March 27, 2020

PECG continues to work to get Unit 9 employees out of crowded workplaces and into telework or other alternative working arrangements to protect employees and slow the COVID-19 outbreak in California.

As PECG repeatedly points out to departments statewide, CalHR’s guidance on state employee working arrangements, and Governor Newsom’s executive order directing all Californians to stay at home, provide ample authority for all state departments to immediately shift Unit 9 employees to telework, alternative schedules, and Administrative Time Off (ATO), as necessary.

Fortunately, many departments have provided telework and other alternative work options for Unit 9 employees over the last week.  PECG will continue to urge those that have not to do so immediately to protect the health of employees.  If your request for telework or flexible working arrangements has been unreasonably denied, please share that information with your local PECG office so we can act on your behalf.  As always, PECG encourages members to take the appropriate steps to protect their own health and the health of family and friends.

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Given the ongoing threat to public health, PECG and CalHR (representing the state) have suspended collective bargaining for now.  The PECG Bargaining Team, nevertheless, continues to meet regularly via conference call to make all the preparations necessary to resume bargaining.  We will let you know when negotiations start up again on a new PECG Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  The current MOU expires on June 30, 2020.

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Just as a reminder:  PECG’s Sacramento Headquarters and our offices in Pasadena and San Francisco are closed at this time due to the Governor’s stay at home executive order.  PECG staff members in all three offices are still working and available to PECG members by phone and email.

Please have a safe and healthy weekend – hopefully at home.


March 24, 2020

PECG leaders and staff continue to work non-stop to insist that all state departments act more quickly to move Unit 9 employees out of crowded state workplaces to protect the health of employees and slow the surge of COVID-19 cases in California.  Doing so is consistent with CalHR’s most recent guidance on state employee working arrangements and Governor Newsom’s executive order directing all Californians to stay at home to protect public health at this time.

PECG has made clear to state departments that the CalHR guidance and the governor’s order provide them with all the authority they would ever need to immediately shift Unit 9 employees to telework, alternative work schedules, and Administrative Time Off (ATO), depending on the nature of the work and circumstances of each employee.

With PECG’s urging, many departments have moved to adopt telework and other alternative work arrangements over the last week.  But some departments have been far too slow to recognize the public health crisis.  They continue to insist that employees come to work to perform functions that are important, but not essential to the state’s COVID-19 response.  PECG will continue to insist on telework, workplace flexibility, and ATO in all workplaces that are not complying with the CalHR guidance and governor’s order.  If your request for telework or flexible working arrangements has been unreasonably denied, please contact your local PECG office.

PECG also strongly urges members to take all steps necessary to protect their own health and the health of their loved ones, as we continue to urge the immediate shift to working arrangements that protect employees and the public.

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Needless to say, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) announced last week that the April 2020 paper-and-pencil exam administration has been canceled.  The cancellation is prompted, of course, by the COVID-19 public health emergency.  For additional details and information, please see ncees.org/COVID-19.  NCEES also is answering questions online at NCEES.org or by telephone at 800-250-3196.


March 19, 2020

PECG continues to work with all Unit 9 state departments to insist that they comply with CalHR’s updated guidance on state employee working arrangements to protect the health of employees and slow the COVID-19 virus outbreak in our state.  You can read the full guidance here.

As PECG has demanded for weeks, the guidance requires immediate adoption of telework, alternative work schedules, and Administrative Time Off (ATO) for employees depending on the nature of their work and personal circumstance.

Since the guideline’s release just over 24 hours ago, there has been progress with some departments quickly adopting the new procedures.

But PECG continues to report to CalHR examples of state departments, in the middle of this crisis, conducting business as usual.  Departments inexplicably continue to order employees to come to the office, deeming work essential, even in counties with directives from local public health officials for residents to stay at home to slow the outbreak.  Far too many PECG members continue to have telework requests denied.

PECG continues to urge that members take the appropriate measures to protect their own health and that of their families, as we work to ensure state adoption of workplace guidance developed to do just that.

As always, if you are denied telework or flexible working arrangements, please contact your local PECG office.


March 18, 2020

The State of California today issued updated guidance on state employee working arrangements to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  It directs state departments to do the following:

  1. Determine which critical employees cannot telework and need to continue to report to the office and establish appropriate social distancing protocols to keep them safe in the office.
  2. Establish a telework schedule for all other employees who are eligible for telework.
  3. For anyone whose job duties are not immediately critical to the continuity of operations, and are not viable for telework, a review should be conducted to determine if the employee can be redirected to other work that is either critical (#1) or eligible for telework (#2).
  4. As a last resort, for anyone who is not eligible for telework and cannot be redirected, Administrative Time Off (ATO) will be provided, regardless of available leave balances. Departments should report all staff on ATO to CalHR for possible redirection to appropriate work in another department. All staff on ATO should be provided with directions on how to stay in contact with management for assignment of duties.
  5. In establishing telework schedules, departments should prioritize those employees who are considered at greatest risk and employees who are impacted by school closures.
  • For employees 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions, departments should consider all available options for telework and flexible work schedules. Those employees not eligible for these options and subject to a local stay-at-home directive shall be provided ATO.
  • This does not include people in essential classifications who are needed to protect our most vulnerable residents, such as hospital and health care workers, pharmacists, peace officers, firefighters, etc.

For weeks, PECG has advocated the rapid adoption of telework, flexible schedules, and Administrative Time Off (ATO) to protect Unit 9 employees and public health.  This morning, PECG repeated its request to the Governor and CalHR to shut down immediately all state offices in counties under stay-at-home directives from local public health officials, and in all communities experiencing outbreaks, to protect all state employees.

PECG urges members to take all steps necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones.  If you are denied the option of telework or other flexible working arrangements, please contact your local PECG office.

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Important Note:  PECG’s Sacramento Headquarters and San Francisco office are closed due to stay-at-home directives.  Nonetheless, PECG staff is still working and available to members by phone and email.  Yes, we are teleworking.  Be safe.


March 17, 2020

Governor Newsom just finished updating the media about the COVID-19 public health crisis.  The Governor was clear that the outbreak is likely to get worse before it gets better.  With $1 billion authorized yesterday by the Legislature, the state is working to provide more hospital beds and medical equipment to help hospitals deal with the expected surge of COVID-19 cases.  The Governor said he expects other counties to adopt stay-at-home policies that discourage any non-essential activities outside the home.  Six Bay Area counties adopted stay-at-home policies yesterday and Sacramento County followed suit today.  The Governor also said that the school year is likely over for California students.

The Governor did not provide any additional guidance on state operations or state employee working arrangements, as he had promised to do on Sunday.  In response to a reporter’s question, the Governor said that his Administration is still working to finalize its state operations plan, that it would be completed shortly, and that it will seek to shift additional so-called non-essential employees to working from home.

PECG continues to encourage state leaders to more aggressively adopt telework and other flexible work options for all Unit 9 members, and to provide Administrative Time Off (ATO) to employees impacted by the virus, including ATO for those faced with closed schools and workplaces.


March 16, 2020

To protect the health of Unit 9 employees, PECG continues to urge state leaders to force state departments to be far more aggressive in the adoption of telework and flexible work strategies to limit the transmission of COVID-19 in state workplaces and throughout California.  Given Governor Newsom’s announcements yesterday in response to the increasing health threat, some departments have adopted emergency telework strategies this morning.  Unfortunately, other departments are still dragging their feet.   PECG will continue to encourage the state to immediately provide telework options for all Unit 9 members and to give Administrative Time Off (ATO) to employees impacted by the virus, including ATO for those faced with closed schools and workplaces.

Yesterday, the Governor also said that his Administration is working on updated guidance for state operations and state employees.  The governor suggested the new guidance will provide a distinction between “essential” and “non-essential” state employees, but provided no other details.  PECG will share the new guidance with members as soon as it comes out.


March 13, 2020

The health and safety of Unit 9 employees is a top PECG priority.  That is why PECG continues to urge CalHR (representing the governor) and state departments with Unit 9 employees to more aggressively and broadly adopt telework and alternative work week strategies to limit the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace and help prevent the spread of the disease in California.

PECG is also pressing the state to provide Administrative Time Off (ATO) to employees impacted by the virus in any way, including providing ATO for parents dealing with school closures.  Obviously, circumstances relating to the virus and the state’s response to it are changing quickly.  Unless and until the state heeds PECG’s call to authorize expanded use of telework, alternative work weeks and ATO, PECG refers members to the latest policy guidelines released by CalHR yesterday.  These guidelines are similar to the guidelines you should have received in the workplace from state departments.  PECG would also encourage members to share their health and safety concerns, and any individual circumstances that require accommodation due to the virus, with their supervisors and managers.  Doing so will make certain that the need for flexibility during this crisis is heard loud and clear at all levels within state departments.

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At the March 6 PECG Corporate Quarterly Meeting, the PECG Board of Directors voted unanimously to appoint Stefan Cajina as Corporate Vice President Supervisory.  Cajina, a Supervising Sanitary Engineer for the State Water Resources Control Board, has been a PECG member since 1998.  With the appointment, he becomes the chair of the PECG Meet & Confer Team.  The Team, made up of supervisors from around the state, negotiates salaries, benefits and working conditions for Unit 9 supervisors and managers with the state through the meet and confer process.  Cajina has been a member of the Meet & Confer team since 2009 and is very familiar with the team’s important work on behalf of supervisory and managerial members.

Cajina takes over the role from Steve Lee who recently left his Senior Transportation Engineer (Supervisory) position and transitioned to a new Senior Transportation Engineer (Specialist) spot at Caltrans.  The PECG Bylaws dictate that the Vice President Supervisory office becomes vacant if the officeholder is no longer in a supervisory class.

The PECG Board thanks Stefan and Steve for their service to PECG.


March 6, 2020

As reported last week, the PECG Bargaining Team has decided that PECG’s comprehensive bargaining survey will close today at 5:00 p.m.  The survey has been open since January 13 and over 3,800 PECG members have completed it to date.

If you have not yet completed the survey – today is your last opportunity.  Please respond to this email if you would like PECG to email you another link to the survey.  The survey, and the comments submitted with the survey, help to establish the priorities of the PECG team as it negotiates with CalHR (representing the state) on PECG’s next Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  The current MOU expires on June 30, 2020.

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Last week, PECG leaders and staff were in Washington D.C. to participate in legislative conferences hosted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA).  Both events drew a number of legislative leaders and policy stakeholders who discussed funding and policies related to federal transportation and water programs.

Notable speakers at the conferences included House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY), Administration officials, and several California Members of Congress, including Reps. Jim Costa (D-Fresno), TJ Cox (D-Hanford), Tom McClintock (R-Roseville), Mike Levin (D-Oceanside), John Garamendi (D-Fairfield), Ken Calvert (R-Corona), Harley Rouda (D-Newport Beach), Josh Harder (D-Modesto), and Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).

While in D.C., PECG leaders also spent time on Capitol Hill meeting with Members of Congress and their staff to discuss PECG’s 2020 federal legislative priorities.  Transportation-focused meetings were with California Members of Congress who sit on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  PECG’s federal priorities for transportation include increasing federal transportation funding, limiting outsourcing of engineering and related services, requiring a cost comparison prior to outsourcing, and cautioning against the use of public-private partnerships for transportation projects.  PECG also advocated in support of our sponsored bill, HR 1099, which would require construction inspection to be performed by public employees on federally-funded transportation projects.  To view PECG’s 2020 Federal Transportation Priorities, please click here.  The password is currently PECGdelivers! (case sensitive).

PECG also met with California Members of Congress who sit on the House Natural Resources Committee or the Water Resources and the Environment Subcommittee to discuss PECG’s 2020 federal priorities for water programs and infrastructure.  Those priorities include increasing federal funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, increasing federal funding for flood protection projects, and opposition to any federal mandate or incentive to outsource engineering and related services.  To view PECG’s 2020 Federal Water Priorities, please click here.  The password is currently PECGdelivers! (case sensitive).

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The March 3 primary election results were overwhelmingly positive for PECG.  In 76 of the 78 legislative races in which PECG took a position, the PECG-endorsed candidate advanced to the November general election.  This includes 7 out of 8 campaigns for open legislative seats and 3 out of 4 challengers to incumbents.  As always, PECG-endorsed candidates are selected based on each candidate’s experience, record in public office, and stated positions on issues affecting PECG members.  The PECG-supported statewide ballot measure, Proposition 13 (school bonds) is failing at the moment, with millions of votes yet to be counted.  Proposition 13 was a priority for Governor Gavin Newsom.


February 28, 2020

The PECG Bargaining Team was in Sacramento this week to analyze the latest comprehensive bargaining survey results and review additional comments submitted by PECG members who recently completed the survey.  To date, 3,800 rank and file PECG members completed the survey with over 1,000 submitting comments with specific bargaining suggestions.  The survey and comments help to establish the priorities of the PECG team as it negotiates with CalHR (representing the governor) on the next PECG Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  The current MOU expires on June 30, 2020.

The Bargaining Team also decided that the bargaining survey will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 6, 2020 – one week from today.  If you have not done so already, please take a few minutes to fill out the survey and share your bargaining perspective.

If you did not receive a survey via email or lost or deleted it, please let us know by replying to this message.  In some cases, members report that it is not possible to access the online survey via a state computer.  In these instances, PECG recommends that you forward the survey to your personal computer to respond.

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For now, PECG’s comprehensive Supervisors and Managers Pay and Benefits Survey remains open.  To date, over 400 supervisory and managerial PECG members have responded.  PECG negotiates salary, benefits, and working conditions for Unit 9 supervisors and managers with CalHR through the meet and confer process.  The PECG Meet and Confer Team, made up of fellow supervisors from around the state, will use the survey results to establish its own pay and benefit objectives for Unit 9 supervisors and managers.  If you are a PECG supervisory or managerial member, and have yet to complete survey, please take the time to do so now.


February 21, 2020

This week, CalHR finally announced the higher reimbursement subsidies available to PECG members who use mass transit or ride in vanpools.  As PECG reported previously, effective with the November 2019 pay period, Unit 9 employees are eligible for the following increases:

Public transit passes:  75% discount on public transit passes sold by state agencies or purchased by Unit 9 employees, up to a maximum of $100 per month.  This is an increase of $35 per month.

Vanpool riders:  75% reimbursement on the monthly fee, up to a maximum of $100 per month – an increase of $35 per month.

Primary vanpool driver:  $135 per month in lieu of the vanpool rider reimbursement.  This is an increase of $35 per month.

Many departments have already issued travel policy updates reflecting the increased reimbursement levels.  Please follow your department’s guidelines when seeking the retroactive reimbursement levels and applying for the increases going forward.

The increases are courtesy of PECG’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Article 2.1 that requires the state to provide Unit 9 employees with the same increases “if other Bargaining Units receive increases” in Commute Program benefits.  Last year, other units reached agreement on new MOUs that raised Commute Program reimbursements and, therefore, the same increases are being passed onto Unit 9 employees.

CalHR also announced this week that the identical mass transit and vanpool subsidy increases will be extended to Unit 9, and all other, state supervisors and managers.  Unfortunately, the state made the increases effective February 1, 2020 for all state supervisors and managers.  Last year, the PECG Meet and Confer Team had requested that Unit 9 supervisors and managers be provided the increased transit and vanpool subsidies on the same schedule (November 2019) as Unit 9 rank and file employees.  PECG repeated that request this week.

Article 2.1 of the MOU also provides for the doubling of Bilingual Differential Pay – from $100 to $200 a month – for PECG members effective November 2019.  Regrettably, at this time, the state is unable to provide an exact date for implementation of the increase in bilingual pay.

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Two PECG leaders, Harpreet Bhalla (Capitol Section V.P. Rank and File) and Karmina Padgett (River City Section President), celebrated “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” with nearly two dozen female leaders from engineering groups and associations at the State Capitol yesterday.  They were the special guests of Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (San Fernando Valley), the author of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 154 (ACR 154), which declares February 20, 2020, as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day in California and urges women to pursue careers in engineering and other STEM-related fields.  Rivas has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT.

As she presented ACR 154 on the Assembly floor, Asm. Rivas asked Bhalla, Padgett, and the other women engineers in attendance to stand and be recognized in the Assembly gallery.  Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin (Thousands Oaks), also spoke in support of ACR 154 on the Assembly floor.  Irwin holds a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from UC San Diego.

After ACR 154 was approved by the Assembly, PECG’s leaders and the others in attendance went to the Assembly floor for a group photo with Asms. Rivas and Irwin.  Please click here to view a gallery of photographs from the event.

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Speaking of legislative resolutions, earlier this month, the Assembly also approved ACR 153, also authored by Asm. Rivas, officially declaring February 16, 2020, to February 22, 2020, as Engineers Week.  ACR 153 concludes that engineers deserve special recognition because, “California’s engineers apply their unique knowledge and skill to help communities grow, thrive, and remain safe, and are truly dedicated to building a better California.”

PECG thanks Asm. Rivas and the entire Legislature for honoring the important work of engineers and related professionals by recognizing Engineers Week and Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.


February 14, 2020

PECG’s Annual Legislative Day this week was once again a big success.  Seventy PECG Corporate and Section leaders from throughout California headed to the State Capitol on Tuesday of this week to meet with over 100 legislators and key legislative staff members.  In the evening, PECG hosted a reception in the Capitol for more casual discussions with dozens of lawmakers and state government leaders, including Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin, CalHR Director Eraina Ortega, Department of Conservation Director David Shabazian, California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) Supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk, and California Public Employees’ Retirement (CalPERS) Board President Henry Jones.

PECG’s legislative priorities for 2020 include urging lawmakers to spend infrastructure dollars efficiently by hiring state engineers and related professionals and ending the wasteful, overpriced outsourcing of design and related work.  PECG leaders also made clear that any new public-private partnership (P3) legislation must protect public safety, including a requirement that Caltrans perform the construction inspection on new P3s.

PECG’s priorities also include support for Governor Newsom’s state budget proposals to place a $4.75 billion climate resilience bond on the November 2020 ballot and to make an extra $500 million pension contribution to CalPERS to bolster the retirement plan.  To view the complete PECG Legislative Day talking points, please click here.

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Mail-in ballots went out to California voters who requested them earlier this month and the March 3, 2020, primary election is now just weeks away.  PECG recommends your support for Proposition 13 (school bonds) and has endorsed 79 state legislative candidates on the March ballot.  PECG’s candidate recommendations are based solely on each candidate’s experience, record in public office, and stated positions on issues affecting PECG members.  PECG’s complete list of recommended candidates can be viewed here.

For PECG members interested in serving on their local Precinct Election Board, the PECG MOU provides that Unit 9 employees may be granted paid time off to do so with prior approval from your supervisor.  For the details, please see MOU Section 5.13.

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PECG offices will be closed Monday, February 17, in observance of Presidents’ Day.   We hope that you have a great three-day weekend.


February 7, 2020

Over 3,700 rank and file PECG members have already completed PECG’s comprehensive Bargaining Survey.  The survey results help establish the priorities of the PECG Bargaining Team as it begins negotiations with CalHR (representing the governor) on the next PECG Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  The current MOU expires on June 30, 2020.

The PECG Bargaining Team is reviewing preliminary survey results, and every one of the over 1,000 comments PECG members submitted when completing the survey.  The survey will remain open for the foreseeable future to ensure that every PECG member who wants to complete the survey, gets a chance to do so.  Please take a few minutes to respond to the survey and share your own bargaining priorities, if you have not done so already.

PECG’s comprehensive Supervisors and Managers Pay and Benefits Survey also remains open.  To date, over 350 supervisory and managerial PECG members have responded.  PECG negotiates salary, benefits, and working conditions for Unit 9 supervisors and managers with the Governor’s Administration through the meet and confer process.  The PECG Meet and Confer Team, made up of fellow supervisors from around the state, will use the survey results to establish its own pay and benefit objectives for supervisors and managers prior to meeting with the State.  If you have not previously completed the survey, please take the time to do so now.

If you have not yet received your survey via email, please let us know by replying to this message.  In some cases, members report that it is not possible to access the online survey via a state computer.  In these instances, PECG recommends that you forward the survey to your personal computer to respond.


January 31, 2020

Yesterday, Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin was the guest speaker at PECG’s Sacramento Section quarterly lunch meeting.  Nearly 400 PECG members and leaders packed into the Masonic Temple in Downtown Sacramento to hear his 30-minute PowerPoint presentation.

Omishakin opened his remarks by thanking state engineers and related professionals for their service to Caltrans and for their work delivering water, energy, health care, education, and other infrastructure projects.

He then outlined the five areas in which he wants Caltrans to dedicate its time and energy under his leadership:  (1) improve highway safety and reduce fatalities, (2) expand modality options to ensure there are viable choices for drivers, transit users, and bikers and walkers, (3) expand innovation so the department is using the very best available technology, and (4) make certain that Caltrans adopts efficiencies to maximize the dollars that are available for projects.  The final area he wants to focus on is to expand engagement with partners and stakeholders so all levels of government and the private sector are working to solve our transportation challenges.

The Director also acknowledged and thanked PECG for our instrumental role in the approval of SB 1 in 2017.  SB 1 provides more than $5 billion annually for much-needed upgrades to state and local transportation infrastructure.  He also repeated what he had said in a meeting with PECG leaders last November:  SB 1 statutory funding formulas dictate that the vast majority of dollars allotted to Caltrans must be invested in the repair and maintenance of state highways – and not diverted elsewhere.  He said he and the entire Newsom Administration understand and support the commitment that was made to all Californians with the approval of SB 1 and the funds will be spent “according to the law.”

To view photos of the Director’s visit to the Sacramento Section lunch, please click here.

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Also yesterday, PECG Vice President of Collective Bargaining (Bargaining Team Chair) Matt Hanson, PECG Bargaining Team Member Ryan Atencio, and PECG staff met again with representatives from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) to push for immediate, official notice of the anticipated move of the Southern California CARB headquarters from El Monte to Riverside.

The State anticipates that CARB’s new Riverside Headquarters will be open and operational in February 2021.  Atencio, a Staff Air Pollution Specialist in the El Monte Office who will be dealing firsthand with the impact of the impending move, urged CARB and CalHR to provide PECG members with official notice of the impending move to trigger an array of rights and benefits for Unit 9 employees under the PECG MOU and state regulation.  Those benefits include the ability to claim moving and relocation expenses for household moves and the opportunity for preferential hiring into open positions at other departments for those who may not be able to make the move to Riverside.  PECG also provided a list of other benefits that should be afforded to PECG members facing relocation, including long-term expanded commute, telecommuting, and alternative work week options.

In a document provided to impacted employees last summer, CARB suggests that official notice should occur no sooner than 6 to 9 months prior to projected occupancy of the new Riverside headquarters.  PECG explained that immediate, official notice of the move will provide CARB El Monte employees the time, and afford them the resources, necessary to mitigate the impact of this move and ensure they can appropriately plan their careers and their families’ futures.  PECG will continue to work with CARB and CalHR to ensure that PECG members are afforded the broadest possible options during the relocation, per the MOU and state regulation.

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A brief reminder for PECG members on the Central Coast:  CalPERS is hosting two free all-day CalPERS Benefits Education Events (CBEE) in San Luis Obispo on Friday and Saturday, February 7th and 8th.  The events feature retirement and benefits planning classes for CalPERS members who are new to public service, nearing retirement, and anywhere in between.  Topics include CalPERS retirement benefits, CalPERS health benefits, deferred compensation savings plans, and Social Security.  Classes repeat throughout both days and there are no restrictions on attendance.

The event will be held at the Embassy Suites, 333 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on both days.  For a schedule, more details, online registration, and a calendar of CBEEs events planned around the state, please visit the CalPERS CBEE webpage.


January 24, 2020

Unfortunately, as we know, sometimes the State employer is slow to update reimbursement policies and guidelines.  That has certainly proven to be true for the increased Commute Program reimbursements that are owed to Unit 9 employees.

As reported previously, Unit 9 employees who use mass transit or ride in vanpools are now eligible for a 75% discount, up to $100 a month, on transit passes and rideshare fees.  The previous maximum for each was $65 per month.  Primary vanpool drivers are now eligible for a flat $135 a month reimbursement, up from $100.

The State assures us that they are working to implement the Unit 9 Commute Program increases in all state departments.  The increases are retroactive to the November 2019 pay period, but please wait for updated guidance from your human resources department prior to submitting the paperwork to increase your reimbursement and to receive your retroactive benefits.

The increases are courtesy of MOU Article 2.1 that requires the State to provide Unit 9 employees with the same increases “if other Bargaining Units receive increases” in Commute Program benefits.  SEIU Local 1000 units reached agreement on new MOUs last year that raised Commute Program reimbursements and, therefore, the same increases are to be passed onto Unit 9 employees.  The PECG Supervisory Meet and Confer Team has requested that the State provide the identical increases to Unit 9 supervisors and managers.

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CalPERS is hosting two free all-day CalPERS Benefits Education Events (CBEE) in San Luis Obispo on Friday, February 7, and Saturday, February 8, to educate members in the region about the state retirement programs and benefits available to them.

The events feature classes for early-career, mid-career, and soon-to-retire members.  Topics to be covered include CalPERS retirement benefits, CalPERS health benefits, deferred compensation savings plans, and Social Security.  Classes repeat throughout both days.

There are no restrictions on attendance.  You are welcome to attend on Friday, Saturday, or feel free to participate in classes on both days as your schedule permits.  The CBEEs will be held at the Embassy Suites, 333 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on both days.

For a schedule, more details, online registration, and a calendar of CBEE events planned around the state, please visit the CalPERS CBEE webpage.


January 17, 2020

PECG’s comprehensive Bargaining Survey will be emailed to PECG’s rank and file members this Monday, January 13.  The survey gives PECG members the opportunity to express your priorities for improvements to Unit 9 salary, benefits, and working conditions.  The survey results help establish the goals and objectives for the PECG Bargaining Team as it enters negotiations with CalHR (representing the Governor) in February on the next PECG Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  All bargaining survey results will be compiled and reviewed by the Bargaining Team, as will individual comments and suggestions submitted as part of the survey.  PECG’s 2018-20 MOU expires on June 30, 2020, but remains in effect until agreement is reached on a new one.  The MOU sets your pay, benefits, working conditions, and covers countless other items that beneficially impact your employment.  PECG encourages you to please take the time to complete the survey when it lands in your inbox on Monday or soon thereafter.  The current MOU can be found on PECG’s website here.  The password is currently PECGdelivers! (case sensitive).

In a few weeks, PECG’s comprehensive Supervisor and Manager Pay and Benefits Survey will be emailed to PECG’s supervisory and managerial members.  As a PECG-represented state supervisor or manager, you are represented by a Meet and Confer Team made up of your fellow supervisors from around the state.  The Team negotiates your salary and benefits with the Governor’s Administration through the meet and confer process.   The survey results will help the Meet and Confer Team establish its pay and benefit priorities for Unit 9 supervisors and managers when it meets with the State in the weeks ahead.

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During the holiday season, new PECG 2020 membership cards (along with pocket calendars to those who requested them) were mailed to all PECG members.  Unfortunately, due to an error by the printer, a significant number of PECG members received membership cards which did not list their correct PECG section.  Next week, at the printer’s expense, new membership cards (with the correct section listed) will go out to the affected members.  PECG apologizes for the error and inconvenience.


January 10, 2020

PECG’s comprehensive Bargaining Survey will be emailed to PECG’s rank and file members this Monday, January 13.  The survey gives PECG members the opportunity to express your priorities for improvements to Unit 9 salary, benefits, and working conditions.  The survey results help establish the goals and objectives for the PECG Bargaining Team as it enters negotiations with CalHR (representing the Governor) in February on the next PECG Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  All bargaining survey results will be compiled and reviewed by the Bargaining Team, as will individual comments and suggestions submitted as part of the survey.  PECG’s 2018-20 MOU expires on June 30, 2020, but remains in effect until agreement is reached on a new one.  The MOU sets your pay, benefits, working conditions, and covers countless other items that beneficially impact your employment.  PECG encourages you to please take the time to complete the survey when it lands in your inbox on Monday or soon thereafter.  The current MOU can be found on PECG’s website here.  The password is currently PECGdelivers! (case sensitive).

In a few weeks, PECG’s comprehensive Supervisor and Manager Pay and Benefits Survey will be emailed to PECG’s supervisory and managerial members.  As a PECG-represented state supervisor or manager, you are represented by a Meet and Confer Team made up of your fellow supervisors from around the state.  The Team negotiates your salary and benefits with the Governor’s Administration through the meet and confer process.   The survey results will help the Meet and Confer Team establish its pay and benefit priorities for Unit 9 supervisors and managers when it meets with the State in the weeks ahead.

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During the holiday season, new PECG 2020 membership cards (along with pocket calendars to those who requested them) were mailed to all PECG members.  Unfortunately, due to an error by the printer, a significant number of PECG members received membership cards which did not list their correct PECG section.  Next week, at the printer’s expense, new membership cards (with the correct section listed) will go out to the affected members.  PECG apologizes for the error and inconvenience.


January 3, 2020

The New Year prompts many of us to reflect on the past and plan for the future.  As you think about changes you may want to make for 2020, please consider taking advantage of the various low-cost insurance plans available only to PECG members.  The premiums are paid through payroll deduction, and the policies offer opportunities to provide additional security for you and your family.

As a benefit of membership, every PECG active member automatically receives $5,000 of Basic Life insurance and $1,500 of Basic Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage at no cost.  However, members may also purchase up to $521,000 of life insurance, and up to $255,000 of dependent life insurance coverage, at low group rates.  Long-term disability, automobile, and homeowner insurance are also available to PECG members, all at low group rates.

To learn more about PECG’s members-only benefits, including discounted insurance products, please visit PECG’s webpage.  The password is currently PECGdelivers! (case sensitive).

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The Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists has just released on its website updated 2020 versions of the Professional Engineers Act, the Professional Land Surveyors’ Act, the Board Rules, the Geologist & Geophysicist Act, and the Regulations Relating to the Practices of Geology and Geophysics.  Please click here to find all the links to the updated laws and regulations, including annotated versions which show the changes that were made in 2019, for your profession.

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As we noted last week, CalPERS is hosting two free, all-day CalPERS Benefits Education Events (CBEE) in Rohnert Park (a city just south of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County) on Friday, January 10 and Saturday, January 11.  The purpose is to educate members in the region about the state retirement programs and benefits available to them.

The events feature classes for early, mid-career, and soon-to-retire members.  Topics to be covered include CalPERS retirement benefits, CalPERS health benefits, deferred compensation savings plans, and Social Security.  Classes repeat throughout both days.

There are no restrictions on attendance.  You are welcome to attend on Friday, Saturday, or feel free to attend classes on both days as your schedule permits.  The CBEEs will be held at the DoubleTree Rohnert Park, 1 Doubletree Drive, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday (January 10) and Saturday (January 11).

For a schedule, more details, and online registration, please visit the CalPERS CBEE webpage.