Union Contract Becomes Law
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Wednesday signed legislation to implement a contract with the state's largest employee union that makes few changes to workers' health benefits and includes pay increase over two years, the Sacramento Bee reports.
State negotiators and Service Employees International Union Local 1000 officials reached the agreement in June after workers threatened to strike (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 9/7).
SEIU Local 1000 represents about 87,000 state employees, including pharmacy technicians and prison nurses. Union officials declined to state how many members participated in the vote to authorize the strike (California Healthline, 6/13).
Under the contract, most workers will retain current health benefits. Union members had been concerned about a proposal to calculate health care costs on a flat-dollar basis, which would cost more than the 20% of premiums they currently pay.
The contract also includes average pay increases between 7.8% and 9.8% over two years and a one-time $1,000 bonus. The pension formula will change for workers hired after Dec. 31 and will be based on a three-year average of highest salary, rather than on one year (Sacramento Bee, 9/7).