Dear Valued CSLEA member:
This week the CSLEA Negotiations Team reached a Tentative Agreement (TA) with the Administration. The CSLEA Board of Directors will meet tomorrow, August 28, to review and decide on whether to send the TA to the membership for a ratification vote. If the Board votes to send the TA to the membership, each full CSLEA member is entitled to cast a vote for or against the TA. Although the agreement is not ideal, the CSLEA Negotiations Team agreed that it is the best that can be achieved at this time and is far better than the alternative of not having a new contract in place.
The CSLEA Negotiations Team met with the State on 20 separate occasions prior to reaching agreement. When the initial units began finalizing their deals in July, CSLEA expected that the same parameters would be afforded Unit 7. However, the Administration and Department of Finance decided to not treat all units identically. When the offer to CSLEA was less than what the board viewed as fair and equitable, we agreed to hold firm in the hope of receiving a better offer. I personally met with the Speaker of the Assembly and the Senate Pro Tem to facilitate their support in helping CSLEA close the gap.
It became evident that a deal was going to have to be reached before the Legislature recessed or CSLEA would not be in a position to have a contract ratified until after the Legislature reconvened next January. Therefore, the TA was reached which will provide across-the-board cost-of-living increases to the entire bargaining unit, some special salary adjustments to a few classifications , and preservation of the cost sharing of future health benefit premium increases.
The alternatives to not accepting the deal are clearly more detrimental than ratifying the contract that is before you. As the prior MOU has expired, Unit 7 employees would be obligated to pick up 100% of the increased premium contributions for health benefits, instead of the 20% contribution which exists in the TA. There is also no certainty or even likelihood that the administration will increase its offer should the membership vote against ratification.
It is understandable that many may feel that they should receive more under this TA than is being offered. I agree with that sentiment. But I am convinced this is the best deal that could have been obtained at this time. And CSLEA will do its best to continue to address inequities and working condition issues outside the contract. On behalf of the CSLEA Board of Directors, I thank you for your patience and support.
Alan Barcelona, President
California Statewide Law Enforcement Assn.