Bargaining Unit 3 August 2016 Newsletter


The Dog Days of Summer


During the past months that your bargaining team met with the State, the reaction of the State’s negotiation team was one of disinterest. And, after passing what they determined to be their “best offer,” they just walked away from the table.

According to reports from the Correctional Education Association meetings recently held in San Diego, our Superintendent, Dr. Choate, has allegedly claimed responsibility for the “North – South” salary schedule. Really? It would only cost the State an extra $1.5 – 2 million to place everyone on the same schedule. The State chose to take a “band aid” approach and try to save money by only partially fixing the pay problem for CDCR teachers, instead of spending the time and money to create a real, workable solution to pay our teachers the fair salary they deserve. 

On July 30th, the Board of Directors of the union, in a unanimous vote, decided to ask the general membership to vote for the approval of “concerted actions, up to and including a strike, in support of bargaining our contract.” 

We all now have a decision that we need to consider.

When talking with a vocational instructor during the recent town hall meetings, I was provided with some information that he’d recently received from the Office of Correctional Education.

He had received the NCCER Construction Craft Salary Survey results. This survey published the annual average salaries for skilled trades in 2015. The following information was listed by skill:

  1. Heavy Equipment Operator $137,280
  2. Commercial Carpenter $135,200
  3. Commercial Electrician $122,720
  4. Pipe Welder $108,160

It must be noted that these are the high end of the salaries paid during the year, however, vocational instructors in those trades would be eligible for those salaries.

In our proposals, the bargaining team presented new placement language to the State that would ease the hardship of inadequate pay for new vocational instructors (made retroactive to 2010), however, that was flatly rejected by the State’s negotiators. In rejecting all of the compensation proposals (except the Coaching Differentials for the State Special Schools at 22.10.3), the State rejects the notion that those who make education their field of endeavor, including our Correctional Librarians, are as an important assetin the maintenance of the public safety and health; as are the uniformed personnel employed by the Corrections Department.

After fighting for years to get their class specifications updated, including passage of at least two pieces of legislation recognizing the importance of the service delivered by Correctional Librarians, the State brought the whole process to a screeching halt with the “Civil Service Improvement” (CSI) project. The CSI is supposed to streamline the number of job classifications through consolidation of like classifications and elimination of obsolete classifications. I

n like manner, the State rejected anything that would even approach an equitable salary schedule for those Unit 3 members in its employ. This blanket decision, that covers all members in the Special Schools and the Diagnostic Centers, caused several members to leave the Department of Education for the public school systems, where they work fewer days for better compensation.


August is the time that most personnel offices in CDCR begin to reconcile their records to verify the number of days that personnel have actually worked. If you did not use all of your flex days and the personnel office paid you for those days, do not be surprised if you wind up with an Accounts Payable or invoice. John Kern has informed me of reports of Principals telling teachers that they don’t have to take those days and that they’ll be paid for them. That is a false statement. You will only be paid for working 220 days in the year. If you did not take your flex days, then you have just donated time to the State, something that many of us can ill afford.

Remember, the six flex days are for your use at any time you desire, as long as you provide at least 5 days’ notice that you will be using them. They are your RDOs, and the Principal or Vice Principal cannot refuse your use of them. If you allow management to dictate when you use your time off, then the benefit will have been given up, and management will say it is because you didn’t want the benefit of deciding when to take your time off. This is a benefit that you have earned. Why would you give it up?


BU 3 members can communicate with their bargaining team though their locally elected District Bargaining Unit Representative (DBUR). To get in touch with a DBUR or for any other type of union information, please call the SEIU Local 1000 Member Resource Center at 866.471.SEIU (7348). BU 3 also has an email address:

Remember, this message will not be delivered to email addresses that are on the State email server.  

Your BUNC consists of the following DBURs:

Chair:   Bruce Theel, High Desert State Prison, Susanville, CA (CDCR)

Vice Chair:   John Kern, Folsom Prison, Folsom, CA (CDCR)

Alt. Vice Chair:  Suzanne Knapp, California Men’s Colony, San Luis Obispo, CA (CDCR)

BUNC Member:   Terry Hibbard, California State Prison, Corcoran, CA (CDCR)

BUNC Member:   Sulghi Hong, California School for the Deaf, Fremont, CA (CDE)

Staff Representative: Eloise Merrifield, Contract Department, SEIU Local 1000