California Scientists Commence Strike Amid Stalled Contract Negotiations

by Michael Nguyen
Airport Protests

A significant number of scientists employed by the state of California initiated a three-day strike on Wednesday, marking the first such action by a state civil service union. The strike commenced in Sacramento, with members of the California Association of Professional Scientists rallying to voice their dissatisfaction with the stalled contract negotiations. This protest is set to extend to Los Angeles, Oakland, and other major cities in the following two days.

Representing approximately 5,200 professionals across over 50 state departments, the union’s members are involved in a wide array of critical state functions, including air quality management, toxic waste regulation, earthquake risk assessment, and controlling agricultural pests. Despite ongoing negotiations and mediation efforts, the union members have been operating without a formal contract since 2020. A proposed agreement earlier in the year was rejected by the union members, and another mediation session is scheduled for November 28.

This strike is unprecedented since the establishment of collective bargaining rights for state workers in 1977, as reported by The Sacramento Bee. Jacqueline Tkac, the union’s president, expressed to the Bee that while striking is a reluctant choice, the members are motivated by their challenging circumstances. This is a historic moment for the union, demonstrating their readiness to take such a significant step.

In response to the strike plans, the California Department of Human Resources filed a complaint alleging unfair labor practices by the union, attempting to avert the strike. The department, expressing disappointment at the strike’s commencement, stated its commitment to continuing negotiations in good faith with the goal of reaching a fair agreement, as communicated by department spokesperson Camille Travis.

The central issue for the union is the demand for higher wages. They argue that state scientists receive significantly lower compensation, around 40% to 60% less, than counterparts in similar roles with equivalent responsibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about California Scientists Strike

Why are California scientists on strike?

California scientists, represented by the California Association of Professional Scientists, are on strike due to stalled contract negotiations. They have been without a contract since 2020 and are seeking fair wages, claiming they are paid significantly less than others in similar positions with the same level of responsibility.

What are the demands of the striking scientists in California?

The primary demand of the striking scientists is higher wages. They argue that they are paid 40% to 60% less than their counterparts in comparable positions who have the same level of responsibility and perform similar or identical work.

How widespread is the California scientists’ strike?

The strike began in Sacramento and is set to expand to Los Angeles, Oakland, and other major cities. It involves around 5,200 members of the California Association of Professional Scientists working across more than 50 state departments.

What issues do the striking scientists in California address in their work?

The scientists work on a range of critical issues, including air pollution control, toxic waste management, earthquake hazard assessment, and agricultural pest control, playing a vital role in various state departments.

Is this the first strike of its kind for California state workers?

Yes, this is the first strike by state civil service workers since they won collective bargaining rights in 1977. It marks a historic moment for the union and its members, demonstrating a significant step in their efforts to negotiate fair contract terms.

More about California Scientists Strike

  • California scientists begin strike
  • Union demands in California scientists’ strike
  • Scope of California scientists’ strike
  • Roles of striking California scientists
  • Historic nature of California scientists’ strike

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TommyTech November 16, 2023 - 9:32 am

The union’s demands seem pretty reasonable, can’t believe they’ve been underpaid for so long

Rick_the_Rock November 16, 2023 - 10:08 am

strikes in cali again, huh? wonder how this will affect state services…

MikeJohnson November 16, 2023 - 2:52 pm

wow, didn’t know scientists could go on strike like this! tough times for everyone i guess

SaraK November 16, 2023 - 5:10 pm

Its about time they stood up for fair pay, scientists do important work and should be compensated properly!

Linda_L November 17, 2023 - 2:10 am

Striking is a big step, hope it leads to positive changes for them. People often forget how much we rely on scientific work.


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