SACRAMENTO -- California prison officers stand to receive a raise of as much as 7% on July 1, twice what negotiators for Gov. Gray Davis estimated when the governor agreed to a new contract last year.
The cost -- $67 million more than anticipated -- comes as the state struggles with a budget shortfall of as much as $35 billion, and as Davis calls on all state workers to accept deep pay cuts.
The contract, struck as Davis entered his reelection campaign, has stirred criticism in part because the prison guards union is one of the state's largest campaign contributors, and because some contract provisions have already shown unintended and expensive consequences.
For example, state negotiators agreed to liberalize prison sick leave policy in a way that prompted officers to call in ill 500,000 more hours in 2002 than in 2001, a 27% increase that brought an extra cost of $36 million this year and next. The increased sick leave, in turn, helped drive up prison overtime costs, as officers logged 100,000 more overtime hours in 2002 than in 2001.
The overall raise in the five-year contract that ends in 2006 has been estimated at 34% to 37%.
Davis administration officials say the exact size of the July raise won't be known for some time, but they hope to head off some of the increase by renegotiating with union leaders. Union officials, however, say they don't intend to budge.
"Union leaders who advocate pay cuts don't last long," said Mike Jimenez, president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. Noting that prison officers have a contract and the state is obligated to abide by it, Jimenez said: "The state negotiated in good faith, and, yes, the state could pay for it."
The union initially expected its roughly 26,000 members to receive a scheduled July 1 raise of about 4%. The Department of Personnel Administration, which negotiated the deal on behalf of the governor, estimated the raise would be 3.53%.
But union leaders note that the formula agreed to in the labor pact is pegged to pay rates granted to police officers in five large California cities. One is San Diego, where officers earlier this year won an 11% raise.
In interviews this week, union leaders said the formula suggests that prison officers, sergeants and lieutenants are entitled to raises of roughly 7%. That would amount to $120 million, more than twice the $56-million price tag placed on the 2003 raise by state budget experts. Instead of receiving raises of $160 a month, individual officers could be receiving $320 more per month, pushing the annual base for veteran officers to $59,000.
"The number that I'm hearing consistently is 7%," said union executive Lance Corcoran.
Davis administration officials caution, however, that the number could change because some of the local police departments are still negotiating with their unions.
As he struggles to close the state budget gap, Davis is calling on state employees to accept pay cuts amounting to $850 million. Noting that prison officers are not exempt, Davis earlier this week said: "Clearly, correctional guards are well-compensated."
Marty Morgenstern, Davis' chief labor negotiator and head of the Department of Personnel Administration, intends to begin negotiations with the correctional officers union over the potential pay cuts later this month.
During the last state budget crisis in 1991, the prison officers union agreed to a 5% pay cut. But the concessions came at a price. The union persuaded then-Gov. Pete Wilson to give officers an extra eight hours a month of paid vacation for every 18 months of service. Jimenez estimated the cost to the state was roughly $150 million.
over paid ? You dont have the guts to work in a prison. I bet dadys boy hear did not have to work for an education to say that sombody in this field of work is over paid states to me that everything is handed to you on a silver platter.
tomm25102003 says: "Priviate prison guards you get what you pay for cca is too cheep (sic)"
Hmmm... is it that public prison guards are more educated. Do you have a college degree? 2 years college? Graduated in the top 10% of your high school class?
Judging from your post you surely must not be judging quality by education. It is also obvious on that basis, you are way overpaid.
To me, it sure sounds like public guards are just too "deer".
Davis is bought and paid for by the UNION. Pure and simple. Mcprison and his bunch have invested hundreds of thousands into this Governor. Taxpayers are the ones that are getting the shaft. Thanks for your post.
As the general so aptly pointed out, you have failed to do your homework once again. You should stick to cheerleading, you know, pom-poms, short skirt, stuffed sweater and saddle shoes. I'm sure you're quire the sight - clearly being inaccurate does'nt stop you from expressing your opinion.
By the way (and once again) I am not a union employee nor a member of any union. However, I do enjoy watching you continually post your opinion which you so regularly state as fact.
Your buffoonery is quite comical.
Could you please post some photos of yourself in your cheerleader uniform so that we can all see how high you can jump when directed?
Thanks, in advance.
Lastly, Davis kept alive the five private prisons he announced he would close last year and then closed a public prison this year. Also, he did not attempt to close the private prisons this year either.
While I would agree that the union has secured many advantages from its political action, most "special interests do the same, to the bestof thier abilities.
CCA spent $250,000 in 1998 election cylce in CA. And CCA gave "Doofus" $25,000 in October of 1998, just weeks before the election.
Is that a bad thing? I don't think so, but I doubt CCA was giving him money because he was such a good friend to the company. CCA probably hoped to gain something from their contribution, just like everyone one else who contributes to campaigns around the country.
CCA, I believe, continues to make large campaign contributions around the country, mostly playing in areas where much less cash is required for a similar benefit. Thst does not make the company bad. I believe it makes good business sense. Surely you are not unhappy that the contributed to the RNC, GW, congressional members or numerous legislatures and local government officials.
Regarding taxpayers, doesn't this company have automatic pay increase (COLAs) loaded into many of its contracts? While not defending the union, do these increases amount to taxpayers getting the shaft as well?
Please correct me (with facts, please) where I'm wrong.
It isn't hundreds of thousands, aw0099, it's millions!
And the die was cast several years ago, when the CCPOA was thought to have contributed only > $1 million to Doofus' 1998 gubernatorial campaign. Here's an article from the 7/15/99 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle (click on: Top Democrats Accuse Davis Of Usurping Their Authority). FORE!!
Three years and two months later, the Associated Press reported that Doofus' 1998 campaign had actually received DOUBLE the largess that had been reported earlier. And, like Ol' Man River, the money machine jes keeps rollin' along.
You'll note that the California Teachers Association (CTA) was just as beneficial to Doofus' 1998 campaign. What the innocent little kiddies don't know can make you want to puke.