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LARGEST STATE EMPLOYEE BARGAINING UNIT RATIFIES LABOR CONTRACT

 LARGEST STATE EMPLOYEE BARGAINING UNIT RATIFIES LABOR CONTRACT
 SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- By a wide margin, workers in California's largest state bargaining unit have voted to ratify a labor contract after a year of talks shadowed by the state's budget woes, the California State Employees Association (CSEA) announced today.
 The 34,000 state employees represented by CSEA Bargaining Unit 4, the Office and Allied Workers, hold jobs in statewide agencies such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and in facilities such as state hospitals and prisons. They also work as toll collectors on nine state bridges -- seven in the Bay Area.
 Reflecting the state's budget problems, the new, three-year contract includes raises of up to 10 percent during the last two years of the contract, a personal leave program that places one day a month of pay for 18 months in a leave bank for employees to draw on later, and a freeze on what the state will pay for health care.
 To keep health-care costs down, the contract creates a joint labor/management task force that will explore ways to contain costs.
 Casting ballots by mail, Unit 4 employees approved the contract by a vote of 8,765 to 570. CSEA represents 34,000 workers in the unit, but only the 24,000 who are CSEA members were eligible to vote.
 "This contract is a compromise with the state that provides decent raises and protections for our members," said Elizabeth Gotelli, chairperson of the Unit 4 bargaining team and a senior accounting clerk with the Department of Parks and Recreation in San Diego.
 "The state is facing an $11 billion deficit -- the worst in decades," Gotelli noted. "This agreement reflects the harsh economic realities we face today."
 CSEA, SEIU Local 1000, represents 78,000 state workers overall and is the largest state employee union. Packages similar to the Unit 4 contract have been offered to all 21 of the state's public employee bargaining units.
 Over the past year, negotiations included calls for deep cuts by Gov. Wilson that at one time amounted to 30 percent reductions in pay and benefits.
 Instead, Unit 4 members will receive a 5 percent pay increase in January 1994 and between a 3 to 5 percent increase in January 1995, depending on the Consumer Price Index.
 CSEA successfully fought Gov. Wilson's demands that state workers be put on mandatory unpaid furloughs. Instead, the negotiated personal leave program puts workers' pay into a bank at the rate of one day a month for 18 months, but employees have an absolute legal right to that money.
 Under the leave program, employees receive credits for banked pay that can be exchanged for vacation or cashed out -- at the discretion of the departments they work for. The program does not affect benefit or retirement accrual, and employees must be cashed out if they retire or otherwise leave state service.
 The Unit 4 bargaining team also negotiated improvements in many area, including safety, where the state will now be required to provide safety brochures for those working on video display terminals.
 The Unit 4 contract will go into effect when it's ratified by the Legislature.
 CSEA represents nine state bargaining units, and four others are voting on similar contracts: Units 15 (Allied Service Workers), 17 (United Registered Nurses), 20 (Medical and Social Support), and 21 (Educational Consultant, Library and Maritime).
 Negotiations continue in CSEA's four other units.
 -0- 6/16/92
 /CONTACT: Mike Myslinski of CSEA, 916-326-4378/ CO: California State Employees Association ST: California IN: SU:


MC-RM -- SF013 -- 0880 06/16/92 17:56 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 16, 1992
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