Legislature Approves Contracts For Six State Unions

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Assembly approved labor contracts Monday for more than 50,000 prison guards, attorneys, engineers and other state workers that would save more than $300 million a year.

The 54-17 vote was the minimum needed for approval of SB151 and came despite objections from Republican lawmakers that the contracts should have saved even more money.

Supporters say the contracts boost the amount state workers pay toward their retirement benefits, and that any salary increases are meant to offset those higher contributions. The contracts contain “significant employee concessions that will immediately save the state millions of dollars” and continue to do so in future years, said Assemblyman Warren Furutani, D-Lakewood.

Opponents said the contracts should have included even stronger pension reforms and not increased salaries. Raising salaries when the state faces a continuing budget gap and has not imposed major changes to reduce unfunded pension obligations is irresponsible, said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks.

The contracts, particularly the possibility of lump-sum payouts for unused vacation pay in the prison guards contract, demonstrate that Gov. Jerry Brown is making policy decisions based on what’s best for state employees, not what’s best for California taxpayers, said Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, R-Costa Mesa.

Furutani said the vacation payments were necessary because prisons must be staffed around the clock and the state would have to hire more guards to allow employees to take all the vacation time they earn.

The new contracts would increase the employee contributions to their pensions by anywhere from 2 percent to 5 percent of their total salary. That’s in line with increases in other contracts negotiated last year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration.

The deals also effectively lower employee salaries through one unpaid day off per month for the next year, and make it harder for workers to “spike” their pensions with inflated compensation in their last year on the job. Pension amounts that previously were determined by the highest single year of compensation are now based on the average of their top three years.

While the pension changes in the contracts may not go as far as some want, Furutani said during debate on the Assembly floor that the bill “does some pension reform and that pension reform was done at the bargaining table.”

Because the bill was enacted as an urgency measure that could take effect immediately, it needed a two-thirds majority for approval, requiring support from two Republican lawmakers in each house. The bill drew exactly the number of votes needed, with Republican lawmakers Katcho Achadjian of San Luis Obispo and Paul Cook of Yucca Valley backing it in the Assembly.

The bill was approved previously in the Senate by a similarly slim margin. It now goes to the governor’s desk.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • Landsnekt

    Is this the same contract that gov moonbeem negotiated a couple of weeks ago that will cost tax payers millions (maybe even billions) more after he leaves office?

    • Fred

      Yep, and the Dems rolled the Reps to get the bill passed so they can pay back their union handlers. The taxpayers in this state are being managed like cattle by the union leadership cattle barons – we’re just here to be harvested.

    • Jake Bronson

      Why would anybody in their right mind approve a contract that will fatten the wallets of the the prison guards when we have such a large deficit and high unemployment. We need real reform this is B.S. We need to fire our legislatures in the next election. The high cost of our state government has stifled our growth with no end in sight. The “tooth fairy” alias the taxpayer has allowed this to happen. No more we need real reform starting with our elected officials and with each and every department of state government.

  • The_Truth

    so let me get this right, the unions pay more into their pensions but get higher saleries to offset what their paying into their pensions, how does this save money again? you pay in an extra dollar and get an extra dollar in salery, seems like a wash to me or a fancy way of letting unions get pay increases without costing them a thing.

  • Eric

    This is only going to get worse if the Democrats and their cronies in the Public-Employee unions have their way. This is why no new taxes is the way we have to save our budget. You cannot trust a Democrat with your money no way no how! The only party that cares at all about the tax-payer is the Republican party. At least they will try to do the best with what they have instead of making back door agreements and scare tactis to get more of your money from you. Governor Moonbeam was a giant bust decades ago…what did you peopkle honetly think would happen by electing him again? Sorry Meg….they know not what they do.

  • KB

    They didn’t get a raise, their salaries had been cut 15%, that is where the increase comes from, less of a cut from their salaries, no raises.

    • The_Truth

      KB did you read this part?

      Supporters say the contracts boost the amount state workers pay toward their retirement benefits and that any salary increases are meant to offset those higher contributions.

      Opponents said the contracts should have included even stronger pension reforms and not increased salaries.

      Nothing there says their saleries were, cut but it does say they were increased.

      • Wyliecoyote

        Someone cannot read the entire article it seems.
        They got a 15% cut, everyone of them.
        How about you? did you get a 15% cut?
        How about 60% increase in tuition cost?

        Cut services, and still want the same service and turn around?
        Like roads?
        Like police and fire?

        All these people are required to run the state, someone has to do these jobs, which are worse paying than private sector jobs(*I am a business owner and use to work for the state, I know the differences). They made up for it with secure jobs and lower pay, it’s called a “trade off”. But now, they have less security and even less pay, but the Rethuglicans seem to think their minority party should control the state. Look, Ronnie Reagan RAISED taxes to balance the CA budget as Gov……he had to………taxes where higher then than today.
        I know, I was around then. I do not mind paying taxes as long as the folks are getting paid well and I get good services, simply howling all the time about being over taxed when you are not really……..is a bit disingenuous.

      • SkiorDie

        The_Truth… if you were actually following all of this from the beginning you would realize they took a 15% pay cut almost two years ago…This contract returns Roughly 10% from what was cut initially. Dont beleive everything you read…besides these are the people keeping the boogy man locked up while you sleep peacefully. Would you like to extract a 300 lb gang banger high on psyche meds from a cell as he smears feces on himself and the walls? Didnt think so…

  • Jane

    Oh quit your crying already! The government, INCLUDING THE REPUBICANS, need to start taxing the oil industry heavily instead of allowing them to continue to rob the consumer and report RECORD BREAKING PROFITS!

    • Wyliecoyote

      Business and the rich’s tax has dropped dramatically in the last 30 years. Ease up crying about the Evil rich charging us more for things, so we should not tax them at all to lower the cost of Gas? What planet are you from? Why not just deregulate everything for them as well, and give them all gold toilet bowls while we are at it since they control the dope, the gas that you put in your car? Tax them to hell and back. Get that tax back up and put to the public’s good, not Exxon or GE.
      Will it hurt their sales? Maybe a little, but it’ll help the state and the Fed government a lot more.

      The solution is not to deregulate and cut taxes for the rich.
      That’s a Heritage Foundation steer manure lie feed to the Sheelpe to dumb to think for themselves about these basic economic issues.
      You failed Econ 101? Seems so.

    • The_Truth

      Jane any Tax based on Oil is passed to the consumer, not the oil companies, so basically your saying we should pay more for oil and gas?

    • Fred

      Great idea! I’m sure that will make the price of gas do down. Stop looking for some invisible corporate menace to blame. The state spends too darn much money – it’s no more complicated than that

      • Football Head

        Yeah, the oil industry SHOULD NOT have to pay taxes, cuz….well….. they’re nice!!! Now,…. cut those lower/middle class salaries good!!! We dont like em!!

  • Jane

    Repubicans need to put their $ where their mouths are! STOP allowing those oil companies to ROB THE CONSUMER!!! HYPOCRITES!!!

    • Bob

      Hey Jane, who owns these oil companies?

      You and I do if you have a retirement plan that includes stock portfolios.

      Citizens benefit from companies that earn profits. The employees benefit from having jobs at these companies. Of course we could run these companies overseas and then you could complain about the companies that send jobs overseas because it is economically beneficial for them to do so.

      A company’s job is to maximize profits for it’s shareholders, vendors, and employees so they can continue operating.

    • JaneIsAFool

      Jane do you want $10 a gallon for gas. If taxes are raised on oil companies what makes you think they will not just pass the cost on to us. Besides, CA has a spending problem and not an income problem. We all know you are a Union Goon so stop making yourself look like a fool.

      • Football Head

        Yeah, and if we cut all those state-ies salaries, the savings will “trickle down” to us….. Just like the brain juice trickling down my head!!

    • Fred

      The market for oil is global.

  • Ken Z

    Why are there so many crooks in the govt???
    The taxpayers of this great state need to fire all of them & start over.
    We need human beings that cant be bought!!
    I did say cannot be bought..
    We are the leaders of this state??
    California’s unemployment will increase along with higher taxes…
    We need new leaders.. A new generation needs to fix the baby boomers mess…Step up now…

    • PoorPeopleAreDumb

      Sorry, until we have a flat tax where we all pay the same percent of our income that will never happen. The poor pay no income tax and benefit from the system the way it is set up. Take from the Rich hard workers and give to the lazy poor. Let me ask this question…. When was the last time a poor person gave you a job?

      • Wyliecoyote

        So the Hollywood rich crowd are hard workers, really in the trenches acting for their 20 million a year? You can clap for yourself alone on this one. MANY poor people directly support business like oo…..I don;t know……..convenience stores, grocery stores, Walmart……….clearly they are far LESS wealthy than the Waltons, but the Walmarts of the USA are supported, and pay for the $ that these Billionares make. So there’s some poor folks paying for the rich’s lifestyles.

        But you did not think beyond the Fox news sound bite did you?


    yea, it’s was like bargaining with your spouse; it’s all one sided, they’re all on the same team

  • Bob

    When they post a story like this, can they also include the average pay rate and average retirement pay for these jobs?

    Most taxpayers would be shocked.

    Of course, asking the media to actually do a job that would inform the public and make democrats look bad is asking too much.

    • Bob

      I tried to post this information, but my post didn’t show up. SURPRISE.

      The article I found stated that anyone would be better off working as a prison guard in California than getting a degree from Harvard.

      The article is dated may 1, 2011 in the WSJ. Look it up yourself.

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