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CAPS Bargaining Update: Answering your LBFO Concerns, Looking Forward

Updated Summary of the State’s Last, Best, and Final Offer (LBFO) Presented on December 19.

A complete, updated summary of all the not-yet TA’d sections within the State’s LBFO can be found here.

  • The State proposed a contract term of December 1, 2023 – July 1, 2026, unless a specific provision provides for a different effective date (an example is 2.1 Salaries).
    • Summary of the State’s LBFO Proposals for Major Economic Items:
      • Salaries: They included the salary proposal they passed on August 29, which is summarized here.
        • This proposal did not include any retroactivity (even though we’ve been out of a contract since 2020). Rather, raises would have been implemented “effective the first pay period following ratification by both parties.”
        • The proposal included a salary increase the first pay period following ratification, then a second salary increase effective July 1, 2024, and a third salary increase effective July 1, 2025. There were no proposed salary increases in 2026, the last year of the proposed contract term. 
      • The LBFO did NOT offer any compensation specifically to address regional differences in cost of living, loss of institutional knowledge, or increasing employer health care cost contributions, among other CAPS proposals. The state currently provides all of these accommodations to other bargaining units working for the State. 
  • No Strike Clause: 
    • The State included a proposed rollover of previous 13.1 language, which would prevent State Scientists from striking during the terms of the MOU. This cannot be imposed upon us by the governor. Read on for an explanation as to why.
  • Sections previously TA’d made up a majority of the State’s LBFO.

Addressing Common Questions and Concerns Regarding the LBFO (Specific LBFO FAQs are being developed by the Bargaining Team and CAPS’ Legal Team and will be shared as soon as practicable). 

1. Why wasn’t the LBFO brought to the membership for a vote?

  • The LBFO provided the same terms that prompted thousands of CAPS members to go on strike in November 2023. It was also not substantially different from the offer that was overwhelmingly voted down by CAPS members in February 2023. 
  • For many, the LBFO may have been worse than the tentative agreement that CAPS Members rejected in February 2023, as the majority of State Scientists are not at the top of their pay range. Increasing a pay range at the top only means that it takes longer to get to the top of the pay range. Typically, a pay range takes about five years to move through. Adding more to the top (and not moving up the entire range) means that some State Scientists may never make it to the top of their pay range because the median retention for a rank-and-file State Scientist is only five years. Not by choice, but because they are forced to leave since the State treats State Scientists like we are disposable. Top range increases leave everyone else out.
  • The LBFO failed to keep pace with inflation, much less address long-standing and increasingly egregious pay gaps and pay equity issues important to CAPS members, based on the 2023 Bargaining Survey results:
    • 87% of respondents said restoring historical salary relationships is a priority.
    • 85% of respondents report they make less than others who perform similar jobs in comparable positions
    • 80% of respondents strongly disagree that their pay is fair based on the work they perform.
  • Making even further concessions by agreeing to an LBFO that does not meet our core needs makes no sense.

2. What’s Next?

  • As of now, the State may implement any or all of the LBFO terms. 
  • Even if terms are imposed on CAPS, the state and CAPS still have a duty to bargain for a mutually agreeable MOU.
  • The State cannot impose an expiration date on terms they implement and avoid meeting us at the bargaining table.
  • We retain the right to participate in disruptive collective actions and are entitled to continue negotiations for better terms.
  • It’s critical that all State Scientists to stay informed and stay engaged.

Unfair Practice Charge by the State: PERB Hearing Dates. 

Per state law, Government Code Section 3517.8, also called the “Evergreen Clause,” the terms of the expired Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) remain in effect until the parties agree to a new MOU or impasse is reached. In November,CalHR filed a UPC against CAPS for striking because they don’t believe the plain language of the Dills Act and insist that CAPS was still bound by the MOU not to strike. The Dills Act is clear: once impasse was declared, the MOU – and the No Strike clause – was no longer enforceable. You can read all the related filings here

Our PERB hearing dates have been scheduled for January 23rd and 24th. We will keep the membership posted on further developments.

The UPC filed against us has nothing to do with the LBFO, and does not interfere with our right to future collective actions. The State cannot impose anything that would waive our statutory rights, such as our right to strike. We have the statutory right to strike and we will continue to defend that. 

Powerful Showings of Solidarity Work!

If we want to see improvements in our wages, benefits, and the terms and conditions of our employment, we have to let the State know that we mean business and are willing to fight for what is rightfully ours. After close to FOUR years of bargaining, and almost 20 years of being paid inequitably compared to our peers that do similar or comparable work, the State hasn’t brought any proposals to the table that would meaningfully address any of our core bargaining priorities. We know that employers don’t move unless they’re forced to. We have to show them how powerful we really are, TOGETHER…stay tuned for updates from your Member Action Committee about upcoming actions.

Share Your Thoughts With Your CAPS Bargaining Team. 

In the meantime, to share your thoughts and reach out to your CAPS Team, please fill out this form. Please note that your CAPS Team will not be able to respond to every comment or suggestion, but will be reading all of the messages received.

Worksite Meetings Scheduled.

Worksite meetings to discuss the rejection of the LBFO and what’s next have been scheduled. Submit your questions using this form. More worksite meetings may be scheduled, as needed. Register at the links below.

  • Wednesday, January 17th, 12-1 & 6-7
  • Thursday, January 18th, 12-1

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