The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 10, 2009
Blog back: Furloughs, fighting and fair terms

Blog backs review your thoughtful and provocative online comments, amplify points, answer questions, correct our mistakes and humbly accept your warranted criticism.

April 8 Read Schwarzenegger team's argument in CASE / SCIF lawsuit

Quit bifurcating and create one state worker union. This will put the power in the members' hands again. ... I think we are being misrepresented and treated unequally. We are all public servants and deserve a unified representation.

Many state workers see it exactly the opposite. Just ask Peace Officers of California (wants to dump CSLEA), Environmental & Transportation Professionals in California Government (wants to leave SEIU), or folks leading the Local 1000 decertification push in Bargaining Unit 21.

April 8 More from constitutional offices about furlough policy

The povernator (sic) isn't furloughing state peace officers (CHP), he's furloughing the pathetic prison guards (CCPOA) who's (sic) union has given unions a bad name by turning their bargaining strength into strong arm tactics not unlike the Mafia ...

CAHP, which represents the state's Highway Patrol Officers, has a five-year contract that doesn't expire until next year. Furloughing them would require reopening the contract. CCPOA doesn't have a contract.

April 9 From the notebook: Constitutional furlough fight edition

So what happens when the SEIU contract gets signed by the Governor? The SCO's employees haven't been taking their furloughs and will owe the State at least six days (2 in Feb., 2 in Mar., 2 in Apl) and if the Governor doesn't sign the contract until AFTER May 19th, which I suspect he won't, they will owe another 2 days. That's over a week of furlough pay that needs to be paid in order to bring them in line with the rest of SEIU members who have been furloughing since February. The SCO and other constitutionals are hurting, not helping their employees by holding out on implementing the furloughs.

We've heard that some constitutional offices are considering a plan that would extend once-a-month furloughs past the June 2010 date to satisfy the SEIU contract's call for employee pay to be reduced the equivalent of 17 days in 17 months. And the Schwarzenegger administration has said that SEIU-covered workers who haven't taken a furlough day yet could catch up by taking two per month.

... one must ask "what was SEIU thinking?" Look, the legality of the furlough is in question. You have fighting within State service about whether to implement them and YOUR UNION that YOU pay 1.5% of your salary to represent YOU makes a deal with Arnold to cut your pay! Huh?

... Why isn't SEIU fighting the furlough?

One of the ironies in this unfolding drama has been SEIU's acceptance of a contract that includes a furlough day while at the same time pressing a court case that the governor's furlough is illegal. Shortly after Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette ruled that the governor's emergency powers include furloughs, the union settled. We took those two events in tandem as a measure of the union's assessment of the likelihood of winning the furlough fight on appeal.

We'll report back on what SEIU has to say about its furlough lawsuit, now with the 3rd District Court of Appeals.

April 9 Billwatch: Read the latest analysis of the SEIU Local 1000 contract

This post elicited two distinctly different takes on state employee overtime changes:

theprovision (sic) mentioned in this article is part of a bill (SBX3 8) which states that one does count any leave in computing overtime. This is a common sense approach as it really matches federal law in regards to overtime pay. Overtime should be based on hours worked. It is not appropriate for someone to call in sick during the work week or take a vacation day then come back to work and either cover a shift or work additional hours and assume that a person will get paid overtiime because one is claiming leave credits. Getting state costs down will benefit both the employees and the tax payer in the long run.
This is not what my contract reads. There for (sic) it means nothing to me ...

I would have to say it looks like breach of an employee contract to me. All you State employee bloggers read your contract, and let me no where it says you no longer get compensated for overtime and holiday pay if you use other time. This is one of the reasons I have always been on annual leave just for this very reason.The GAS has an approval rating lower than the BUSHY it might be time for TOTAL RECALL!

For the record, President George W. Bush's approval ratings fell below 30 percent toward the end of his administration, depending on the poll. Schwarzenegger's approval rating in March was 32 percent.

April 9 The State Worker: Furlough fight enters new phase

SEIU will claim they protected you all from layoffs and THAT was why they signed a contract that casts in stone that you will be subject to furlough. Meanwhile, for 15,000 of you anyway, your employer is still fighting the furlough.

WHAT... The Union agreed to the furlough but the employer is still fighting the furlough ... Anybody else see the irony here???

People, you are all missing the fact that when a contract is expired the employees can decertify the incumbent Union!! Within days of Unit 21 filing a valid petition SEIU settled for this garbage contract by agreeing to all Arnold really wanted in the first place, a one day furlough. The 2-day demand was cooked up while at the SEIU table to it could look like SEIU saved the day by agreeing to JUST 1 DAY. What a victory!!

BTW just how many layoffs has that SEIU job prevented exactly? Haven't heard of any layoffs... BECAUSE THERE HAVEN'T BEEN ANY!!!

We'll skip commenting on the speculation that the BU 21 severance move prodded Local 1000 to accept a contract with concessions. As to layoffs, the SROA notices are still in effect and layoff plans are very much alive, the Schwarzenegger administration has told us. The process takes at least 120 days from the date the layoff warnings go out.

The administration sent out 20,000 warnings on Feb. 17. The 120th day from that date is June 17.

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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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