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California Prison Guards Awarded $440 Million Retroactive Pay Increase

California?s 30,000 prison guards, some 6,000 of whom pulled down over $100,000 last year, won an arbitration award on January 19, 2007 for retroactive pay increases totaling $440 million. Funding for this liability was not included in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation?s (CDCR) recent $10 billion budget request for the coming fiscal year.

The $440 million includes $200 million for back pay and health benefits plus $240 million in the form of a 3.1% pay scale adjustment to bootstrap the guards? wage basis to that of the California Highway Patrol and five ?bellwether? municipal police departments. The adjustments were arbitrators? interpretations of the guards? five-year contract negotiated by former Governor Gray Davis, who scored over $3 million in ?gratitude? from the guards? union (CCPOA) for his election campaigns. That contract was originally projected to cost California taxpayers $521 million, but wound up sapping them $2 billion. CDCR prison guards? base pay now ranges from $60,576 to $68,780, depending upon length of service. But their contract expired in July 2006, and new contract provisions are still in negotiation.

California?s Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer stated that of the $440 million, $153.5 million will come from reserves, while $46 million will be confiscated from cuts to other state programs. No funding source was identified for the remaining $240.5 million. On average, each guard will receive an extra paycheck exceeding $14,000.

Source: Fresno Bee

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