The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 21, 2009
SEIU president criticizes SCIF lawsuit win

Yvonne Walker, president of SEIU Local 1000 issued a letter Monday that last week's furlough court win by California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges, and Hearing Officers in State Employment sets a "dangerous tone."

State Compensation Insurance Fund, the agency targeted in the lawsuit, employs about 500 CASE-covered workers directly impacted by the decision. Another 6,000 fund workers are represented by SEIU. The impact of San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter Busch's ruling from the bench on their employment remains murky.

Here's the crux of the matter for SEIU: Its new contract calls for one furlough day per month, retroactive to February. That's a good deal, considering that everyone in state government is taking two, right?

Unless you're a member of the union working at State Fund. Then you're probably asking, "Why should I be in a contract that makes me take off one unpaid day each month when this court decision could mean I shouldn't be taking ANY days off?"

Walker's letter to State Fund employees responds to that question from several angles, but the overriding message is that to win, CASE undercut union representation at State Fund:

SCIF's so-called independence for decisions about furlough signals a dangerous tone and could do long term damage to the civil service protections enjoyed by SCIF employees.
We cannot afford to lose the civil service job protections and contract guarantees that will be lost should SCIF convince a court that they are not a state agency.
If SCIF is not a state agency, then SCIF employees are not state employees and they will loose the protections guaranteed under the entire Local 1000 contract
Other state unions, including CASE, have not been able to get the protections we won in our new contract.

You can read the Walker e-mail to State Fund employees by clicking this link.

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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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