Only one unit of IUOE granted salary hike

Only one unit of IUOE granted salary hike

While all bargaining units affiliated with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) started contract negotiations with the government in order to get significant hikes in salaries for their members, only one unit achieved the goal.

Just like many other unions, IUOE units 3, 12, 39 and 501 sought substantial hikes in salaries for their members, particularly for those who were crucial to run California's massive State Water Project.

In July last year, Gov. Jerry Brown finalized an addition to the union's contract which hiked salaries for 741 employees of the Department of Water Resources by up to 37.4 per cent. It may be noted here that the Department of Water is responsible for operating the State Water Project. The pay hikes took effect immediately, creating first-year cost of $18.3 million for the state.

Craft & maintenance workers, bargaining unit 12, of the IUOE enjoyed the following hikes in the past three years:

In 2011, when there were 9,686 full-time employees, average full-time pay was $42,951, while median full-time pay was $44,611.

In 2012, when there were 9,604 full-time employees, average and median full-time pay jumped to $44,734 and $46,430, respectively. In 2013, the number of full-time employees slipped further to 9,500. Average and median full-time pay also slipped to $44,284 and $46,123, respectively.

Years of below-market salaries made the Golden State susceptible to poaching of skilled workers by federal and regional water authorities. Even state officials have repeatedly said that the disparity in salaries have created a shortage of water project workers as Gov. Brown is promoting a plan for a huge water project to redirect water around the Delta.

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