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CalPERS Update: Earnings and Health Benefit Plans

Posted: 7/19/2018 Tags: benefits pension retirement Tags Views: 1158

CalPERS has reported a preliminary 8.6 percent net investment return for the 12-month period that ended June 30, 2018. This is the second year in a row that earnings have exceeded the long-term assumed rate of return, which is 7.25% for the current fiscal year. With assets of more than $351 billion, CalPERS overall funded status rose three percentage points to an estimated 71 percent.

CalPERS has also concluded negotiations with health plan providers for 2019. Overall rates will increase 1.16 percent with members in Basic Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans seeing an average increase of 0.37 percent and members in Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans will see an overall average increase of 2.83 percent. While these are averages, some plans have significant increases (22.96% for Anthem HMO Traditional and 19.80% for PERSCare PPO) and some plans have significant decreases (-25.56% for PERSSelect PPO). Over the objections of ACSS and other state employee advocates, HealthNet will be leaving the Sacramento market in 2019 and Blue Shield Access+ will exit from eight Bay Area counties in 2019.

Because of the wide variances in rates and changes in plan availability, it will be particularly important to evaluate your options during this year's Open Enrollment period from September 10 to October 5.  CalHR will soon release the "CoBen Allowance" for 2019 which is the state employer contribution for health, dental and vision for the 2019 calendar year. Prior to Open Enrollment, CalHR will update the "Benefits Calculator" on the CalHR webpage which allows comparisons of out-of-pocket costs depending on health benefit selections. ACSS will provide the CoBen Allowance amount for 2019 and a link to the Benefits Calculator when it is available.


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ACSS Meets With Caltrans to Discuss Pay and Benefits for Supervisors and Managers

Posted: 7/5/2018 Tags: legislation policy representation Tags Views: 1577

On June 12, 2018, ACSS President Frank Ruffino, ACSS Director of Representation Nellie Lynn, and ACSS Attorney Gerald James met with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Director Laurie Berman and key members of her executive team. Ruffino acknowledged Director Berman was taking the helm of the Department as Caltrans begins to deliver Senate Bill 1 projects around the state. ACSS was an early supporter of SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act, to help California rebuild and maintain our transportation system. In addition to investing in our transportation infrastructure, ACSS encouraged Caltrans to take action supporting appropriate pay and benefits for the supervisory and managerial employees who are helping to deliver these projects.

Director Berman has been with Caltrans for 35 years, holding various supervisory and managerial positions along the way. “Caltrans will continue to invest and provide training for our managers and staff as we deliver twice as many projects as before Senate Bill 1,” said Director Berman. “The department is hiring thousands of people over the next several years to meet the demand.”

ACSS is working collaboratively with Caltrans Labor Relations to identify and address salary concerns for supervisors and managers. We look forward to working with Director Berman on these issues. After the meeting, Ruffino mentioned, “Director Berman understands the important role that supervisors and managers play in project delivery. ACSS continues to appreciate a positive working relationship with Caltrans and to build on the relationship with Director Berman.”


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ACSS Unaffected by Supreme Court Janus v. AFSCME ruling on Fair Share Fees

Posted: 6/29/2018 Tags: legislation membership policy Tags Views: 1330

On the last day of the session, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Janus v. AFSCME. This long anticipated decision ruled that non-members of public sector unions cannot be charged “agency fees”, often referred to as fair share fees. In a 5 to 4 vote, the Court overruled a 41-year old decision that said non-members can be charged a fee to cover the cost of a union’s collective bargaining efforts.

While the decision will have broad implications nationwide, there is no immediate impact on ACSS. For rank-and-file public sector labor unions in California and throughout the country, there will be some big changes as they adapt. Impacted unions anticipated this decision since at least 2016 and have been working to educate employees about the value of membership and collective representation.


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General Salary Increases for Excluded Employees Effective July 1, 2018

Posted: 6/26/2018 Tags: budget legislation policy salary Tags Views: 4467

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has informed ACSS of General Salary Increases (GSI) for state excluded employees effective July 1, 2018. As detailed below, excluded employees will receive the same percentage raises as the bargaining unit they are associated with.

Earlier this month ACSS President Frank Ruffino, ACSS Executive Director Rocco Paternoster, and ACSS Director of Representation Nellie Lynn met with CalHR Director Richard Gillihan to discuss issues affecting state excluded employees – including pay raises and retiree health benefits. Following the meeting and the announcement of salary increases, Director Gillihan shared the following with ACSS, “Managers and supervisors are the backbone of California state government. Their dedication ensures we are serving the public and safeguarding the state. I am pleased that the state is able to increase their salaries in recognition of the work they do.” Ruffino thanked the Director for his continued support of excluded employees.

Along with the General Salary Increases, the state budget includes provisions regarding state employee contributions for prefunding retiree healthcare. While some excluded employees already participate, all will soon see an employee contribution as a percentage of salary which is matched with a state employer contribution. The purpose is to reduce the “unfunded liability” for retiree health care which has received substantial negative public and media attention and to ensure that your valuable earned health benefits will be available when you retire. The deduction, expected to appear or adjust with your August pay warrant (received at the end of August/beginning of September), will show as CERBT – which stands for the California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust.

 EXCLUDED EMPLOYEES AFFILIATED
 WITH BARGAINING UNIT:
 GSI
 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21  4%
 6, 18  3%
 7, 13, 16  2% 
 10  5%
 12  3.5%
 19  2.5%

Exempt and Excluded Employees not directly tied to a bargaining unit (such as many employees who have an “E” Collective Bargaining Identifier) will receive a 4% GSI.

The official “Pay Letters” implementing the salary increases are expected to be released shortly after the Governor signs the State Budget later this week.


UPDATED 7/5/2018

Click here to view Pay Letter1815 for details on the General Salary Increases for Excluded Employees.


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ACSS’ 12th Delegate Assembly is coming up soon!

Posted: 6/13/2018 Tags: events Tags Views: 560

ACSS is a member-driven organization, run by excluded state employees just like you! Every three years, elected Delegates participate in an Assembly to review and implement the bylaws and policies that govern ACSS. Delegate Assembly is also the stage where members of the Board of Directors are elected and sworn into office. If you are an ACSS member in good standing, you may nominate yourself to serve on the ACSS Board of Directors. If you would like to nominate yourself, consent forms are due to ACSS headquarters before 5pm on Wednesday June 20th! If you are an elected Delegate, Alternate or Chapter Officer, and have not RSVP'd to the event, please do so immediately!

>> Click here for more information about Delegate Assembly – documents, consent forms, important dates, detailed agenda and more!


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Primary Election Results - ACSS Endorsed Candidates Advance to November Election

Posted: 6/7/2018 Tags: election governor PAC politics Tags Views: 1204

“ACSS had another great election day with all but two ACSS-Endorsed candidates advancing to the November election under California’s unique ‘top-two’ primary system.

An ACSS-endorsed candidate advanced in 97 of 98 races, including Democrat Gavin Newsom who finished first in the Governor’s race and will face a Republican in November. ACSS was 5 out of 5 in contested campaigns for open legislative seats.”

- Ted Toppin, ACSS Legislative Advocate

Click here to view complete election results. Open seat candidates are in bold.


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Don't Forget to Vote in the Primary Election on June 5th!

Posted: 5/24/2018 Tags: election governor PAC politics Tags Views: 643

Your vote matters!

Don’t forget to get out and vote in the California Primary Election on Tuesday June 5th, 2018! Help support ACSS’ Endorsed Candidates with your vote in the June Primary. Supporting these candidates and donating to the ACSS Political Action Committee are simple things you can do to ensure that the right legislators are in office to support the issues that matter to you most, like:

  • Resolving salary compaction
  • Protecting pensions
  • Ensuring fair working conditions for supervisors, managers, and confidential state employees
  • And more!

On June 5th, please vote and help ACSS Endorsed Candidates cross the finish line in these critical seats. Every vote counts!


Find your polling place.

Click here for more information on the California Primary Election.


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May Revision of the Budget: Continue Saving for the Future as Surplus Grows

Posted: 5/16/2018 Tags: benefits budget legislation pension policy retirement salary Tags Views: 1328

Governor Jerry Brown released his May Revise of the Budget on May 11th, 2018. ACSS Legislative Advocate Ted Toppin provides relevant analysis and insight of the May Revise that may be of interest to managers, supervisors and other excluded state employees:

“The state continues to generate revenue at unprecedented levels and now it is coming in faster. In January, the surplus was predicted to be $6 billion. The surplus now is expected to be $9 billion.

The May Revise proposes saving for the future. In January, the Governor proposed to put an additional $4.4 billion into the state rainy day fund, topping it out at $13.8 billion – the constitutional limit. In the May Revise, he socks another $3.3 billion into a different reserve account.

Budget negotiations between the Administration and the Legislature will now heat up. The Governor will urge restraint. Legislators of both parties will push for billions of dollars in additional spending. Ultimately, you can expect the Governor to agree to modest increased spending while keeping his rainy day reserves. Regardless, the Legislature will pass a budget by June 15 and the Governor will sign it by June 30.

Here’s what the May Revise says about issues important to ACSS members:

State Employee Compensation

The January budget proposal included $1.2 billion ($589.5 million General Fund) for:

  • increased employee compensation
  • health care costs for active state employees
  • retiree health care prefunding for active employees

The May Revise decreases this amount by $8.1 million to reflect:

  • corrections to 2019 health rates
  • natural changes to enrollment in health and dental plan
  • updated employment information for salary increases
  • updated employment information for salary increases
  • revised pay increases for judges
  • updated costs related to the salary survey estimates for the California Highway Patrol (Bargaining Unit 5)

State CalPERS Contribution

The state’s contribution – $6.2 billion – to CalPERS is down slightly ($18 million) from the January estimate. The decline in the revise is mainly driven by:

  • CalPERS’ higher than expected investment return in 2016-17
  • the benefit of the state’s additional $6 billion pension payment in 2017-18
  • higher than projected enrollment of members under the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013, who have lower benefit formulas

Overall, pension reforms are beginning to reduce costs. The May Revise proposes no additional pension reforms.

State Health Care/Retiree Health Care

The May Revise makes no changes to the expected costs of providing state employees and state retirees health care.

State Employee Position Increases

The May Revise also reports that there is expected to be an additional 3,878 position in state government next year for a total of 210,767 in FY 2018-19.”

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


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Dual Endorsement: ACSS Endorses Newsom and Chiang for CA Governor

Posted: 5/4/2018 Tags: election governor politics Tags Views: 1256

For the first time in ACSS history, gubernatorial candidates were interviewed in person by our ACSS Executive Committee at ACSS Headquarters. The Executive Committee asked each candidate key questions and listened to each one’s responses on how they would benefit ACSS members. After the meetings, ACSS chose to dually endorse both Gavin Newsom and John Chiang in their races for Governor of California. Both Newsom and Chiang promise to protect the defined benefit pensions of state employees, address salary compaction, and seek input of state supervisors and managers on how to solve these complex problems.

>> Read More...

(Click on images to view larger.)


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California Supreme Court to Review a Trio of Pension Cases

Posted: 4/26/2018 Tags: benefits legislation legislature pension policy retirement Tags Views: 1662

Protecting your pension and retirement benefits is a core principle for ACSS. Three cases pending before the State Supreme Court raise questions regarding the validity of the long standing “California Rule.” Since 1955, the courts have held under the California Rule that once pension benefits are granted to a public employee, they are vested and cannot be modified for the duration of an employee’s career.

>> Read more...


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