State Reaches Contract Agreement With Psychiatric Aides
The administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Thursday announced that it has reached an agreement with the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians on a contract proposal that would provide a 5% wage increase, the Sacramento Bee reports. The wage increase would affect 7,100 nursing technicians employed by state mental hospitals, developmental centers and prisons.
The union, which has been without a contract since January, agreed to make half the pay raise retroactive to Aug. 1, with the other half taking effect Jan. 1, 2005, according to union spokesperson Keith Hearn. The proposal also includes provisions that would ban employees from counting sick time as time worked when determining overtime pay, Hearn said.
The new contract would cost the state about $14 million, according to the Department of Personnel Administration, which negotiated the deal on behalf of the state.
DPA Director Michael Navarro said, "This administration places a priority on mental health services and attracting and retaining the nursing staff we need to deliver those services."
Hearn said that the state left open the possibility of renegotiating the contract next year, possibly indicating that the governor could ask for additional concessions to help address the state budget deficit. "It looks like he is going to try and extract some of that from our people," Hearn said.
The proposal now goes to the union membership for a vote (Bluth, Sacramento Bee, 12/17).