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August 22, 2022 Bargaining Report

The CASE Bargaining Team has reached an agreement with the State on a successor MOU and presents to you the following total tentative agreement for consideration. It does not contain all that you deserve, nor everything the Team sought, however, it is the best deal available from this administration and makes progress on our top three priorities this year: general salary increases (GSIs), addressing the salary relationship between ALJs and Attorneys, and securing meaningful paid family leave.

This three-year agreement provides significant gains for many, especially when considered in the context of this year’s negotiations, and is markedly different from the terms for which the recent Straw Poll was conducted. 

CalHR’s prior offer would have totaled about 7.7% (including compounding) over the life of the deal, with ALJs receiving about 13% increases (including compounding). Under the current agreement, many members will see increases totalling as much as 15.2% (for most ALJs) and 16.2% (for many attorneys), over the life of the agreement.

In response to data CASE provided to CalHR highlighting retention issues, the top step of pay scales in all classes will also be raised significantly during the term of the contract to give all Unit 2 legal professionals access to greater pay and promotional opportunities in the future. This includes significant improvement at the top of the Attorney III (and equivalent) scales where attrition is especially problematic.

The Team is also proud to announce that it has succeeded in securing a paid family leave benefit – the first of its kind for any rank-and-file unit in state history

With the National Judicial College Differential applied (5%), this MOU helps bring ALJs closer to parity with their Attorney counterparts. The ALJ Range A scale will roughly align with Attorney III, the ALJ Range B scale will roughly align with Attorney IV, and the Senior ALJ scale will roughly align with Attorney V.

The Bargaining Team is united in its belief that CASE Members must be presented with this agreement and urges your support. Please read on for details and FAQ on the process.

THE TENTATIVE AGREEMENT 

What are the major terms of this agreement?
General Salary Increases (GSI)

  • Retroactive to July 1, 2022, a 2.5% General Salary Increase for all Unit 2 legal professionals.
  • Effective July 1, 2023, a 3% General Salary Increase for all Unit 2 legal professionals.

Special Salary Adjustments (SSA)

  • Effective July 1, 2023, a 4.5% increase to the maximum salary ranges of Administrative Law Judges. This SSA covers the following classifications. (Note that these classes reflect the ALJ class titles after the recent ALJ class consolidation.)
    • Administrative Law Judge (6016)
    • Administrative Law Judge, Public Utilities Commission (6103)
    • Senior Administrative Law Judge (6132)
  • Effective July 1, 2024, a 4.5% increase to the maximum salary range for all Unit 2 classifications, except Attorney III (and equivalent classes)
  • Effective July 1, 2024, a 10% increase to the maximum salary range for Attorney III (and equivalent classes). This SSA covers the following classifications:
    • 5795   Attorney III
    • 5706   Deputy Attorney General III
    • 5789   Deputy Attorney III, Caltrans
    • 6180   Industrial Relations Counsel III (Specialist)
    • 5812   Public Utilities Counsel III, CPUC
    • 5537   Real Estate Counsel III (specialist)
    • 6274   Senior Board Counsel, ALRB
    • 6115   Senior Fair Employment and Housing Counsel (Specialist)
    • 6733   Tax Counsel III (Specialist)
    • 5763   Deputy State Public Defender Range C (only)
    • 6204   Sr. Commission Counsel (Specialist) FFPC

Paid Family Leave
Effective July 1, 2023, all Unit 2 legal professionals will have access to NDI-Paid Family Care Leave, which provides partial wage replacement for up to 6 weeks to bond with a newly arrived child or to care for an ailing family member. This benefit marks the first time in state history that a rank-and-file bargaining unit’s members will have any paid family leave benefit with no additional out-of-pocket costs to the employee. 

CoBen Increases
Unit 2 legal professionals receive a Consolidated Benefit (CoBen) allowance each month towards the cost of their health, dental, and vision benefits. Article 11.1 of the MOU sets out the CoBen amount and a formula raises it each year as prescribed in the contract. The total tentative agreement provides increases to the CoBen Allowance in accordance with CASE’s 80/80 formula to coincide with health care premium increases in 2023, 2024, and 2025.

OPEB Decreases and Future Formula
Article 19.1 will now provide a formula that limits changes to the amount you contribute to Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) to an increase or decrease of no more than .5% per year. The impact upon ratification will be a .3% decrease in the amount you pay to pre-fund your post-retirement benefits.

Retirement Benefits
The new MOU protects Unit 2 retirement benefits and preserves the .5% reduction in employee contributions achieved in 2022 and effective July 1, 2022.

Other Benefits

  • Telework Stipend: The new MOU preserves and incorporates telework stipends secured through a 2021 side letter into the MOU. 
  • Transit: The new MOU increases transit and vanpool subsidies from 75% to 100% of the current amount set by the IRS, rather than an artificially low cap of $100. Currently the IRS amount is $280. This increases transit subsidies for all Unit 2 legal professionals.
  • On-Call Pay: For employees in the CHHS Office of Law Enforcement Support (OLES) or the DOJ’s Officer Involved Shooting Enforcement, one day’s salary differential shall be paid per Administrator-of-the-Day (AOD) on-call shift of seven consecutive-days, subject to requirements. If additional on-call programs are implemented, the State has an obligation to meet and confer with CASE about the application of this new provision.
  • Local and Specialty Bar Dues:The new MOU will double the reimbursed amount for local and specialty bar dues from $100 to $200 annually.
  • Business and Travel Expenses: The CASE Bargaining Team bargained hard to tie Unit 2 business and travel reimbursement rates to federal rates which more closely match reality. While the State wouldn’t agree at this time, the team did succeed in securing a provision that would automatically apply any improved reimbursement rates given to supervisors and managers to Unit 2 employees as well. Expect to see CASE ramping up its advocacy efforts towards securing federal rates for our Supervisor and Manager members so that their win will be your win as well.
  • Bereavement Leave: The new MOU removes antiquated language that risked treating LGBTQIA+ families differently. The revised language ensures all families have the same access to the same bereavement benefit.
  • Judicial Attire: The new MOU removes antiquated, gendered language prescribing attire for Administrative Law Judges.
  • Salary Survey: Prior to the expiration of the new MOU, the State is required to meet with CASE to discuss the components and methodology for conducting a salary survey that will better capture real-world salary circumstances.

THE PROCESS

Where are we now?
The CASE Bargaining Team has entered into a total tentative agreement with CalHR for a new Unit 2 MOU and the CASE Board of Directors has approved the total tentative agreement for presentation to the CASE membership for a ratification vote. 

Who gets to vote to ratify or to reject the new MOU?
Only dues-paying members of CASE have the right to vote to ratify or to reject the new MOU. The deadline to become a CASE Member to participate in the ratification vote is Friday, August 26. If you’re not a member, join today

When does the ratification vote take place?
A detailed email regarding the electronic voting process will be sent to CASE Members later this week. Because certain aspects of the new MOU take effect on a date dependent on the date of ratification, CASE plans to conduct and complete the vote before the end of August.

What is the vote threshold for members to ratify the MOU?
A majority of members voting must ratify the MOU for it to take effect. Otherwise, the deal is rejected and the parties will return to the bargaining table.

What else must happen for this MOU to become effective?
Two things must happen for implementation: 1) members must vote to ratify the MOU and 2) the legislature must ratify the MOU via legislation. If either the members reject the total tentative agreement or if the legislature fails to enact Unit 2 MOU legislation, the parties return to the table for further negotiations. CASE’s legislative advocates will be working to ensure legislative ratification of the new MOU prior to the end of the legislative session on August 31.

Where can I review the entire total tentative agreement
You can review all terms of the total tentative agreement here. We expect a full pdf of all provisions to be available on the CalHR website by close of business today.

Where can I read additional information about this year’s negotiations, the consequences of ratification or rejection, and more information?
Please visit the CASE 2022-25 MOU FAQ page.

Where can I ask questions and learn more?
CASE Members will receive information on virtual town hall events where Bargaining Team Members will be available to answer questions about the MOU.

In Solidarity,
Your CASE Bargaining Team

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