The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 8, 2008
More public employee union concessions on the way?

Is this a trend in the making?

First, from the Los Angeles Times:

Hoping to avoid layoffs amid a steep downturn in tax revenue, the largest union for government employees in Orange County proposed Friday that workers take unpaid time off during the holidays -- a move one union official said could save the county as much as $20 million.

Nick Berardino, general manager of the Orange County Employees Assn., which represents a majority of the county's more than 17,000 workers, called on employees to take one to five days off without pay between Dec. 22 and Jan. 4.

Berardino made the proposal one day after county officials told him they were considering laying off 124 workers from the Social Services Agency in what could be the first in a series of job reductions. His proposal called for all county workers -- ranging from librarians to sheriff's deputies to road repair crews -- to stay home without pay.

A few days ago we noted in this post that SEIU in Redding has reportedly accepted retiree health benefits concessions for city employees.

And we'll blog later today (after we get into the office) on our interview with SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker, who spoke to us on Friday for the state worker layoff news story in today's Bee. Walker called for considered compromise during our conversation, and said that the state will have to both raise taxes and make cuts to balance the budget.

We should note that employee payroll and benefits usually make up a much larger chunk of a city or county budget than they do for the State of California. But with that said, what role, if any, do you think state employee unions should play in resolving the budget crisis?

Click here to read the Times piece.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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