The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 5, 2009
UPDATED: SEIU Local 1000: Don't furlough our State Fund members

SEIU Local 1000 wants its represented workers at State Compensation Insurance Fund immediately excluded from twice-monthly furloughs.

A letter making the request to State Fund from union local President Yvonne Walker contrasts with an e-mail she sent to members in April. At that time, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter Busch had just ruled from the bench that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger illegally furloughed the 500 State Fund members of the state legal professionals union, CASE.

"(State Fund'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 (State Fund) employees," Walker said in the April e-mail to members.

SEIU did not participate in the CASE lawsuit against State Fund.

Now Walker wants fund President Jan Frank to restore full hours and pay to the 5,000 or so SEIU-covered employees at the fund based on the CASE lawsuit, which, she says, didn't include SEIU workers because of "a legal technicality."

"Local 1000 attorneys are preparing to file an action against State Fund and the Governor to compel State Fund to comply with the court's judgment should State Fund fail to take immediate action to apply the judgment to employees represented by SEIU Local 1000. I hope that State Fund will take action rendering these steps unnecessary and thereby avoid the time and expense of additional litigation on this subject."

You can read Walker's letter to Frank by clicking here.

It seems unlikely that SEIU folks at State Fund will get furlough relief with just a letter.

CASE members won their lawsuit, but still had to wait weeks for a formal judgment from Busch before the Controller's Office would recalculate their payroll. And now, with that out of the way, the fund's "legal team is reviewing the order and working with DPA the Controller's Office" to apply the ruling, said State Fund spokeswoman Jennifer Vargen.

A couple of other issues: We've asked the Controller's Office to confirm that yesterday's judgment means that those CASE employees directly impacted by the ruling will get full pay for June. (Click here for a primer on figuring out the state's payroll change submission deadlines.) From what we can tell, it shouldn't be a problem, but we're checking just to be sure.

And how will the fund will make up the lost hours and pay to CASE members? Stay tuned. The lawyers are figuring it out.

UPDATE 5:17 P.M.: State Controller's Office spokesman Jacob Roper sent an e-mail reply to our question about whether CASE-covered workers at SEIU will see their checks restored to full pay this month:

Jon -- Our legal counsel has just received the ruling and is currently in the process of reviewing it. We plan to work with all parties involved in the case to implement the judge's order. Jacob

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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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