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765 CMC correctional officers getting a raise from Gov. Jerry Brown

'We're rescues, too': Puppies, inmates at California prison help each other with new program

A program called Tender Loving Canines is among the new and restored rehabilitation courses popping up in California state prisons since Gov. Jerry Brown began emphasizing programs that help inmates prepare to re-enter society.
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A program called Tender Loving Canines is among the new and restored rehabilitation courses popping up in California state prisons since Gov. Jerry Brown began emphasizing programs that help inmates prepare to re-enter society.

California's state correctional officers would get their biggest raise since the recession if they approve a tentative agreement for a one-year contract their union struck with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration this month.

The deal includes a 5 percent general wage increase that would take effect on July 1, 2019. Those benefiting from the deal include 765 employees at California Men's Colony, outside San Luis Obispo.

The California Correctional Peace Officer Association's previous contract netted its members a cumulative 9.3 percent wage increase over three years. Their final wage increase under the agreement comes on July 1.

Their take-home pay in the expiring contract was offset somewhat by a new payroll deduction that requires them to kick in a share of their income to fund the health benefits they'll receive in retirement.

The state human resources department estimates that the new prison contract will cost $114.6 million in the budget year that begins July 1. Over the next two years, it's expected to cost $331 million.

The union's 2016-19 contract swelled spending on prison employee compensation by about $600 million over the life of the deal, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.

Four state government labor groups have contracts that expire this summer, and CCPOA is the first to reach an agreement with Brown. The others are the unions that represent California Highway Patrol officers, state engineers and state scientists.

The unions could take advantage of the state's $8.8 billion budget surplus to press for a raise under Brown, or they could wait to see if they can get a better deal from his successor.

The average base wage for workers represented by CCPOA in 2015 was $76,000, although correctional officers can earn more money through overtime and shift differentials.

CCPOA, which represents about 27,000 state employees, is hosting town halls to describe the contract. Ballots should go out within the next week and union members will have 30 days to vote on the agreement, the union said.

Lawmakers also must approve the contract.

The tentative contract includes a number of other perks, such as:

An increase in annual uniform allowances to $1,000, from $950.

An increase in the shift differential that corrections employees receive for working nights and weekends.

Permission for corrections officers to cash out up to 80 hours of accrued vacation time.

A program called Tender Loving Canines is among the new and restored rehabilitation courses popping up in California state prisons since Gov. Jerry Brown began emphasizing programs that help inmates prepare to re-enter society.



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