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ACSS Eliminates Salary Compaction in Three Classes by Urging CalHR to Increase Excluded Employee Salaries at CDPH

Posted: 11/23/2021 Tags: benefits compaction salary Tags Views: 402

Because of a unique bargaining unit alignment, salaries for excluded employees in the Health Facilities Evaluator series at the California Department of Public Health were not keeping pace with their rank-and-file nursing subordinates. In response, ACSS made a salary proposal to CalHR to resolve the on-going salary compaction issues with the rank-and-file Health Facilities Evaluator Nurse classification.

ACSS met with CalHR several times to discuss the salary proposal and potential realignment from the current “S01” collective bargaining identifier for the excluded classifications in the series to the more appropriate nursing designation of “S17”.

On November 12, 2021, CalHR issued Pay Letter 21-29 which increases salaries retroactive to July 1, 2021 for the Heath Facilities Evaluator II (Supervisor), Health Facilities Evaluator Manager I, and Health Facilities Evaluator Manager II classifications. With these Special Salary Adjustments, the top step salary of each excluded employee classification in the series now has a separation of 5 percent over the subordinate class.

We are pleased CalHR took action to address this salary compaction. There is more work to do to correct other salary inequities for supervisors and managers. ACSS will continue to meet regularly with CalHR in connection with ACSS’ pending salary and benefit proposals to resolve salary compaction for ACSS members.


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ACSS 13th Delegate Assembly was a Huge Success!

Posted: 10/15/2021 Tags: election events Tags Views: 323

Despite the pandemic, ACSS hosted a successful in-person 3-day event at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento on October 8-10th. ACSS held its 13th triennial Delegate Assembly to review Association business and elect the Board of Directors and Executive Officers.

Saturday's Delegate Assembly session was an opportunity for the elected Delegates to elect the ACSS Board of Directors who serve a three-year term. In addition, newly elected Chapter Presidents and Chapter Officers were sworn-in and took the oath of office to serve for the three year term. Saturday evening featured a dinner celebration that was enjoyed by all. On Sunday, ACSS held a Board Meeting where the Board of Directors elected Board Members to serve on the Statewide Executive Committee. They were sworn into office by ACSS Past President Frank Ruffino.

The newly elected Statewide Executive Committee is:
President – Todd D’Braunstein
Vice President – Michael Bonner
VP of Governmental Affairs – Christina Shupe
VP of Membership Development – Tina Allen
Secretary/Treasurer(By appointment)

Congratulations to all the newly elected Chapter Officers, Delegates, Board of Directors and Executive Committee! ACSS Delegate Assembly 2021 was a huge success. 

Click here to read the President’s Report.


ACSS Delegate Assembly attendees.


Executive Board Members (left to right) Tina Allen, Todd D'Braunstein, Michael Bonner, Christina Shupe.


Board Members (top left to right) Glenn Ilustrisimo, Millie Barajas, Nina Thomas, Lynn White, Suzanna Nye, Barbara Krantz, Vincent Santucci. (Bottom row left to right) Janice Nishimoto, Tina Allen, Todd D'Braunstein, Michael Bonner, Christina Shupe, Lynn Medart.


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New Telework Stipend Program Policy Effective October 1; Retroactive Payments Likely

Posted: 10/7/2021 Tags: legislation policy representation Tags Views: 3121

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) and the Department of General Services (DGS) have implemented a new Telework Stipend Program and a new statewide Telework Policy – each effective on October 1, 2021. Although the new statewide DGS Telework Policy is now effective, emergency telework provisions still remain in effect.

CalHR confirmed to ACSS that telework stipends for excluded employees are intended to be effective October 1, 2021, but that the payment of the stipends most likely requires a legislative appropriation. This means payments are not expected to begin until the Legislature passes a measure approving the appropriation of funds after returning to session in January 2022. CalHR confirmed that with a legislative appropriation, the telework stipend payments for excluded employees will be retroactive to October 1.

The major provisions of the new Telework Policy and Telework Stipend Program include:

  • An encouragement of teleworking, with management/departments retaining the discretion to find that positions or job classifications are not appropriate for telework
  • Dependent care and personal responsibilities cannot affect work duties or professionalism
  • For employees who telework, they will be either remote-centered (50% or more at home) or office-centered (more than 50% at the office)
    -  Remote-centered employees will receive a $50 per month stipend
    -  Office-centered employees will receive a $25 per month stipend
    -  As employees need to provide adequate internet coverage to perform the job, this is the main basis for the stipend
  • Other equipment and office supplies may be provided or reimbursed (pens, paper, printer ink, etc.)
  • The state will provide equipment for a single dedicated work station for employees
    -  Remote-centered teleworkers shall have their dedicated work station at their designated alternate work location. Remote-centered teleworkers shall use a shared work station when working in the office
    -  Office-centered teleworkers shall have a dedicated work station in the office and utilize their own equipment or department provided mobile equipment for teleworking at their designated alternate work location
  • Each department will have to adopt its own telework policy by October 1, 2022, but cannot alter the CalHR Standard 200 Telework Form

Departments are encouraged by the Administration to determine the maximum level of telework appropriate based on their operational needs with the goal of maximizing telework. ACSS will meet and confer as appropriate over proposed departmental telework policies to protect the interests of supervisors and managers.

ACSS’ legislative advocates will work to ensure the Legislature approves an appropriation to fund the telework stipends for excluded employees. We will keep you apprised of the progress and expected timing of retroactive telework stipend payments for eligible excluded employees.

If you have questions about telework, contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative.


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CalPERS Member-At-Large Election Results – ACSS-Endorsed Candidates Win!

Posted: 10/1/2021 Tags: benefits election retirement Tags Views: 230

David Miller and Jose Luis Pacheco have been declared the unofficial election winners for the two Member-at-Large seats on the CalPERS Board of Administration. ACSS has continually supported these candidates and thanks ACSS members who voted in the CalPERS election in support of Miller and Pacheco.

Miller received 72.6% of the votes cast for Position A and Pacheco received 61.7% for Position B. The four-year term of office begins January 16, 2022, and concludes on January 15, 2026. The 13-member CalPERS Board sets policy for retirement and health benefits on behalf of California public employers, and their active and retired employees. The board also oversees asset allocation of the pension fund's investments.

We are pleased with these results and we are confident that these candidates will work hard to protect your rightful pension and retirement benefits in the future.


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Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Urges State Employees to Get Vaccinated; ACSS to Meet with CalHR Over COVID-19 Testing Direction to State Agencies

Posted: 9/30/2021 Tags: COVID-19 health policy representation Tags Views: 473

On September 28, 2021, the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) shared a letter with ACSS drafted by Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. Dr. Ghaly’s letter urges all state employees who have not yet been vaccinated to reconsider and get a COVID-19 vaccine. Click here to read Dr. Ghaly’s letter.

State departments continue to develop protocols and provide notice to ACSS over the weekly mandatory COVID-19 testing of unvaccinated employees working on site. The statewide roll-out of this mandatory testing is slower than expected because of the limited availability of testing kits.

ACSS has consistently taken the position that no excluded employee should be mandated to be a COVID-19 “Test Administrator”, responsible for handling potentially infectious swabs, over their objection. The current policy direction of CalHR to state departments is to “highly recommend” the use of supervisors and above to perform these testing duties. ACSS has requested to meet and confer with CalHR over the COVID-19 Test Administrator selection process. ACSS has made a series of proposals to CalHR to strengthen the testing process and protect the interests of excluded employees. We await the scheduling of a meeting with CalHR to discuss ACSS’ proposals.

While awaiting clarification of statewide policy direction from CalHR, ACSS is requesting that all departments select only volunteers to perform the COVID-19 testing functions and that the volunteer pool not be limited to only excluded employees.

If you have questions about vaccine verifications or mandatory COVID-19 testing, contact your ACSS Labor Relations Representative.


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Vacancies Filled and Issues Discussed at ACSS Board Meeting in Sacramento

Posted: 9/29/2021 Tags: Board Meeting compaction meeting policy salary Tags Views: 388

On September 11, 2021, ACSS held an in-person Board of Directors meeting in at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento. The first order of business was to fill two vacancies on the ACSS Board of Directors, and a vacancy for a Chapter President. Amal Kattan-Handal was Nominated by Chapter 503 President Jim Teahan and confirmed as the new Board Member for Chapter 503 (Sacramento area). Bret Blaydes was confirmed as the new Board Member for Chapter 509 (Southern Central Valley area). Nicole Stewart was confirmed as President of Chapter 507 (South Bay Area and Monterey). ACSS President Todd D’Braunstein swore in the new Board Members and Chapter Officer by reciting the Oath of Office.

The Board of Directors reviewed information from the PAC/Legislative Committee, the President’s Forum, and other Association business. They discussed the new roll out of virtual Chapter Zoom meetings as a new method of communication. So far, three virtual Chapter meetings have successfully occurred and ACSS plans to continue scheduling virtual meetings as an effective way to conduct Chapter business.

ACSS Assistant Director of Representation Gerald James discussed the many achievements and efforts of the Representation Program that have helped ACSS Members. Throughout the pandemic, ACSS has continued to meet with CalHR to review many long-standing salary inequity issues, address salary compaction and to provide salary proposals and supporting information to CalHR. In spring of 2021, ACSS fought for Special Salary Adjustments (SSA) for excluded employees related to Bargaining Unit 19 (Health and Social Services/Professionals) while Unit 19 was at the bargaining table. Because of ACSS’ advocacy on behalf of supervisors and managers, some classes will receive an 8% SSA, which is the highest salary adjustment for classes related to Unit 19.

Gerald James also talked about the end of the Personal Leave Program salary reductions, which ACSS heavily advocated for and puts more money back into the pockets of ACSS members. Contrary to previous practices and at ACSS’ request, CalHR confirmed the end of the PLP Program and confirmed salary increases for excluded employees in writing to ACSS in mid-June 2021, before official “Pay Letters” went out. In prior years excluded employees had to wait for the state budget to be signed and the pay letters to issue in mid-July. This is proof that CalHR Director Eraina Ortega and Chief Deputy of Labor Relations Paul Starkey are willing to listen to ACSS and to change the status quo for the benefit of ACSS Members. There is still much work to do, but the relationship between CalHR and ACSS will ensure the long-standing issues are fairly evaluated and resolved for the benefit of ACSS Members.

Salary compaction issues remain in many classifications and ACSS continues to fight for equitable pay on behalf of ACSS Members. Among the ACSS proposals being evaluated by CalHR, the most egregious salary compaction classes in need of resolving are within the CDPH Health Facilities Evaluator Classes, Food Service Supervisors, and the Program Director, Program Assistant and Unit Supervisors classes at the Department of State Hospitals and California Correctional Health Care Services.

ACSS continues to fight for special salary adjustment increases for Right-of-Way Agents, Transportation Planners, and Environmental Planners at Caltrans. In addition, we are advocating for safety retirement for Nursing Consultants and reorganizing classifications for Department of Developmental Services for Peace Officers.

Talks between ACSS and CalHR include the teleworking policies and related stipends and vaccine mandates and testing. ACSS and CalHR meet on a quarterly basis and as needed between those standing meetings to discuss and resolve issues that affect ACSS Members. As always, ACSS will keep you informed on policy changes and important issues that affect our Members and all excluded employees.


Bret Blaydes (Chapter 509 Board Member) with ACSS President Todd D'Braunstein.


Amal Kattan-Handal (Chapter 503 Board Member) with ACSS President Todd D'Braunstein.


Nicole Stewart (Chapter 507 President) with ACSS President Todd D'Braunstein.


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Open Enrollment for Health, Dental and Vision Begins September 20, 2021

Posted: 9/17/2021 Tags: benefits health policy Tags Views: 576

Open Enrollment for health, dental and vision coverage starts September 20 and ends October 15. This is your opportunity to evaluate your health care selections and make any changes to your health, dental or vision plans and add or drop dependents effective January 1, 2022.

Dental and vision premiums remain unchanged, but health premiums are increasing. Basic Health Maintenance Organization health plans will increase by an average of 4.69% while Basic Preferred Provider Organization plans will see an average increase of 8.67%. The good news is that these increased premiums are accompanied by a significant increase in the state employer contribution for excluded employees.

The 2022 employer contribution through the Consolidated Benefits (CoBen) allowance to be used for health, dental and vision benefits effective January 1, 2022 will increase by approximately 7 percent to $739 (Single)/$1428 (2-Party)/$1845 (Family). The 2022 excluded employee “Family” employer contribution is an increase of $122 per month over the 2021 amount. With the increased employer CoBen contribution, some excluded employees will actually see a decrease in the employee contribution for the 2022 calendar year, depending on their health plan enrollment.

The employer contribution is calculated based on the weighted average premium of the four largest enrolled health plans. The new 2022 CoBen amount for supervisors, managers, and confidential employees is $55 per month higher than the state employer contribution for most rank-and-file employees.

CalHR has updated the “Benefits Calculator” portion of the CalHR website for comparison of plan costs and calculating 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 “2022” and “Excluded Employee” before entering your options.

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.

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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Now that we Prevailed in the Recall, Vote in the CalPERS Election!

Posted: 9/16/2021 Tags: benefits election salary Tags Views: 224

Governor Newsom has prevailed against the recall efforts, and by a record margin. While a small number of ballots are still being tabulated, it was clear almost immediately after polls closed that the Californian voters overwhelmingly supported the Governor and soundly rejected the recall effort.

Pleased with the results, ACSS President Todd D’Braunstein said, “I want to thank all ACSS members who participated in the special election and supported Governor Newsom against the recall. Opposing the recall is an important step in keeping Californians safe against the spread of coronavirus and protecting the rights of workers. In continuing with protecting your overall benefits and retirement, don’t forget to participate in the ongoing CalPERS election.”

In the CalPERS Member-at-Large Election, ACSS supports candidates David Miller and Jose Luis Pacheco for Seat A and Seat B, respectively. ACSS believes these candidates will work hard to protect your pension and ensure you receive your rightful retirement benefits with security and dignity. We encourage you to participate in the CalPERS Member-at-Large election by turning in your ballot before September 27, 2021. To learn more about the CalPERS election, click here.


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Don’t Forget to Vote in the Upcoming Special Election!

Posted: 9/10/2021 Tags: election Tags Views: 204

ACSS supports Governor Newsom and we encourage a “NO” vote in the recall election. Take action to ensure that we retain a leader in office that supports resolving salary compaction and protecting your hard-earned pension. Make sure you mail in your ballot (post-marked) before Tuesday September 14th or vote in-person on Tuesday September 14th to make your voice heard!

Yesterday Kamala Harris stood by Governor Newsom in a rally in San Leandro to support the Governor and protest the recall effort. Harris praised Newsom’s COVID-19 policies by saying he “led with courage” during the early days of the pandemic in locking down California ahead of the rest of the country to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

If Newsom is recalled, the long list of replacement candidates could work against the best interests of ACSS members by threatening your hard-earned pension and future compensation. In addition, some candidates may roll back Newsom’s COVID-19 policies, which keep Californians safe. Todd D’Braunstein, President of ACSS, stated, “Not only is it clear that candidates opposing Newsom are anti-pension and anti-labor, it is clear that a NO on the recall is a YES to preserving your pension and ensuring your rightful compensation.”

While recent polls show Newsom is slightly in favor, he still needs your support. Don’t forget to mail in your ballot on or before September 14th! We stand by Governor Newsom and we strongly encourage ACSS members to do the same to ensure your rights, pension, and best interests are protected.

Here are some additional guides and helpful information regarding the Recall Election


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ACSS' 13th Delegate Assembly is coming up!

Posted: 9/9/2021 Tags: events Tags Views: 220

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. Delegate Assembly is an open meeting that members are allowed to attend in the audience. If you are an elected Delegate, Alternate Chapter Officer, or Board Member and have not RSVP'd to the event, please do so immediately!

October 8, 9 & 10, 2021

Sheraton Grand Hotel
1230 J Street, Sacramento CA 95814

Click here for more information about Delegate Assembly


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