Appeals Court Overturns Raises for Corrections Dept. Medical Staff
On Friday, the 3rd U.S. District Court of Appeal in Sacramento ruled that certain pay raises for medical personnel at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation were invalid because the Legislature did not approve them, the Sacramento Bee's "The State Worker" reports.
In 2006, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) negotiated pay raises with CDCR medical staff represented by Service Employees International Union-Local 1000. In September 2006, the Legislature approved the agreement, which raised wages by up to 10% for CDCR medical staff effective Jan. 1, 2007.
However, in October 2006, a federal court ruled that medical care in California's prison system was inadequate and ordered pay raises retroactive to Sept. 1, 2006, for the same employees covered by the earlier agreement. The federally ordered raises were higher than the previously negotiated wage hikes.
The state then refused to apply the initial wage increases in addition to the federally ordered pay hikes.
SEIU Local 1000 challenged the state's decision by bringing the matter to arbitration and to Sacramento Superior court. Both the arbitrator and the superior court judge ruled that the initial raises were valid.
Appellate Court Decision
However, the appellate court ruled that the Legislature was not explicitly aware that the initial negotiated pay increases would be added to a federally ordered raise, meaning that lawmakers did not approve the combined wage hike that SEIU-Local 1000 is seeking.
For SEIU-Local 1000 to secure both wage increases, the union would need to "obtain passage of a bill approving the higher salaries, a remedy squarely in the political realm," the court stated (Ortiz, "The State Worker," Sacramento Bee, 10/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.