The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 23, 2009
Blog back: Lingo, lawyers and legislation

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

April 17 Here's how to figure out (sorta) the drop-dead dates for state payroll changesboy_dunce-thumb-122x299-thumb-100x245-thumb-60x147.gif

My God, this is complicated...trying to follow the all the details is making me a little dizzy...
That's how everything is written in the State. I grimace everytime I have to fill out a stupid form and read the instructions for the form. The acronyms in everything kill me. CBID=Collective Bargining Identification. Why don't they just put "Bargining Unit #". Simple, easy to understand. Everything is so darn complicated and confusing.

We re-read the post and realized that we should have dumped the acronyms wherever possible. Reporting on state bureaucracy doesn't obligate us to write bureaucratically. We'll be on guard for this in the future.

April 17 How much furlough fights have cost the state; more about the SCIF lawsuit

I wonder if the state paid Kronick to work full time defending the state from its own lawyers --- who in turn are furloghed (sic) and can't defend the state against other lawsuits full time as part of their normal jobs. Follow that???

We asked DPA if its attorneys are subject to furlough. They are, but like all state employees, they can defer the time off as their work demands.

Last July (2008) 10,000 state workers had their employment terminated. That was the FIRST state employee transaction that GAS took. How soon some forget.

Or is it just more convenient to forget FACTS?

Executive Order S-09-08 didn't cut 10,000 part timers, retired annuitants and intermittent employees, which was the number the administration announced last year. As we reported a few weeks ago, it was more like 6,500. The numbers in this chart indicate that most of those jobs haven't come back.

... This is going to cost us tax payers, all of us ,to include State employees a lot more than $180,000 before it's all said and done.

We'll routinely report how much this package of litigation is costing California. We've also asked several unions how much they've spent. We'll report what they tell us -- or we'll report that they've declined to tell us.

Side note: We're told that some cases could continue beyond Schwarzenegger's term in office. That raises a question: Will the next governor continue to fight these battles?

April 20 SEIU labor contract stuck in Assembly ditch

This State Worker post took more comments than any other this week. Rants aside, the comments ranged from criticism of SEIU members for ratifying a concession-laden deal to analysis of why Republicans aren't quick to back a labor pact negotiated by their party's top official.

So nothing accomplished, and Arnold either is not negotiating in good faith or he is simply unable to reign in his party. Assembly Repub's seem amused to watch the State derail like a train in slow motion. Vote of no confidence in either case! This is bad for all parties involved. Moral and services suffer, as do the people of California whom State employees serve ...
"The motives and nature of the opposition to the bill remain unclear, but what will happen if the bill fails isn't. The union and DPA would have to reopen negotiations."

That's not what Local 1000 said would happen if the members failed to vote for ratification. If ratification failed we would see $6.55 an hour, 2 day furloughs (like we have now), increase out-of-pocket medical (like we have now), layoffs, permanent loss of two holidays (Does anyone think they are coming back?)

I trust my union so you must be misinformed.

There is no doubt that the union and the governor's representatives would have to renegotiate the SEIU deal if AB 964 fails. That's how the process works. Obviously, if Republicans were to kill the bill -- and no one has said to us on the record that's going to happen -- it wouldn't be because GOP lawmakers think the terms of the SEIU deal need to be more generous.

The moves that the governor can make unilaterally -- imposing the federal minimum wage, emergency furloughs -- have been topics of wide speculation and ongoing litigation. We'll just make a couple of points:Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Gavel.jpg

The governor's power to impose the federal minimum wage is tied to White v. Davis. The court said in that case that state workers' pay can be cut in the absence of money appropriated for wages in the state budget. So, when lawmakers deadlocked over the budget last summer, the door opened to temporarily cutting wages.

But now the state has money appropriated for wages through the 2009-10 fiscal year. It was part of the budget deal worked out in February. If the May 19 budget ballot measures fail and lawmakers have to reopen budget talks, will that mean cutting state pay to the federal minimum would be an option? Or would the fact that payroll money is set aside in the 2009-10 budget keep White v. Davis from kicking in?

I new (sic) this was coming, it's simple. The Gov. wants to be able to throw a fit and enforce layoffs and 2 day a month furloughs when he doenst (sic) get his way on the 19th. So he's stalling and so is his loser posse.

Many State Worker blog comments, e-mailers and callers have put forward this same conspiracy theory. We find it difficult to believe. The administration says it wants the deal done, and Democrats we've spoken with stop short of ascribing that level of cynicism to Schwarzenegger. Our assessment, as noted in today's State Worker column: This is business as usual for the Legislature.

April 21 CalSTRS responds to Sunday 'incentive awards' story

... Why a 2nd or 3rd string responded and not their PIO?

Sherry Reser, whose e-mail was the subject of the post, is the top media relations person for CalSTRS. She's not "2nd or 3rd string" for the fund.

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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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