performed by women. ​
  • State Scientists currently do not have:​
    • paid leave to care for family members ​
    • paid leave for non-birthing parents​
    • paid baby bonding

Sign On Letter

We urge you to demand that Governor Newsom and his Administration swiftly invest in California State Scientists to ensure California is able to fulfill our obligations to the world to avoid collapse.