The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 9, 2008
'State WORKERS' vs. 'State Peace Officers'

We've been getting more and more e-mail from state workers complaining about other state workers. It started with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to furlough employees, trim the state's paid holiday calendar and change overtime accrual rules. His statement last week about laying off employees has prompted more state worker-on-state worker e-mail.

Most e-mailers characterize themselves as hard-working state employees who are appalled that they might suffer the same cuts as colleagues who work at glacial speed. Others feel their class/bargaining unit is underpaid as a consequence of others that are overpaid.

And, of course, many state workers argue that money going to outside contractors should go to public employees. Often, they say, contractors are taking away state worker jobs and charging far more for the same work.

This e-mail came our way late last week in response to our Thursday column:


I read your article regarding State Workers in the 12/4/08 paper. I need to point out a fact this fine paper has missed for some time. There is a huge distinctive difference between a "State Worker" and an employee of the State of California that holds a Peace Office status.

Peace Officers have taken all the state wages from hard working state employees for the last six years. I can't think of a State Peace Officer position that requires more than a high school diploma. What they have going for them is UNIONS. They pay into their unions for political activism and it pays off in spades.

I am not trying to come out anti-union. I just want to point out that the rest of us: don't make that kind of wage; haven't seen those kind of raises; have watched our medical and dental benefits erode year after year as the cost goes up; and we too have an issue with continuing to give Peace Officers such a big piece of the pie.

Please Jon, don't let them tell you about risk, ! ! A substantial number of state workers are prison employees, they need an education and experience in their trade to get their jobs and they have seen flat line wages for years. Caltrans employees have a very high rate of risk, frankly, I don't want to repair California's highways. Who really slows for the "Cone Zone"? I could go on and on, but all I am saying, is please distinguish between "State WORKERS" and "State Peace Officers".

Mark Stewart
State Employee

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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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