The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 19, 2008
Blog back: Concessions, time off and state worker haters

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

Dec. 12 From the notebook: Supervisors association president talks about layoffs, budget

How are some of the 10,000 who were laid off in July doing? Let's hear their stories.

We're working on it.

Dec. 16 Redding lays off public employees

A potential problem is the employee unions agree to concessions and then the state/county/city proceeds to lay employees off anyway. Similar to Bank of America taking bailout money and laying its own employees off. I'm afraid the rank and file working public employee has little faith or trust in its respective government leadership. Private sector employees probably feel about the same.

A cogent take that draws an apt comparison.

Dec. 16 SEIU slams Republican budget plan

SEIU issued a propaganda piece with conclusions tilted towards its desired outcome. It never met a cut that it could really live with. During these severe fiscal times what is SEIU 1000 doing to cut its internal expenses so that it can cut dues to its members and fee payers?

We give credit to Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker for stating publicly that fixing the state's budget mess will require both spending cuts and tax increases. (You can read her remarks by clicking here.) Sometimes leadership means telling people what they don't want to hear. We think Walker did that.

But make no mistake: Unions don't exist to serve everyone's interests. They exist to serve their members' interests. It's not Walker's job to solve the state's financial crisis.

We e-mailed the union to ask about its dues and fair-share fees. As of this writing, we've not heard back.

The SEIU and Dems are basically lovers. Why is this news?

SEIU represents more California state employees than any other organizatiion. We hope that at least a few of those folks regularly visit this blog.

Dec. 17 Furlough letter a hoax, DPA director says

**********BREAKING NEWS: COPY OF HOAX LETTER PUBLISHED********************* Dear state worker: This is formal notice that you are now on unpaid furlough and have had your salary cut by 50%, BUT the good news is you have won the Nigerian Lottery and we have another position available for you. Please provide your SSN, photo ID, bank account number, and date of birth so we can appoint you as Office Chief of Caltrans Division of Staff Development and Workforce Planning. Plus we need you to send us $2,000 US to ship the treasure chest of money and cover the cost of your mandatory lobotomy. Signed, Dave Gilb, Director DPA

Thanks, "Dave."

Dec. 17 State employees get informal time off for the holidays

why (sic) does the bee find it necessary to constantly dump on State employees? Do we really live in a town that considers this news? Perhaps the bee should start publishing the amount of bonuses given to their lame journalists to see where our subscription dollars are being spent.

We didn't consider this post as "dumping" on state workers. It's information. The interpretation of that information rests with readers.

Our take: We see no reason for state workers to feel defensive about the holiday ITO. The state is not in a financial mess because state workers take a few hours off during the holidays for last-minute shopping or to spend extra time with family. Small employer gestures like this -- particularly in stressful times -- can actually make employees more appreciative and productive.

And withholding the ITO, which we understand has been a tradition, would probably have the opposite effect on morale and productivity,

Jon, this column needs a new tag line..."The State Worker"..."Chronicling The Civil-Service Bashing Of California State Workers"'s a tad bit more in line with what actually occurs....any true dialog is lost in the anger and hostility of the general public who think this is their "safe haven" to say things about State Workers they don't have the intestinal fortitude to say face to face...

We plan to address this troubling phenomenon in our next Thursday column.

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

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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