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2020-21 State Budget: Governor Aims to Eliminate Debts, Pay Down Pension Liabilities and Grow Reserves

Posted: 1/24/2020 Tags: budget legislation policy politics salary Tags Views: 172

On January 10, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed 2020-2021 State Budget that will fund the government for the 12-month period starting July 1, 2020.

Under the governor’s plan, state spending next year would total just over $222 billion, with $153 billion in general fund and $63.8 billion in special fund spending. Another $5.4 billion in state bond spending makes up the difference. This is about a 3.5% increase over current fiscal year spending.

In this Budget, as with last year’s, the majority of the surplus is devoted to one-time spending. This approach enables the state to make significant investments in critical areas without making commitments to ongoing spending in future years.

Here is the quick rundown on a few items that will specifically interest ACSS members:

State Employee Compensation
The budget proposal includes $1.5 billion ($654 million general fund) in new funding for increased employee compensation, higher health care costs for active state employees, and the state’s contribution to prefund retiree health care costs for active employees. The budget summary notes the Administration will begin negotiations with 7 of the state’s 21 bargaining units, whose contracts expire in late June or early July 2020.

Building Budget Resiliency and Paying Down Unfunded Retirement Liabilities
In addition to the state’s required contributions, the Budget proposes to accelerate the payment of the remaining $500 million currently scheduled over fiscal years 2020-21 through 2022-23 into a single payment in 2020-21.

State Health Care/Retiree Health Care
Through the collective bargaining process, the state’s 21 employee bargaining units and related supervisors and managers now prefund retiree health benefits. As a result, $2.6 billion is currently set aside in the prefunding trust fund to pay for future retiree health benefits. A small but important step in paying for what is an estimated $85.6 billion in unfunded health care liability.

State Employee Position Increases
The budget projects the hiring of an additional 3,187 state employee positions in 2020-21 for a total of 219,017.

The Governor’s complete budget summary and draft budget can be found here: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov

As the proposed state budget progresses, ACSS will continue to meet with CalHR to advocate for inclusion of funding for supervisory and managerial compensation salary increases. ACSS will also be meeting-and-conferring with the state over realignments impacting ACSS members including the workforce programs moving into the new Department of Better Jobs and Higher Wages and the Juvenile Justice reorganization into the new Department of Youth and Community Restoration.

As we delve into more of the proposed budget details, we will report on any new positions and increased funding proposals for departments outlined in the full budget or if there are other proposals that impact ACSS and its members. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Click here to read the full version of the ACSS State Budget Report as presented by our ACSS Legislative Advocate, Ted Toppin at the January 18th, 2020, ACSS Board Meeting.


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ACSS Lobby Day 2020 is coming up!

Posted: 1/22/2020 Tags: events Lobby Day Tags Views: 654

At Lobby Day, the goal is to unite ACSS members with legislators to educate them and get their support on the issues that affect the careers of excluded employees. This is what ACSS is all about! When ACSS members come together with their fellow excluded employees, their voices are heard loud and clear at the Capitol. ACSS fights to protect the rights and compensation for all state supervisors, managers and confidential employees. Together, we are making a difference!

This year, we are hand-selecting a talented and dedicated group of long-time activists to represent ACSS at the Capitol for Lobby Day. Their fine-tuned message will deliver a powerful punch to Legislators and our message will be heard clearly. If you are interested in attending Lobby Day, please email your Chapter President by January 27th, 2020. (Please note that your submission is a request for approval and is not guaranteed.)

Lobby Day will be held on Wednesday March 11th at the State Capitol. Click here to learn more about ACSS Lobby Day.


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Double-Check your Deductions to Make Sure You Are Not Overpaying for Benefits.

Posted: 12/16/2019 Tags: Tags Views: 998

There have been a number of reports lately from ACSS members that they have been overpaying for benefits - sometimes for a number of years! This can end up costing you thousands of dollars if you don't catch it in time.

Any changes made during open enrollment should show on your December pay warrant (for health coverage changes effective January 1, 2020), so now is the time to check if you made any changes.

Even if you didn’t make any changes for the upcoming year, be sure that your current deductions are correct.

If you have a child who has aged out (over 26), you have gotten divorced, or had another change in status, please check your deductions and/or get confirmation from your personnel department that your deductions are up to date.

While we would hope that these reported changes would be processed in a timely manner, we have had multiple reports of our members who:

  1. fill out new forms declaring the changes and the forms are not processed properly,
  2. assume (properly) that their aged out children will be automatically un-enrolled, or
  3. forget to fill out the forms and/or provide the proper documentation.


How do I know if I am being charged the right amount?

The employer “CoBen” contribution may be used to help you determine your enrollment as either a single party, two party, or family (three or more). The employer contribution shows on your pay warrant under the listing of “*BENEFITAMT”.

For 2019 the employer contributions for excluded employees are 1 Party $668/2 Party $1293/Family $1673.

For 2020 the employer contributions for excluded employees will be 1 Party $695/2 Party $1347/Family $1741.

Once you have double checked your deductions, if you have any discrepancies, please immediately reach out to your ACSS Labor Relations Representative and we can walk you through the process to seek reimbursement.

Even if your department or CalPERS made an error, you are typically only entitled to reimbursement for 6 months of premiums - acting quickly is key or you could be out thousands of dollars.


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CalHR releases Pay Letter Covering Supervisors and Managers Related to Bargaining Unit 7

Posted: 12/5/2019 Tags: legislation policy salary Tags Views: 1837

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has issued Pay Letter 19-19 adjusting salaries for supervisory and managerial employees related to Bargaining Unit 7. All S07 and M07 employees will receive a General Salary Increase of 2.75% retroactive to July 1, 2019.

The Pay Letter also provides Special Salary Adjustments retroactive to July 1, 2019 for nearly one hundred different supervisory and managerial classifications related to Unit 7. Upon initial review, most of the special salary adjustments are the same or higher than those received by the related rank-and-file employees. A number of the special salary adjustments are much higher than the salary increases for the rank-and-file. We encourage all S07 and M07 members to review the attached Pay Letter 19-19 to determine whether you and your classification will receive a special salary adjustment. Note that the special salary adjustments for supervisors and managers begin on page 7 of the pay letter. The “SSA” percentage is the salary adjustment above and beyond the general salary increase of 2.75%.

Because of ACSS' tireless efforts on behalf of members concerns, CalHR and the Newsom Administration appear to have extended nearly all of the special salary adjustments to supervisory and managerial employees, and in some instances provided even larger salary increases to supervisors and managers. This is a big win for ACSS members and other excluded employees.

CalHR expects to issue pay letters covering state bargaining units 2 and 13 and related excluded employees on December 9. The goal is for the State Controller’s Office to implement these salary increases with the December 31, 2019 pay warrant with retroactive back pay to follow in early 2020.

CalHR has not indicated to ACSS when it will implement the new and revised pay differentials (e.g., bilingual pay, commute reimbursement) for the 9 SEIU Local 1000 units and how these increases will impact related excluded employees.

As always, ACSS will continue to provide you with updates as we receive them in regards to compensation for excluded employees.


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Retroactive Salary Increases for Supervisors and Managers Related to Units 2, 7 and 13

Posted: 11/19/2019 Tags: legislation policy representation salary Tags Views: 2010

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has provided confirmation to ACSS of salary increases for state excluded employees related to bargaining units 2, 7, and 13. Effective July 1, 2019, excluded employees related to Bargaining Units 2 and 7 will receive General Salary Increases of 2.75%.

  • Excluded employees related to Bargaining Unit 13 will see their maximum salary ranges increase by 2.75% also effective July 1, 2019. This means those at the old maximum salary for 12 pay periods will see an immediate retroactive increase.
  • Excluded employees related to Bargaining Unit 2 enrolled as a subscriber in a state sponsored health plan will receive a $260 taxable cash benefit/health stipend retroactive to July 1, 2019 through the June 2020 pay period.
  • As part of the BU 7 Labor Agreement, employees in specific classifications will receive Special Salary Adjustments retroactive to July 1, 2019. CalHR has confirmed that excluded employees tied to those classifications “may also be eligible for Special Salary Adjustments retroactive to July 1, 2019” and that details of impacted classifications and percentages will be outlined in a forthcoming Pay Letter.

Many of the recently approved labor contracts (including the 9 SEIU Local 1000 units) include new and revised pay differentials that may affect related excluded employees. Specific details of how these changes will affect related excluded employees will also be included in the forthcoming Pay Letter. ACSS has requested that CalHR make all increases applicable to excluded employees.

CalHR is currently developing the Excluded Compensation package for Fiscal Year 2020 – 21. Items of compensation including general and special salary adjustments and the $260 month cash benefit for healthcare for employees in the 9 SEIU Local 1000 bargaining units (1, 3, 4, 11, 13, 15, 17, 20, and 21) are effective July 1, 2020. ACSS has requested at least the same increases as rank-and-file employees. CalHR says it will announce the excluded compensation package upon approval of the Budget Act of 2020.

ACSS continues to discuss the compensation of excluded employees related to Bargaining Unit 18 with CalHR. The announcements of salary adjustments do not indicate any adjustments to employees related to Unit 18, but ACSS will continue to ask CalHR to make appropriate salary adjustments for these supervisory and managerial employees, even if the rank-and-file is unable to reach a new labor contract.

When the official Pay Letters are released instructing the State Controller’s Office to adjust salaries, we will provide details of the adjustments including the expected timing of pay adjustments and retroactive pay warrants.


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ACSS and CalHR Discuss Pay Equity and Other Issues that Affect Excluded Employees

Posted: 10/10/2019 Tags: benefits legislation policy representation salary Tags Views: 2503

On October 8, 2019, ACSS met with CalHR Director Eraina Ortega to continue discussions regarding the Newsom Administration’s approach to salary and benefits improvement for the State’s excluded employees. Director Ortega and her Labor Relations staff, led by Deputy Director and Chief of Labor Relations Paul Starkey, met with ACSS President Todd D’Braunstein, ACSS Executive Director Rocco Paternoster and key staff, along with ACSS Legislative Advocate Ted Toppin.

President D’Braunstein thanked CalHR for recently implementing Family Care Leave and new Emergency Pay rules for excluded employees – two long standing ACSS priorities. He also thanked Director Ortega for the new process allowing ACSS to submit excluded employee salary and benefit proposals related to bargaining units at the same time CalHR is negotiating with those bargaining units.

In our continued efforts to aggressively advocate for solutions to solve compaction, ACSS noted progress made in addressing salary compaction, but many excluded employee classifications remain within 5 percent of subordinate classes. Director Ortega confirmed salary setting for excluded employees will be more flexible in the future and CalHR will not be as constrained by a practice of limiting salary differentials to 5 percent.

ACSS reiterated previously submitted proposals for pay and benefit equity with rank-and-file units and proposals to correct salary inequities. ACSS discussed the need to restore vertical salary relationships between classifications and explore other incentives to promote to excluded classifications.

Chief of Labor Relations Paul Starkey noted CalHR was in the process of realigning labor relations staff to more effectively respond to and address excluded employee issues raised by ACSS and affecting our members. Director Ortega and Mr. Starkey confirmed a commitment to working with ACSS now to review many of the long-standing compensation issues ACSS has identified. We anticipate scheduling interim meetings to discuss specific proposals with CalHR Labor Relations. CalHR has promised feedback and is evaluating improvements to the process for sharing salary and benefit related decisions with ACSS.

President D’Braunstein thanked Director Ortega and her staff for making excluded employee issues a priority and for committing to review and respond to issues and proposals made by ACSS. As always, ACSS will continue to keep members informed of issues that affect excluded employees as they arise.


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New Board Members Elected at the ACSS Board of Director's Meeting in San Diego

Posted: 10/1/2019 Tags: Board Meeting events meeting Tags Views: 783

On September 21, ACSS held its second Board of Directors meeting for 2019 in San Diego. The first order of business was to fill vacancies on the ACSS Board of Directors, and a vacancy in the office of CFO due to the retirement of former CFO Pam Robison. Christina Shupe was confirmed as the new Secretary/Treasurer and as a member of the Board of Directors from Chapter 503. Other members elected to the Board of Directors were Barbara Kranz (Chapter 504), Toni Moon (Chapter 508) and Elena Yuasa (Chapter 513). With former Chapter 513 President Elena Yuasa elected to the Board, Glenn Illustrisimo assumes the Presidency of Chapter 513. Past President Frank Ruffino swore in the new Board Members and Chapter Officers by reciting the Oath of Office.

The Board of Directors reviewed and discussed recommendations from the PAC/Legislative Committee, the President’s Forum, as well as other Association business. Based on ACSS reviews on recommended Legislative candidates, the ACSS Board unanimously voted to endorse the list of candidates. Click here to view the current list of ACSS-Endorsed Legislators.

The Board also discussed the tentative labor contracts for rank-and-file employees and their impact on ACSS members. ACSS plans to meet with CalHR in October to discuss requests for salary and benefit equity with these new agreements. ACSS also continues to advocate for Legislative approval of these agreements, which contain appropriations of money to fund increases in related excluded employee salaries and benefits.

Highlights of the recent wins of the ACSS Representation Program include the new employer paid Family Care Leave which is unique to excluded employees, the new post and bid policy for Supervising Correctional Cooks, and the dozens of changes benefiting ACSS members made to state policies through the meet and confer process.

Guest Speaker Councilmember Chris Ward spoke candidly in defense of public employee pensions and support for supervisory and managerial employees, while answering questions from the Board. Past ACSS President Frank Ruffino attended as a special guest and was celebrated for his many years of dedicated service to ACSS. The meeting closed with a cake cutting ceremony commemorating ACSS Director of Representation, Nellie Lynn, who will be retiring in October 2019 after more than 30 years of dedicated service to CSEA and ACSS. ACSS congratulates the new Board of Directors, Chapter Officers and Statewide Officers that represent ACSS leadership. To view more photos of the events of the Board Meeting, click here.



From left to right: Toni Moon (Chapter 508), Past President Frank Ruffino, Christina Shupe (Chapter 503), Elena Yuasa (Chapter 513).



Councilmember Chris Ward with the ACSS Board of Directors.


ACSS President Todd D'Braunstein gives commemorative gifts to ACSS Past President Frank Ruffino.



ACSS Director of Representation Nellie Lynn, with ACSS President Todd D'Braunstein.


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Legislature Passes Bill Approving MOUs, Appropriates Money for Increases for Related Excluded Employees

Posted: 9/13/2019 Tags: benefits legislation policy salary Tags Views: 4733

On September 12, 2019, the Legislature approved Assembly Bill 118 which includes funding for certain excluded employee salary adjustments. AB 118 approved labor contracts for 13 state rank-and-file bargaining units (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21). The bill, which contains budget appropriations to fund employee compensation increases for both rank-and-file employees and related excluded employees, now heads to Governor Newsom for his approval.

ACSS has requested CalHR provide at least the same salary and benefit increases to supervisors, managers and confidential employees in addition to correcting standing salary inequities and compaction issues. The expectation is that CalHR will adjust salaries for excluded employees related to bargaining units 2, 7 and 13 retroactively to July 1, 2019.

Most salary adjustments and other benefits for excluded employees related to the 9 SEIU Local 1000 bargaining units (1, 3, 4, 11, 13, 15, 17, 20, and 21) are effective July 1, 2020. The SEIU rank-and-file agreements call for a few increases to take effect this fiscal year: increase in bilingual pay, recruitment & retention for Correctional Case Records Analysts, increase in the call center differential, expanding the personnel and payroll geographic differential to include Alameda County, and an increase in the commute reimbursement from $65 per month to $100 per month. Other employee compensation adjustments – general salary increases, special salary adjustments and the new provision to provide $260 per month to those enrolled in a CalPERS health plan – are scheduled to take effect July 1, 2020. ACSS has asked CalHR to provide excluded employees with at least these same increases in addition to resolving identified salary compaction issues by raising excluded employee salaries.

Following Governor Newsom’s signature on AB 118, CalHR will issue a “Pay Letter” as the official instruction to the State Controller’s Office to adjust salaries. ACSS will publicize the pay letter and its impact as soon as it is released. ACSS is next scheduled to meet with CalHR in early October and will keep all members apprised of progress made on addressing salary compaction and improving excluded employee salaries and benefits.


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Many Excluded Employees will see smaller paychecks as OPEB Deductions increase, ACSS takes action

Posted: 8/28/2019 Tags: benefits legislation policy retirement salary Tags Views: 2665

ACSS has been affirmatively taking action advocating for our members’ interests on OPEB deductions and General Salary Increases this year. As always, we represent the voice of Managers, Supervisors and Confidential State Employees and we strive to obtain fair wages and working conditions.

Although raises for many excluded employees were effective with last month’s pay warrants, the increased Other-Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) deductions will take effect with the August pay period. Your OPEB contribution is listed on your pay stub as “CERBT”, which stands for California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust.

Your contribution as a percentage of salary is matched with a state employer contribution. The purpose is to reduce the “unfunded liability” for retiree health care to ensure that your valuable earned health benefits will be available when you retire.

The following chart showing the legislatively approved contribution rate increases for OPEB and CalHR approved increases for exempt and excluded employees not related to a specific bargaining unit:

OPEB INCREASES for EXCLUDED
EMPLOYEES Effective August 2019
 Percentage Increase
 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15,
17, 20, 21 (SEIU Units)
 1.1%
 2  0.7%
 6  N/A 
 7  1.3%
 8  1.4%
 9  1%
 10  1.4%
 12  1%
 13  1.3%
 16  N/A
 18  1.4%
 19  1%
 Exempt and excluded employees not
directly tied to a BU (E48, E97, E98, E99)
 0.8%

Not all excluded employee salaries increased on July 1, 2019. State Bargaining Units 2 and 18 have not reached new labor contracts. ACSS President Todd D’Braunstein has urged CalHR to provide a General Salary Increase to supervisors, managers and excluded employees related to these units. Click here to read President D’Braunstein’s letter to CalHR. ACSS has been proactive in the fight for fair and appropriate wages on behalf of these excluded employees.

Excluded employees related to state Bargaining Units 9 and 10, will also see a temporary one-half percent increase in the employee pension retirement contribution. The Unit 9 increase will be for this fiscal year only and the Unit 10 increase will be for two years. A one-half percent increase for excluded employees related to Unit 16 will take affect this paycheck and thereafter.

ACSS will continue to stand up for your rights while communicating and working with the Administration. As we receive new information, we will continue to keep you informed on these important issues.

>> Click here to read details of the OPEB provisions.

>> Click here to read OBEB FAQ's from CalHR.


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Open Enrollment for Health, Dental and Vision Begins September 9, 2019

Posted: 8/22/2019 Tags: benefits policy Tags Views: 1025

Open Enrollment for health, dental and vision coverage starts September 9 and ends October 4. This is your opportunity to evaluate your health care selections and make any changes to your health or dental plans, add or drop dependents, or elect to enroll in the cash option in lieu of health and/or dental benefits effective January 1, 2020.

CalHR just announced the amount of the 2020 Consolidated Benefits (CoBen) allowance to be used for health and dental benefits effective January 1, 2020. The CoBen Employer contribution for excluded employees has increased to $695 (Single)/$1347 (2-Party)/$1741 (Family). This new CoBen amount for supervisors, managers, and confidential employees is up to $118 higher per month than the state employer contribution for some rank-and-file employees.

Health Premiums have increased by an average of 6 percent, with two plans seeing much higher increases – Blue Shield Access+ will increase by 13.91 percent and Health Net SmartCare will increase by 18.15 percent. CalPERS mailed letters July 26, 2019 to members impacted by health premium rate increases of 10 percent or more. A new lower cost plan, Blue Shield Trio, is available in some areas. Dental premiums will remain the same or will decrease slightly. Vision plan premiums will decrease.

If you would like to explore different health plan options, CalPERS has a tool that allows you to search plan availability and premium rates based on your zip code. Visit the CalPERS website here.

To compare plan costs and calculate your exact out of pocket costs, or your CoBen cash back if your selections are lower than the CoBen Allowance, visit the CalHR Benefits Calculator and select “2020” and “Excluded Employee” before entering your options.

Be on the lookout for Open Enrollment forms from your department. If you are not making changes, no action is needed.


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