The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 26, 2009
Blog back: Total losses, tactics, the tentative agreement

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

Aug. 20 CASE files grievance over holiday changes

What I don't understand is I thought I read that in exchange for losing the two holidays that State workers would receive two personal holidays in exchange. Is that still right? When do those personal holidays get posted on the workers leave balances? It still baffles me that taking two holidays and changing them for two personal holidays somehow sames money, anyway.

The state savings from the tradeoff in the contract would have come from no longer paying a holiday premium to covered employees who worked Columbus Day or Lincoln's Birthday. But the administration accomplished the same thing legislatively -- without giving state workers the two floating days off to compensate.

One state worker put it this way, "If you look at it, lawmakers have imposed the concessions in the tentative agreement with none of the protections."

To read the response to this post and to read other blog backs, click the link below.

Aug. 20 Schwarzenegger official responds to pension reform critic

Administration officials saw CalPERS' board candidate J.J. Jelincic's swipe at the governor's public employee pension change plan and contacted The State Worker with a rebuttal, which we posted.

Just more propaganda here, no reporting once again.

This blog is more than a news Web site. It's a forum. We often stand aside and allow others to use the stage. Public employee pensions are a vexing and complex topic where one person's "propaganda" is another's "truth." We say, let the debate continue.

Aug. 21 CASE files grievance over holiday changes

Let's see according to Jon Ortiz a 14% reduction in pay because of the implemented (Forced) furloughs. Now were missing two Holidays, and what's that equal? No more overtime, holiday credits, holiday pay, and according to Jon Ortiz we are at 14%.

Let's see I got a letter from Pers today regarding the new health care premiums, and guess what? They go up again.

Then there is the $1000,00 dollar IOU I got from the FTB for my State tax return, but according to Jon Ortiz. I am fat and only lost 14%.

We recognize that state workers, like many people in this economy, face higher costs and lesser benefits on top of pay reductions. Some of those are difficult to quantify because they vary by individual employee or bargaining unit. But it's fair to say that furloughed state workers have lost more than just 14 percent of their pay. We have never characterized state workers as "fat."

Several comments to this post asked the same question:

It is now well into August and only one union is now addressing this? This is a clear violation of the bargaining agreements. It makes you think that your union leaders are conspiring with Arnold. The unions keep the dues (reduced of course). Have the union leaders reduced their pay? What is there pay? Maybe it is time to remove the union leaders and get some folks in there that know what they are doing. They are slow to react. What we need are leaders with a quick strategy.

Aug. 21 CalPERS board member under investigation

The story on Charles Valdes by Bee investigative reporter Andrew McIntosh -- who is also filling in for us while we're off this week -- provoked anger and worry from commenters on TSW:

The fallout from this will be against the PERS members...our retirement is under attack and this just adds fuel to the fire...not that we had anything to do with it...but we will be the ones hurt in the end...
Few seemed to care about this attitude of entitlement. With this report and the Bee co-sponsoring an upcoming CalPERS Candidate Forum (see, past neglect may be ending. The Bee should investigate each candidate after the Forum and make endorsements. Ideally, the 1.6 million CalPERS members eligible to vote in September elections, should have multiple sources for information: unions, traditional press, bloggers, and various public interest groups.

Comments that followed the story itself were largely like this one (only more harsh):

This guy is misguided, irresponsible, his personal life over many years is a mess and yet he is responsible for making decisions on CalPERS investments. He is easily a target for misguided, and to be personnaly (sic) rewarded for his influence. Out!!!

Aug. 21 Local 1000 launches 'broken promises' campaign

Some comments to The State Worker questioned the value of the union's ad push:

It was a "tentative" agreement. With all fairness to our steroid rage gov. The contract agreement was not set in stone. This is another waste of resources by SEIU. You must prove that the gov was trying to rally the legislature "behind the scenes" in order to say he was acting in bad faith. I say SEIU should keep filing lawsuits that make sense and actually have evidence. The insurance code is an example of great evidence for SCIF employees. SEIU crying and screaming is not going to get anywhere. This is another waste of union dues by SEIU.

This person sees value in what the union is doing, particularly in the courts:

... being authorized for a strike and actually implementing a strike are very different things. Striking is a "nuclear option" which you try to avoid by exercising all other possibilities first, however, the vote DOES put it in your arsenal and the other side knows it.

... as part of that definition in the TA, they are limited to 1/month for 17 months. Doing the math, Feb-Aug we've been saddle (sic) with 16 furlough days. Enacting the contract now would leave just one day even if they were ruled legal. If they're ruled illegal (as the FEDERAL judge did in Maryland), we're all due proper compensation for that time whether you took your furlough days or not because it was mandated to be taken in most departments.

Local 1K has been standing up for us in at least one place--a place where it really counts--the courts.

This user thinks the union should go out on strike:

SEIU save your money, and hit the bricks, your posturing is going nowhere. Do as you promised to your members, and stand up for their rights, and binding contracts.

And this reader has obviously done some future furlough lawsuit victory math:

The Unions need to back off and let the furloughs run their course. It's money in the bank.

46 furlough days
$200 a day
Treble damages
= cash for a new Honda GoldWing.

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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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