The union representing California state-employed attorneys and administrative law judges has reached a deal with the Brown administration that will require its 3,500 members to take one furlough day each month over the next fiscal year.
The agreement amounts to a pay cut of just under 5 percent for state workers belonging to the California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Judges in State Employment, or CASE, bargaining unit.
Patrick Whalen, CASE's general counsel, said the union had little choice but to accept the furloughs given that the governor's budget called for a 5 percent cut in state workers' salaries. CASE was one of the last state bargaining units to reach a deal with the governor.
The attorneys' union did receive two small perks in the agreement, Whalen said. The state agreed to lay the groundwork for creating two new classifications for veteran attorneys and administrative law judges, he said. Many of CASE's members have already reached the top rank within their job description -- Attorney IV, for example -- which limits advancement in their pay and responsibilities. The new classifications won't go into effect until the economy and state budget improve, Whalen said.
The agreement also calls on the state to create a committee that would advise the attorney general on proposed private legal contracts. CASE and other state unions have been fighting state attempts to outsource work their members could provide. In May CASE successfully challenged a $5 million contract with Williams and Associates to represent the state in lawsuits brought by inmates.
The new arrangement will allow state attorneys to challenge such contracts before they are signed by the attorney general, Whalen said.