Source DPA — California‘s Department of Personnel Administration and the union representing State correctional officers have reached agreement on a new contract that, if ratified, generates immediate budget savings by requiring correctional officers to pay a greater share of their pension cost and take a day of unpaid leave each month for a year.
The Legislature and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) must approve the agreement, which will run from April 1, 2011 to July 2, 2013. The last CCPOA contract expired in 2006. Negotiations for a new contract failed, and since 2007 the union has operated under imposed terms.
“The 30,000 members of CCPOA have been without a contract for three and a half years,” said DPA Director Ron Yank. “It’s about time they get an even-handed agreement that respects their difficult work and generates savings for the State. In particular, the changes in retirement funding we agreed to will help close the budget gap now.”
Under the agreement, pension contributions for correctional officers will increase from 8 to 10 percent of pay. Correctional officers will take one day of unpaid leave each month for 12 months, starting the month after the agreement is reached. This will effectively reduce their pay by roughly 5 percent. During this time, the furlough program will end for these officers. The combination of unpaid leave and increased employee pension contributions reduces the employees’ paycheck by 7 percent.
The employer health contribution, which has not been adjusted for CCPOA since 2006, will rise to current levels, creating a cost. In view of that, the union agreed to suspend State payments to the officers’ defined contribution plans through January 2014. The State currently pays 2% of each officer’s base salary into the plans, which resemble 401(k)s.
“Suspending payment to the defined contribution plans will easily cover half the cost of the increase health portion. It’s our position that, in the area of health care, all employees should enjoy roughly the same benefit,” said Ron Yank.
CCPOA releases highlights of tentative labor agreement