CAPS Bargaining Update: CAPS Rejects Last, Best and Final Offer

The State’s Last, Best, and Final Offer. On Tuesday, December 19, the State presented your CAPS Bargaining Team (CAPS Team) with their Last, Best, and Final Offer (LBFO). A summary of the LBFO can be found here. In short, the LBFO simply does not address the increasingly severe problems caused by inequities in Unit 10 since the early 2000s. The State remains stagnant in its position.

After lengthy and careful deliberation of whether to accept or reject the LBFO, your CAPS Team voted unanimously to reject the State’s woefully inadequate LBFO. Therefore, it will not be released to the membership for a vote. Rejecting the LBFO ensures we will continue negotiating with the State, and State Scientists can continue to use our collective power to change our circumstances. 

Our demand is simple: equal pay for equal work and responsible use of State funds, consistent with the State’s own declared environmental policy priorities. The logical and standard salary relationships we are demanding exist in every single other Bargaining Unit except for ours and this injustice has persisted for long enough. Our fight is beyond us and so much bigger than this contract. Fighting for equal pay isn’t just about personal fairness; it’s about advocating for justice and equality within the State’s workforce. Our situation needs to be rectified: our fight sets the rules for future State Scientists. By advocating for ourselves now, we are paving the way for a more equitable future for all State Scientists.

With the rejection of the State’s LBFO, Government Code Section 3517.8 allows the State to impose “any or all” of their LBFO. However, the State cannot impose anything that would waive our statutory rights (such as our right to strike). Anything involving the expenditure of funds must go to the Legislature for approval. 

Your CAPS Team heard your needs and actions loud and clear: thousands of you participated in our historic Defiance for Science strike, and told the State that they need to do better. Almost a year ago, the membership overwhelmingly rejected an effectively equivalent offer. This Administration has shown they do not value scientists, and we – as a Unit – did not come this far only to come this far. We will not be complicit in the State compromising its own scientific programs and refusing to provide equal pay for equal work. We remain committed to ensuring that California will have a scientific workforce protecting Californians and California’s natural resources today, tomorrow, and always.

We are not alone in this fight! Dozens of organizations and individuals are behind us and have expressed their support of our cause the entire way through. State agency secretaries, NGOs, labor organizations, other unions, private supporters, elected officials, and more! And the sheer number of you and your colleagues’ participation in the historic Defiance for Science Strike brought more support through the massive success of the media it garnered. We have more supporters than ever before, and they will keep coming. 

Even if the State chooses to implement part or all of the LBFO, CAPS retains its right to use collective actions, and the State and CAPS still have a legal obligation to continue negotiating an MOU. Your CAPS Team will continue to do everything we can to reach an agreement with the State that is long overdue for State Scientists. At this point, our power to change an imposed contract depends on our collective strength. We can, together, refuse to work under imposed terms that don’t value us. 

Worksite Meetings to be Held in 2024. Your CAPS Team is planning a series of worksite meetings to ensure we are hearing from all State Scientists. Dates will be provided in a forthcoming update. It’s critical that you and your colleagues continue to be engaged and ready to participate in upcoming calls to actions. 

Share your Thoughts with your CAPS Team. In the meantime, to share your thoughts and reach out to your CAPS Team, please fill out this form.

Please note that your CAPS Team will not be able to respond to every comment or suggestion, but will be reading all of the messages received using the form referenced above. 

Unfair Practice Charge by the State. CAPS continues to defend the legality of our November strike before PERB, with a hearing scheduled in late January.

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