The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 9, 2009
Blog back: Battles, blunder and bargaining

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

Dec. 30 The State Worker Year in Review: State worker wars

We asked users to add to our list. Here's what you suggested:

RE: taking sides. You forgot State workers versus Contractors. It's Schwarzenegger's ambition to implement Halliburton style outsourcing in California.
So, Jon, I think you need to add one more category: the reality of state employment vs the public perception of state workers.
Please add: Sacramento Bee v. State Workers. This happened when the Bee put up the State Worker salary database for crooks, stalkers, snoops and Bee profit under the guise that this information help flush out waste in government. I am STILL waiting on how this information helps identify government waste. All I see is the Bee making mad profits off of the backs of State Workers.

We covered that last one on our list, but we're OK with underscoring it by blogging back the comment.

Three quick bits of salary database info: (1) The Bee isn't making "mad profits" from the pay database or anything else online. The Internet accounts for about 10 percent to 15 percent of McClatchy revenue. (2) Bee data analyst Phillip Reese tells us that state workers themselves continue to keep the database popular. (3) The Bee plans to update the database with new SCO numbers soon.

Dec. 31 2009-10 budget: Impact on state workers; CPR revived

Looks like Dr. Schwarzenegger has scheduled a minor liposuction for a patient requiring a quadruple bypass.

Jan. 5 Cal-EPA set to close on first and third Fridays

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for boy_dunce.gifJan. 5 Cal-EPA furlough days not set, says spokeswoman

SacBee- credibility is an important thing. BreAnda Northcutt is a PIO for CalEPA and not DPA. Lynelle Jolley is the PIO for DPA. If you can't keep the story straight you shouldn't print it. What other errors might there be in this story?

Ouch. An inexcusable blunder. We made a strike-through correction on the blog so that users could see the error to which this comment referred but also get the correct agency reference. We appreciate sharp-eyed users pointing things like this out. Wish we could say it won't happen again, but we know ourselves too well.

Jan. 5 State attorneys file furlough lawsuit

Um.. Hey Jon, what story? Where is it? Do you really want us to comment on a title to a story? Well.. Ok

Some blog posts, like this one, are little more than one or two sentences with links to other material such as court documents, letters, press releases or news stories. Some posts are short riffs on a subject. Others are longer and closer to a traditional news story.

We're interested in what others think about this: Does our mix of posts serve you well? Are you looking for more analysis? Less? Do you have suggestions for new features or topics you'd like to see in The State Worker blog?

Jan. 6 SEIU offers furlough alternatives

Does anyone believe that this is going to save 100+ million dollars?

#1 might save some money compared to no furloughs, but not nearly as much as the forced furloughs.

#2 Can save money if no one is hired to replace the hired workers, but it will probably increase the states contribution to CalPERS to make up for the increased retirement payments.

#3 would probably increase state costs as they could not even shut down the buildings to save heat when everyone has the same day off.

#4 If employee health care contributions are frozen, then the state would have to make up the difference if premiums go up. They would save money if premiums go down, but what are the chances of that!

I am embarassed to be part of a union that publishes such trash. At least when the administration lies, they make an attempt to make it believable.

A voluntary program to reduce one's pay is not likely to garner many participants, IMHO.

The golden handshake (adding 2yrs to elig. retirees) is a common practice in corporate America, but as we're already short-staffed generally speaking, this will increase workloads and diminish institutional knowledge.

The two holidays are neat switcheroo for the life of the contract. They come back after it expires but it allows the state to defer those non-work days a bit.

Freezing health care contributions is a small ask for the employees but it is something as we will see our paychecks shrink with this year's increase in health costs.

I don't see this as a proposal the state will jump at but it does show that we're willing to negotiate. This isn't "playing dead". It gives up practically nothing. OK, it doesn't gain us much either.

We read the SEIU list and assumed it was intended as a starting point for negotiations.

Jan. 6 State hires firm for furlough lawsuits

How can the "State" hire attornies (sic) when the State's own attornies (sic) (who already represent the "State") have filed a lawsuit stating the furloughs are not legal! Who actually hired these attornies anyway? Who is paying for these attornies? I thought the "State" had no money to pay anyone that it already owes! Since it is the "Governator's" idea, why shouldn't he have to pay for them himself? Why should the taxpayers pay for all this phoney budget nonsense!
cn708652, most likely outside attorneys are necessary because the state attorneys also have a separate lawsuit as they are included in the furloughs.

DPA's attorneys, like all DPA staff, are not members of a union and are excluded from bargaining. They are not members of CASE, the attorney and judges union that is suing the governor.

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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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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