California’s scientist union plans to stage the first-ever strike by state civil servants

Scientists in California state government plan to walk off the job next week in what would be California’s first-ever civil servant strike.

After three years of fruitless bargaining, followed by an impasse declaration and mediation talks, the California Association of Professional Scientists will stage a rolling three-day strike Nov. 15-17, the union announced Thursday in an email to members.

The union has asked for significant, double-digit raises — which some experts have previously characterized as unrealistic. After reaching impasse in late October, CAPS’s bargaining team met with the state and a mediator on Wednesday. Their next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 28.

Jon Ortiz, a media consultant for the union, confirmed the strike dates and said more details would be released “soon.”

A CalHR spokesperson did not directly address the strike when asked for comment.

“The state is engaged in mediation with CAPS with a mediator assigned from the Public Employment Relations Board and plans to continue in good faith with the mediation process in an effort to reach agreement,” wrote spokesperson Nicole Skow in an emailed statement.

A post on the Reddit forum r/CAStateWorkers included the clarification that state scientists would not be asked to strike for all three days. The post also directed members to read the CAPS “strike standards” in preparation for the work stoppage.

“Specific worksites will be contacted to begin our roll out of this stand-up strike. We will share more details later this week,” the post reads, in part. “Now is the time for State Scientists to use our collective power and stand together in solidarity.”

SEIU Local 1000, the largest state worker union, planned a one-day walkout in 2016. But the strike was canceled at the last minute when the union and then-Gov. Jerry Brown returned to the table and hammered out a deal.

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