The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 30, 2008
The State Worker year in review: State worker wars

081229 arm wrestling.gifCalifornia's civil servants fought a lot of battles in 2008.

In the five months since The State Worker blog and column debut, we've seen something we didn't expect: state-worker-on-state-worker flaming.

Here's a small piece of comment thread that followed a recent post about possible union actions to thwart Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan for furloughs and layoffs:

Dec 23 View the SEIU, PECG and CAPS furlough/layoff filings

runningfool wrote on 12/23/2008 01:33:19 PM:

I am a state worker, and I stand by my employer's actions!

flowNredhead wrote on 12/23/2008 02:55:42 PM:

You must be in management!

That's fairly calm compared to some of the rough-and-tumble exchanges on this blog. But it succinctly reveals the kind of division typical to large bureaucracies, both public and private, that separate people into departments, agencies, flowchart boxes, classes, pods, pay scales, management classifications, staff classifications, hourly wages, salary, bargaining units and exempt.

Some of state employee clashes in 2008 were obvious; others were subtle. Some were on public display; others were almost invisible to outsiders.

Here's our hasty list of state worker wars. The order of the entries and the order of the combatants shouldn't be construed as this blog taking sides.

Union activists vs. "fare share" workers.
State workers in Sacramento vs. state workers outside of Sacramento
Staff vs. management
Management vs. staff.
Sworn law enforcement in CSLEA vs. non-sworn employees in CSLEA.
State WORKERS vs. state peace officers.
Dissenters vs. CCPOA.

No list of state worker battles in 2008 would be complete without mentioning these two skirmishes, even though, technically, state workers were on only one side:

CCPOA vs. Schwarzenegger.
State workers vs. The Sacramento Bee.

What would you add to the list?


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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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