Schwarzenegger Agrees to Health-Related Concessions in Pension Agreement With State Workers’ Union
Budget negotiators for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and the California State Employees Association, the state's largest workers' union, agreed Sunday to changes in the state pension system after Schwarzenegger approved some health-care-related concessions, the Sacramento Bee reports. Jim Hard, president and labor negotiator for the union, said that Schwarzenegger agreed to "be sympathetic and try to be responsive in the future" during contract negotiations with state nurses and other bargaining units. According to Hard, the governor also said he would sign legislation to help state workers in rural regions with high health care costs, the Bee reports (Bluth, Sacramento Bee, 6/28).
Schwarzenegger and legislators are still "at odds" over his proposal to reduce to the state minimum wage rate the wages of workers who provide services to seniors and people with disabilities, the Chronicle reports (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/27). Democrats say that they want to restore the $130 million, revised from $98 million, to protect the wages of in-home workers (California Healthline, 6/25).
The Service Employees International Union, which represents the state's 300,000 home health care workers, has launched a campaign to turn proposed wage reductions for in-home workers "into one of a few major obstacles" between Schwarzenegger and legislators, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports. The union has used TV ads and rallies at the Capitol to lobby Democratic lawmakers against the proposed wage reductions. Tyrone Freeman, general president of SEIU Local 434B and chair of the union's home care workers' lobby, said that the estimated savings would increase state costs in the long term by forcing more seniors and people with disabilities to enter more costly nursing homes, the Bee reports. Freeman said, "I think the governor crossed the line when he went after the home care workers," adding, "Democrats are not going to back down on this" (Chorneau, AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/27).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.