SEIU’s New Contract

The State of California and the SEIU have agreed to a new contract. I thought you should know just how generous your elected representatives have been with your tax money. Some details have not been made public yet but here’s what we know.

Wages

During negotiations, SEIU claimed they wanted a 21 percent increase over three years. As usual, they settled for a fraction of that amount. On the face of it, they claim they got 7 percent over three years. Each increment of this raise takes effect July first (the first day of the new fiscal year.) Actually, it’s less than that.

Two reasons why.

First, a few years back, the State created a new deduction taken from the paychecks of current state workers. This money is to go into a fund earmarked for future retiree medical benefits (sounds vaguely like the Social Security Trust Fund to me.) This fund is incremented over a period of four year and will rise to 3.5 percent of gross pay. The last increment will take effect July 1, 2020. It will go up another 1.2 percent. (see chart below)

Thus the 2.5 percent pay increase July 1, 2020 will actually be a 1.3 percent increase in take home pay (less all the payroll taxes on 2.5 percent “increase”).

Second, the pay increase for the third year, also scheduled to be 2.5 percent may not happen. During negotiations, the State was asking that they be given the right to forego this increase in the event of an economic downturn. Based on the information released thus far, it is unclear if the union agreed to this provision and if so, what the trigger to stop the pay raise will be.

Thus, the actual pay raise over three years may very well be only 3.3 percent; a far cry from the 21 percent the union claimed they were asking for.

SEIU-Contract

Medical Tweak

The union claims that they got $260 a month for anyone on a State sponsored healthcare plan. This is to cover the employee contribution to healthcare. Thus, if only the employee is on the health plan, they would have no employee contribution any more. Once this is implemented, the state would pay 100 percent for individuals.

My question is this, currently my contribution to Kaiser is about $125 a month. Will the state really give me the whole $260 or just pay the $125 and call it good. Oh, for those of you in the private sector, sorry; I know you’re paying lots more than that out of pocket for your share of health insurance.

Geographic Pay

If a state employee lives in any of the following counties: Orange, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Cruz, they will also get a geographic differential of $250 each month.

As we know as conservatives, when a government creates a new benefit, over time it will grow to cover more folks. Geographic Differential pay is such a thing. I was surprised not to see a single San Francisco Bay Area county on this list. This is even more reason to suspect that this new benefit will expand over time.

Concluding Remarks

My observation of this contract is this; it appears that all these extra pay things added to the wages of State employees help the State by not boosting employee retirement (assuming retirement is based solely on salary) while easing the pain of living in such a costly State as California. This seems to be the gentleman’s agreement with the State.

SEIU Wish List is Impressive

Yes, its time for the Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU) to negotiate contracts with the State of California again. If you want to follow all the action, see it for yourself here. Bargaining Unit Updates

Current Contract with SEIU: Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SEIU, July 2, 2016 to January 1, 2020

Four years ago, Jerry Brown showed restraint when negotiating with this union, but this time around, the union is asking for the moon and very likely to get most of it from Gavin Newsom. Look at this laundry list of goodies.

SEIU-update-jul_24_2019

Economic Justice

21 percent salary increase over three years.
This is partially because many SEIU members are making starting wages less than the magical $15 an hour that is somehow the holy grail of wages.

GoePay
If union members live in high cost areas like Los Angeles or San Francisco, they want members to get extra pay due to the higher cost of living.

Housing differential
If employee is paying more than 30 percent of income in housing costs then you get more loot.

Comments

A 7 percent a year wage increase on its face is ridiculous in the current environment; however, due to the stupid political endorsements of this union, 21 percent over 3 years would almost restore the relative earning power members had before the last contract was enacted. You see SEIU endorsed candidates that raised taxes and fees so much in California that their members were worse off and had less take-home pay (in real dollars) at the end of the day than before the last contract was signed. To site a few specific examples, gas taxes increased, DMV fees increased, minimum wage increased which cause things in the state to become more expensive while simultaneously reducing earning power of people represented by the union, etc.

GeoPay and regional adjustments sound good on its face but…
What does this do for retirement? Is retirement now based on base wages plus regional earnings so in equal job classifications, two people from different parts of the state get different amounts when they both retire to Arizona? How is this fair? Remember when spiking retirement was an issue?

Housing differential…
Regional housing allowance? How do you pull this off? Actual numbers reported to state and union? Median pricing in a given area? What are housing costs? Rent? Mortgage? Water, gas, electricity, sewer, garbage? Does this make cable TV or Internet a right? Wouldn’t raising the renter’s credit on California income tax returns make more sense? Currently its $60 per year for single filers.

Healthcare Justice

SEIU wants all healthcare and vision paid by the state, pay for insurance for employees living in other states, and cap contributions to retiree healthcare at current levels.

Comments

California’s state employees currently have most of their personal health insurance paid by the State—80 Percent. In addition state employees are covered by basic dental and vision plans. For an additional cost, premium versions of this insurance are offered to employees as well.

As for California paying for health insurance in other states, wow! So I can live in Oregon and work at Pelican Bay Prison and Gavin will pay my insurance in the Oregon healthcare system? Or you work for Cal Trans and live on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe and you can get Nevada’s insurance. Arizona would have to be in this mix too but where else? Would such a move allow California politicians to deploy lobbyists to other states to influence their healthcare laws to be in compliance with our laws?

The retiree healthcare contribution was implemented in the current contract as a way to set aside money now for healthcare premiums in the future. This fund is earmarked for use when current employees retire. This currently is 3.5 percent of wages. The final 1.2 percent of this withholding is scheduled to begin with the paychecks July 1, 2020. Total tax 5.38 percent.

partial clip of current contract showing phase-in deduction

Worker and Family Justice

More flexible hours, telecommuting, 20/20 program, and long commutes.

Comments

Many SEIU employees work in offices with set business hours. SEIU wants flexibility of hours and schedules but for many people this is just not practical. Other than not offering a work schedule of four ten, hour days, the state offers many options where I work including lots of time off without using their generous vacation and sick policies. Apparently the union wants even more.

Telecommuting is not practical for many people represented by SEIU. Imaging allowing someone in the accounting department to work from home. The state will insist on supplying a secure laptop to such employees that have access to names, addresses, and social security numbers, plus info on wages and benefits; all from the comfort of home or Starbucks or Panera Bread, or … What could possibly go wrong with this? Note: if this idea doesn’t bother you, ask a high school kid how secure he thinks your personal info–and everyone else’s that you have access to–will be in this scenario and whatever dire things he says, triple the severity and you’ll be close.

The 20/20 plan is getting paid up to 20 hours a week while you attend college and then work the other 20 hours. This does not appear to be limited to improving your knowledge to better perform your job for the State but for the sake of self-improvement.

Below is standard language for an existing program:

Employees interested in pursuing this opportunity shall develop an education plan and/or Individual Development Plan with supervisor input. The 20/20 program endeavors to provide the opportunity for employees to participate in state sponsored, college or university courses for up to twenty (20) hours per week without loss of compensation when employees would otherwise be scheduled for work. At the request of the Union, individual department(s) shall meet to explore the development of a 20/20 program(s).

MOU Page 311

Oh, applications for this program are sent up the department’s chain of command as well as carbon copied to the union.

Conclusion

Dear taxpayers, thanks for generously volunteering to pay for all these wonderful benefits for government workers. It’s too bad your employer doesn’t have any money left to give you the same deal.

I’ll keep you updated as our political class negotiates goodies for the unions that keep them in power. After all, it’s the least I can do for you.

Introducing CALSavers Your State Run Retirement Plan

The Chief explores another socialist step in the cradle-to-grave care provided by the almighty state of California.

In case you missed it, a new retirement program goes live in California starting July 1st. This plan was put in place because the state wants businesses who don’t offer a retirement plan to be forced to offer them. It’s very easy to enroll, actually you are automatically enrolled, unless you opt out. Starting next year, any business with over 100 employees is required to enroll, the following year, the employee number drops to 50, then by 2022, the employee threshold drops to 5.

Details on the actual program are tough to glean, so I called the Employment Development Department (EDD) and they could not answer my questions. Seriously if you want bruises on your brain by all means call them. The State Treasurer’s Office (STO) did provide some color, but not any direct answers. In fairness I totally threw him off his game, after he called me back and said a long spiel which sounded like Latin or some other generally accepted language in California. When he came up for a breath, I told him, “Sir, this is an Arby’s.” He was shaken. I continued to dig for answers, to which this guy either 1) didn’t know or 2) would get back to me about.

From what I could find out online, it looks like if you do nothing that you “opt in” resulting in 5% of your paycheck being remitted to the State and deposited in this retirement plan. The 5% increases by 1% each year until you reach 8%. Anyone can “opt out” or “opt back in” anytime. Such fluid policies seem like a strange hybrid model and an HR nightmare for a small business. If you opt in and don’t put an income level in the program it defaults to 30k a year, so if you make less than that you will be “feeling the Bern” on your paycheck. Something tells me that the paperwork won’t get corrected quickly nor will they “refund” the overage. Account changes are made with the state via internet or snail mail not your HR person so how does this state program communicate with employer to coordinate withholding amounts remain correct?

The account is an after-tax investment i.e. Roth IRA. It appears you have the choice of a mutual fund or a money market fund to deposit your money into. Investing in a money market fund makes little to no sense as they only provide about 1% interest a year. Fees run about 1% a year as well effectively destroying and rate of return on that account. The whole thing reeks of being a Ponzi scheme……

Well, actually it is.

The program was started with a loan (interest to be paid back) from both the SEIU and the CTA, two of the most powerful unions in California.

Two large public employee unions, the California Teachers and the SEIU, each contributed $100,000. Public employee unions played a major role in a national drive to create state-run savings plans for the private sector.


Public unions think improving private-sector retirement can help counter pressure to cut government pensions or, following the corporate trend, switch to 401(k)-style individual investment plans that create no long-term debt for employers.


The nine-member CalSavers board has looked at a public union-backed “pooled IRA” that could gradually, by diverting some of the investment yield in good years, build a reserve large enough to replace some of the losses in a bad year.

State-run retirement savings plan ready to launch

So, the “savers” will have to pay a fee to participate and must be enrolled automatically, or employers will be fined $750 per employee. So now an employer must complete all applicable forms for a new hire, and have them complete this paperwork? This is unfair. No wonder businesses are fleeing the state. Think of the food service industry or a minimum wage jobs where they turnover employees constantly. Another curve ball here, what if the employee doesn’t have a bank account and receives a paper check? What if the employee gets terminated and you fail to let “CalSavers” know? Do the deductions continue? Those fees are ridiculous and are literally just redistributing wealth to current retirees. For example, Vanguard offers accounts for literally a fraction of the fees. The “redistribution” I speak of is just a new way to keep current pension retirees happy. Keep this in mind, older folks (social security/pension recipient) vote in very large numbers, and it would spell the end for many a political career should said pension check bounce. Make no mistake about it, the SEIU and CTA could care less about any non-union member, they want their own taken care of first, and everyone else is a sucker and they are out of luck.

How would this plan even be enforced? The Treasurer’s Office representative said the state has a data base on all eligible business…. where? Even the Secretary of State’s Office can’t possibly have every business on record! Even if they did, how can they screen based on how many employees you have? Is their info really up to the minute? How can that be verified? This would be a nightmare to enforce!

Which parlays into my next point, the real point of this program is to create a brand-new layer of government workers, and a separate group of folks 100% dependent on government. While this may just be a pilot program initially, it will eventually expand to include 7.5 million workers in California… Why is what you may ask?

Low income citizens will opt out of said program (think about it $13 an hour with 8% of pretax paycheck deducted) doesn’t leave much room for food each month. Actually, it amounts to a salary cut…with rising fuel, food and housing costs retirement won’t be an option.

As a result, they will want to lure people like me into this scheme. If you earn around 80k that’s $6,400 a year that goes under state run control each year. By opting out and staying at Vanguard they lose out on that “revenue.” Trust us folks, there is a plan for this, and eventually I will be forced into the account or assessed a penalty for opting out.

As I consider this, I can think of many other questions. What if you leave the state while still working age? Can you roll it into another private account? Or is it heavily penalized and forced to remain in CA? I feel this will become a defined benefit scheme similar to current pension funds used by our state workers, where they are “funded” until they aren’t anymore and the last ones in are wiped out. What makes me skeptical is that the program was known as “Secure Choice retirement investing” prior to a name change. Is it just me or is using the word “secure” in regards to retirement plans just inviting a major lawsuit?

In addition, how does shareholder voting work? Obviously, these funds are going to hold a bunch of companies (more on this in a minute) and as a shareholder you have a right to vote but I don’t see this being allowed. Is Big Brother casting shareholder votes on my behalf so they can steer the market in a way more in line with their political ideology? What companies are being invested in? Something tells me Phillip Morris, Raytheon, Pepsico and other “sin/bad for you companies” will be passed over. Want to take bets Tesla, and other “green” startups will be preferred? Politics over investment return is part of the governing documents of this scheme.

ESG/Socially Responsible Investments: Responsible social, environmental, and governance investing is an issue important to some Participants, and an Investment Option reflecting that belief should be offered.

INVESTMENT POLICY STATEMENT Appendix I

I noticed a bond fund is available, I assume any state with policies/laws we don’t agree with here in CA will be passed over in favor of CA junk bonds! This is just a new way to put a hand on the scale to get a desired outcome, no question it bothers some in this state Tesla is literally going up in smoke. Or is this a way to load up on company stock and push for policy changes? If this program goes the way of MYRA at the federal level what happens to the government workers? I have a feeling they won’t be laid off just folded into an existing bureaucracy.

Worst of all workers will be screwed. You will find yourself laid off and working the same job as an independent contractor or a “temporary staffing worker.” All in the name of your employer avoiding this new program.

You have been warned…..

“The Chief”

Janus Repercussions

In response to Janus, the unions are pushing back on government employees. Thus far, this attack is in two ways.

First, for many in California, those once in the union are still presumed to be union members. The idea stated in Janus that members must affirmatively join the union is being ignored.  Instead, unions are presuming to keep all members and collect dues from them. I know this is the case with the California Teachers Association but I don’t know if SEIU is following suit but it seems likely.

So called “fair share” employees are getting to keep their money but point number two is directed in large part at them. The unions do provide legal representation for employees that need help and this is their best argument for keeping folks in the union and getting “fair share” employees to join.

When you have some manager that thinks they are dictator of their little bureaucratic fiefdom and treat their underlings as chattel, then the union attorney can step in and defend the employee. Sadly this does happen. Unlike the biblical requirement that you need two or three witnesses to establish an accusation, in government employment it takes one person to level an accusation and someone can be administratively disciplined or fired.

Governments are risk averse and anything that puts them at risk must be dealt with. This is often harsh and swift. Contrary to what most folks think, certain things will result in governments firing people just to avoid conflict. Sexual harassment and discrimination are two such areas. In government, such things are not limited to one person saying something to another that is an off color remark. If someone walking by hears something—even if what they hear is out of context —it can still result in disciplinary actions against others.

Below are examples of how seemingly minor things can get blown way out of proportion.

Example 1
If two employees were talking to each other on break and one said, “I don’t let my children watch Steven Universe because it has homosexual characters on it. It makes me sad that Cartoon Network has programming like this for children.”

Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe

If the employee that you said this to or another employee hears you say that, it can be interpreted as an infraction of the Equal Opportunity rules imposed on state employees and you could be administratively disciplined.

Example 2
A 6-year-old child at a public school falls on the playground at recess and cuts her knee. Bleeding and crying, a teacher watching the playground goes to the child, picks her up, gives her a hug, and escorts her to the school nurse to get her cleaned-up and bandaged. The school contacts the parents and lets them know that their child was injured. The child gets home and tells what happens. In the course of the discussion, the child says the teacher hugged her and said she would be ok. The parents then complain that the teacher touched their child. The next thing you know the district superintendent is involved and the teacher is facing suspension as a pedophile. Folks this really happens.

Example 3
If a teacher takes a cell phone, pencil, or water bottle from a child because they are distracting themselves and the class, they can lose their job. I know this to be a fact. The teacher asked the child to voluntarily cease their behavior and the child refused. As a last resort the teacher took the object from the student and resumed instruction.

The student complained. As a result, the teacher was suspended and subsequently terminated. Not only did the school principal not support his teacher, he got the teacher banned from the district. Then the school district tried to have the State Department of Education ban the teacher from ever working in any public school in the State of California again. True story.

The risk aversion of government makes them do stupid things. Also, the lawyers employed in government are typically not the brightest crayons that passed the bar. Seemingly innocent things can be blown way out of proportion and bad things can occasionally get really bad. When the full faith and credit of a government entity is aligned against you, it’s not a great place to be. Truthfully, unions have righted some wrongs that happen to those in government service.

Many of us in government would not mind being in the union if they would stick to their mission of representing government employees and leave the partisan politics alone. When unions are taking in 900 million a year, they are soaking both members and the taxpayers; hence the revolt.

Watching the Janus case ripple thru the country will be interesting. I do expect that California will find ways to ignore both the spirit and the letter of the court decision. for many, legal representation is probably the best reason to stick with the union in the new era of Janus.

For some group of enterprising conservative attorneys, offering some cheaper form of prepaid legal services as an alternative to union membership might be a business opportunity worth exploring.

Democrat Future Bleak after Janus

The Supreme Court ruling that struck down unions from requiring non-members to pay dues as a condition of employment is bigger than most people realize. Folks, the Court threw a thermonuclear grenade into the status quo political arrangement.

I’m going to tie three different threads together as we discuss this issue. As the adage goes, “Follow the money.”

First, the amount of money collected in dues just in the State of California is staggeringly large. I knew that combined the California Teachers Association (CTA) and Service Employees Union International (SEIU) collected about $625 million during each two year election cycle but today I learned this is peanuts.

Based primarily on publicly disclosed 2016 form 990s along with information obtained from their individual websites, in aggregate, California’s major public sector unions are estimated to be collecting over $900 million per year.

Because there are undoubtedly smaller and less visible public sector unions operating in California, this number may be conservative. The number is also possibly understated because when making assumptions, conservative estimates were always applied. This was the done when estimating average membership dues in nearly all cases, and also with respect to total membership.

California’s Major Government Unions Collect At Least $900 Million Per Year

Yeah, you read that right, 900 million dollars a year is the conservative estimate. And as of now they get zero dollars unless they can convince people to join. Now multiply these numbers all across the other states and the Democrats just lost the gravy train. They and their financial backers have lost billions of dollars. Folks, they will not get all these people back on the union rolls; ever.

The implications for the political environment are huge. The most immediate result will be the congressional elections in November; especially the Senate. Democrats have to defend ten seats in states where Trump won. Without funding, their job just to keep these seats let alone gain anything has become all but impossible. Democrats will have to spend all their cash to keep from losing more seats in the Senate. Becoming the majority is almost mathematically impossible. Furthermore, once the elections are over, they and their special interests will be out of cash.

Against this background, take a look at the Supreme Court. The urgency of the smear campaign against the nominee now comes into sharper focus. It doesn’t matter who Trump put up, they have to oppose him. Again, it takes vast amounts of cash to run this campaign against Brett Kavanaugh. Again, this cash cannot be easily replaced.

Following the November election, Republicans will likely gain a few seats in the Senate.
Fox Business even agrees with me on this assertion. This from Stuart Varney:

Is it possible? A red wave coming, to the Senate? The Republicans pick up seats, increase their majority?

It’s possible, and because of Judge Kavanaugh, it’s probable!

Kavanaugh could make red wave probable in Senate come November: Varney

And this is where things get really interesting.

Justice Ginsburg is at the end of her time both on the Court and on this planet. She’s 85 and in poor health. If Democrats had any strategic thinkers on their team, they would have replaced Ginsburg while Obama was President. This would have assured a young Liberal on the court for the next 30 years or so. But they were so cocksure that Hillary Clinton would win that this never happened. This theme has been voiced twice in the last few days. First by Liz Peek on Fox and then by Rush Limbaugh.

Ruth Ginsburg: the next to exit?

Liz Peek: Democrats are furious about Trump and the Supreme Court – They have only Obama to blame

Limbaugh: Dems blundered by not having Ginsburg retire

If Republicans can pick up two or three seats in the Senate, Trump can appoint a full throated conservative to the Court that everyone knows will vote to overturn Roe v Wade and there will not be a damned thing that Susan Collins and her fellow pro-abortion Republicans can do about it. Look for a female Catholic to be nominated to replace Ginsburg.

Oh, this also explains the logic of putting up Brett Kavanaugh to replace Kennedy.

SEIU Releases Settlement Framework

…and now for the rest of the story

No pay increase for 2016-17
No withholding of extra money for retiree medical on January 1, 2017

Where is the State offered 12 percent and the Union wanted 22?

9.2 percent net increase over 4 years and $2,500 signing bonus!

This type of pay increase is more inline with reality but these are hardly the numbers used previously by the media or union.

What is the signing bonus? I’ve heard of incentive pay but this, who knows?

Link: SEIU Tentative Agreement Overview

Notes
The OPEB is the extra money withheld for retiree medical.
Fiscal year is July 1 to June 30

SEIU Strike: Who Blinked?

What We Know So Far
The Service Employees Union International Local 1000 found themselves all dressed up this week and loaded for bear, just itching for a confrontation with the Brown Administration on Monday (12/05) when all of the sudden the Governor pulled the trigger on a preemptive legal maneuver and filed an action against SEIU on Thursday (12/01).

The Brown administration will go to court on Friday to block an unprecedented and potentially disruptive one-day strike next week by California’s largest state employee union.

The California Department of Human Resources confirmed on Thursday that it had filed a request with the Sacramento Superior Court for an injunction against SEIU Local 1000 that would prohibit the union from carrying out the strike or, alternatively, prevent certain “essential employees” from participating in the planned work stoppage.

Local 1000, which represents about 95,000 workers in nine of the state’s 21 bargaining units, announced last week that it would strike on Dec. 5 amid ongoing contract negotiations over a multiyear raise, gender pay inequities and how much members will contribute to their health care plans.

State agencies have warned their employees that the action is illegal because of a no-strike clause in the union’s contract and that they could be subject to discipline if they walk out on Monday. But Local 1000 argues that its strike would be justified because the Brown administration has committed unfair labor practices during bargaining.

CalHR’s request built on a complaint filed earlier in the day by the Public Employment Relations Board regarding approximately 5,900 employees at state prisons, veterans homes, hospitals and centers for the developmentally disabled “whose absence from or refusal to work during the strike may pose an imminent and substantial threat to the health and safety of the public.”

Link: Jerry Brown heads to court to stop state worker strike

Then yesterday, in the early afternoon, the strike was cancelled.

A one-day strike by California’s largest state employee union, set for Monday, has been called off.

In a letter to members Friday, sent shortly after a Sacramento judge postponed a hearing requested by state officials seeking an injunction, SEIU Local 1000 announced that it would not proceed with its unprecedented work stoppage.

Link: California state worker union cancels strike set for Monday

 

Today the union is saying that they have reached a tentative deal with the State.

After nearly eight months of negotiations, I’m proud to announce that our bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with the state early this morning on a contract we can all be proud of.

Link: Tentative Agreement Reached

 

The state previously offered a nearly 12 percent salary increase over four years, but SEIU officials say the 3 percent annual raises would be offset by a 3.5 percent employee contribution to retirees’ health care.

Link: California state workers cancel upcoming strike

As you might recall, SEIU was promising a 22 percent, across the board pay increase over four years to its members.

Other things to know

The paychecks issued to State employees this week (12/01) are the last ones for calendar 2016. The final cut-off for any type of pay to count for 2016 in upon us. (The State Controller is pushing to have any remaining payroll issues resolved during the first few days next week.) The W-2 calculations are about to begin. Traditionally, payroll for the year is audited for accuracy of calculations and any payroll adjustments are done. These are traditionally posted to accounting on December 18th. This makes any kind of retroactivity of a pay raise impractical very soon. Since the Union contract expired on June 30, 2016, there are five months of possible retroactivity on the table for negotiators to consider.

So Who Blinked?

Our tentative agreement achieves many of the goals we identified as priorities in four areas:  improvements in compensation, professional development, working conditions, and health and safety. At the same time, we protected the hard-earned rights we won during previous negotiations.

We will soon share with you the details of our tentative agreement.

Link: Tentative Agreement Reached

 

I think the Union blinked. Their message says “improvements in compensation” which translated means we didn’t deliver on 22 percent. Let’s face it, this was totally unrealistic to expect. However, due to the minimum wage hikes supported by unions like SEIU, members at the lower end of the payroll ladder got screwed by the Union. The only question is how badly? It would take more than a 22 percent pay increase for low paid workers just to get to a $5 an hour increase to keep up with the forthcoming hourly wage hike mandated by the State.

As for the State, I think they either lowered the 3.5 percent they were threatening to take from employee pay on January first or they split it over multiple years. Also, they probable agreed to 15 percent over four years instead of the 12 that they were offering.

The retroactivity is one factor that interests me. If so, will it be a special pay run—a literal Christmas bonus for State employees—or just tacked on to a future paycheck or water under the proverbial bridge?

Final Word
However this turns out, State employees are getting a better deal than people in the real world.

Remember that the pay raises discussed as part of the current negotiations with the State and SEIU are separate from the step increases in pay received by government employees. In addition, State employees also get a 5 percent pay raise every year when they pass the anniversary date of their last promotion and they also get a 5 percent pay hike every time they are promoted. (Promotions reset the anniversary date of the 5 percent wage increases.) In reality, many State employees are going to do better than the 22 percent promised by the Union, just not the way they promised it would happen.

Thanks to the taxpayers of California for their generosity during this season of Christmas.

State Response to SEIU Strike

Below is the text of a memo sent to State employees. The memo is dated November 30, 2016

NOTICE OF STRIKE BY SEIU BARGAINING UNIT EMPLOYEES

We want to remind employees of their rights and obligations regarding picketing and job actions.  You are permitted to participate in informational picketing if you are doing so on your own time (e.g., before or after work, or if you have been approved for leave).

However, as a reminder, job actions such as work stoppages, strikes, or sickouts are expressly prohibited by every labor contract between the State and exclusive bargaining representatives. Although the Memorandum of Understanding’s for several bargaining units are presently expired, their no-strike clauses continue to exist pursuant to the provisions of the Government Code section 3517.8.

The Department will act to maintain service to the public.  The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) employees who participate in an illegal job action, such as a work stoppage, strike, or sick out, may be subject to disciplinary action.  CDCR and CCHCS will review each job action on a case-by-case basis.

For more information, see CalHR’s website for frequently asked questions regarding informational picketing, and job actions, at: Link: CalHR Strike Policy.

Oh, in case you were curious, Monday Dec 5 is my regular day off and I plan to spend it far from people in purple shirts.

SEUI Looking for a Fight

Public employee strikes are illegal. However, the SEIU is looking for cannon fodder to take the State to court. SEIU’s only hope is to turn public opinion to their cause and they are hoping that someone will hold state employees accountable for missing work as a result of the December 5th walkout. When they do, SEIU hopes their members will call their crisis hotline and then their lawyers can jump into action in hopes that some judge will bloody the nose of the state and thus help their cause.

What other conclusion can you draw after reading their newsletter this week? Check it for yourself. SEIU Nov 30 newsletter

Below are a few sections that caught my eye.

Is it legal to go out on strike, even if we have a no-strike clause that is still in effect?

Yes. Unfair labor practice strikes have been legal for decades under state and federal law despite the existence of a no-strike clause. The fact that our Union engaged in the strike in good faith can serve as a defense to any charges of illegality.

The above statement “…can serve as a defense to any charges of illegality” is called admission against interest. SEIU admits the strike is illegal but claims they have a good excuse to have a walkout. Of course this excuse is subject to a determination by a judge that believes in a living Constitution—or at least a malleable interpretation of the law.

Will I be disciplined for participating in the strike?

The State may take retaliatory disciplinary actions against members who go on strike. But these actions are illegal. There are legal appeals and antiretaliation laws to hold the State accountable. Our Union has a Strike Legal Defense Team that will defend you.

What should I do if I am disciplined for participating in the strike?

Please call the MRC’s Strike Hotline at 866.471. SEIU (7348). Our Union has a Strike Legal Defense Team that will defend you.

Because striking is illegal, if the State says strike participants will not be paid, does that qualify as retaliation?
If employee must use a vacation or sick day in order to be paid for striking does that qualify as retaliation?

My conclusion is that it doesn’t matter what happens, SEIU is desperate for any confrontation that they can milk for publicity. At this point any perceived reaction from the State will be called a victory.

Seems like SEIU is the rebellious teenager and the government is the neglectful parent. Talk about irreconcilable differences. Maybe it’s time for binding arbitration to be orchestrated by Dr. Phil.

SEIU: Strike One

Just in time for Black Friday the SEIU Christmas special: Home for the Holidays —one day only special.

On Monday, December 5th, we will hold a one-day strike in protest of the state’s unlawful conduct and egregious unfair labor practices during contract bargaining.
SEIU Announcement

Told Ya.

More details when they become available.