Workers Comp Zone


Governor Brown and CASE, the union representing California Administrative Law judges and many state attorneys, have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.

The contract, which will affect workers’ comp judges and state attorneys, would end furloughs but require one day of unpaid leave per month.

Approval by CASE members will be required for the contract, which would run from April 1, 2011 to July 1, 2013. CASE has slightly over 3,000 members.

In the last several years CASE fought Schwarzenegger-imposed furloughs in court.

The furloughs amounted to pay cuts which put many of the workers’ comp WCJs under financial distress. Many of those judges had left private law practice where they made more money only to find that even deeper financial sacrifices were being imposed on them.

The agreement between Brown and CASE also requires a 3% increase in worker contribution to pensions (from 6% to 9% for most CASE members).

Here is the text of a letter from the CASE bargaining team to its members, explaining the deal:

“Dear Bargaining Unit 2 Colleague:
This afternoon, the CASE Bargaining Team met with representatives from the Department of Personnel Administration (“DPA”), including DPA Director Ronald Yank. The parties have reached a tentative agreement for a new memorandum of understanding (“MOU”). The following is a summary of the agreement:
* Term: April 1, 2011 – June 30, 2013.
* Three-day-per-month furloughs end for all furloughed employees on April 1, 2011, conditioned upon the proposed MOU being ratified by CASE membership.
* 3% increase to employee pension contribution (total of 9% for Bargaining Unit 2 miscellaneous employees, 10% for Bargaining Unit 2 safety employees).
* 4% increase to top of salary step for all classes at end of contract (July 1, 2013), effective after employee has been at top step for a minimum of 12 months.
* All employees to receive 1.73 hours of additional leave credit per month (equal to 1% of gross salary per year) during the term of the MOU. This additional leave credit does not expire, and may be used or cashed out in the same manner as vacation leave or annual leave.
* One day of unpaid personal leave (under a program named “PLP 2010” by DPA) per month for 12 consecutive months beginning the pay period following ratification. Employees have until June 30, 2016, to use accrued PLP 2010 time, at which time it expires. PLP 2010 time must be used before any type of leave except sick leave, and has no cash value.
* Bargaining Unit 2 employees at State Compensation Insurance Fund are exempted from PLP 2010 days for the term of the contract in recognition of the successful CASE litigation and Insurance Code section 11873(c).
* Increased state health care contributions (80%-80% formula) for 2011, 2012, and 2013. Employer health care contribution for 2011 increased to $486 (employee only), $986 (employee plus one dependent), and $1,241 (employee plus two or more dependents). State health care contribution to be increased on January 1, 2012, and January 1, 2013, using the 80%-80% formula.
* Bargaining Unit 2 members will receive two additional professional development days (for a total of five professional development days) per fiscal year, to be used for either professional or personal development activities at the employee’s discretion, and to be requested and granted in the same manner as annual or vacation leave.
* Consistent with legislation passed during the prior administration, the parties agree to delete Lincoln’s Birthday and Columbus Day as state holidays.
* State agrees not to seek the unilateral imposition of furloughs during term of PLP 2010.
* State agrees to introduce and support legislation to continuously appropriate funding for state employee salaries and benefits during the term of the contract, to ensure employee salaries and benefits are maintained in the event of an untimely State budget.
* Employees hired after January 15, 2011, shall participate in a reduced (pre-SB400) defined benefit pension plan (2% at 60 formula).
* Contract protection (“Most Favored Nation Clause” or “Me Too Clause”) which ensures that should any other bargaining unit currently without a contract receive a better overall compensation package, the members of Bargaining Unit 2 would be entitled to the difference.
* The remainder of the prior MOU, including side-letter agreements and the CUIAB caseload stipulation previously negotiated, were rolled over into the new contract.
The proposed MOU in no way limits our right to move forward with current or institute future litigation challenging the unilateral imposition of furloughs, or to seek back pay or other remedies for those members who have been furloughed.
We are presently working to make the language of the new contractual terms available on this website. The new language should be available shortly.
While this contract does little to address the structural pay disparity under which the state’s legal professionals perform, the CASE Board of Directors believes that this agreement represents the best MOU that can be reached in the current political and fiscal climate.
CASE members should expect to receive a ratification ballot by U.S. Mail the week of March 14, 2011. Ratification ballots must be received in Sacramento by 5:00 p.m. on March 31, 2011. Ballots will be counted by an independent elections company on Friday, April 1, 2011, and the results announced immediately thereafter.
As always, your support of CASE and your colleagues in Bargaining Unit 2 is greatly appreciated.
The CASE Board of Directors”

Stay tuned.

Julius Young

Category: Political developments