The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 13, 2010
State worker speaks out on Schwarzenegger's pay cut plan

California Department of Social Services employee Jim Reilley sent the following e-mail to The State Worker. We post it here with his permission and the understanding that he speaks for himself, not his employer or any labor organization:

From: Reilley, Jim
Sent: Monday, January 11, 2010
To: Ortiz, Jon - Sacramento
Subject: Furloughs or Pay Cut

Ok, why would we agree to essentially a 10% pay cut & work all days when we can have a 15% pay cut and have 3 days off? Even a kid can do the math on that one.

Arnold thinks the threat of layoffs will motivate this but there are far too many state workers immune from layoffs to get that approved. Also, even vulnerable workers are really mad, teetering on bankruptcy and were literally counting on a full restoration in June 2010. Unlikely they would or even could accept anything other than a 5% cut. They'd be more likely to strike than capitulate to a permanent deal that financially they simply cannot afford.

Finally, even if we agreed to this it would not take effect until the July 2010 pay period essentially meaning we would not see the effect until our August 2010 paycheck. With Arnold leaving in January 2011 we would only have 6 months left before we could negotiate with the new Governor. We would get a WAY better deal from Jerry (assuming he's elected), so why do a deal for 6 months when you can get a way better deal after a short wait?

Unless the Gov lowers it to a TOTAL of 5% pay reduction (divide it up how you want between pay/benefits) the members & likely the legislature also, will never approve any deal.

If they would simply cut the targeted programs/services with the accompanying layoffs, we would not need any furloughs across the board. All of this is because the legislature refuses to cut unsustainable programs that WILL be cut -- only delaying the inevitable at the cost to all State employees. We all pay so that a few thousand jobs that will be cut anyway can be saved for a few more months. WORKERS should be screaming at SEIU to do these cuts and save the majority from this subsidization of doomed workers.

Jim Reilley
CDSS Senior Legal Analyst

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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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