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Schwarzenegger strikes contract deal with state's biggest union

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has struck a tentative labor agreement with California's largest public union, which was one of the last major hurdles before state lawmakers could approve a budget plan.

The three-year agreement with Service Employees International Union Local 1000 was announced shortly before midnight Wednesday by the Schwarzenegger administration's Department of Personnel spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley.

The contract includes a one-day-a-month "personal leave program" that amounts to a 5% pay cut for the union's 95,000 members in the first year. It also lowers the pension levels for future employees and requires current workers to contribute an additional 3% toward their retirement.

Union workers would be exempt from furloughs or being paid minimum wage during any future budget impasses.

“This was a hard-fought negotiation but we proved that collective bargaining works," SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said in a prepared statement. "We reached an agreement that helps the state maintain services, during this unprecedented fiscal crisis, while providing stability for our members."

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

 
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