The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 28, 2009
CASE tells its members to work on Columbus Day

With the Columbus Day showdown between state workers and the Schwarzenegger administration looming, the union representing state attorneys last week said its employees should go to work on Oct. 12.

State employee unions contend that Columbus Day is still a paid holiday because the contract that eliminated it and Lincoln's Birthday in exchange for two personal holidays was never ratified by the Legislature. But the administration disagrees -- noting that a law passed as part of the budget deal last February eliminated the two days -- and is warning workers to show up or be docked pay and face disciplinary action for being AWOL.

SEIU Local 1000 leadership is urging the 95,000 members to stay home two Mondays from now.

But leadership of California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges, and Hearing Officers in State Employment say its members should work until a lawsuit it filed over the matter is adjudicated.

Here is the text of the CASE missive to its members:

September 25, 2009

Dear Bargaining Unit 2 Colleague:

As you know, CASE has filed a lawsuit in the San Francisco Superior Court challenging the State's violation of our MOU by unilaterally eliminating the Columbus Day and Lincoln's Birthday holidays. On Tuesday, CASE sought an expedited hearing date, in the hope that the court would rule on our petition prior to the upcoming Columbus Day holiday. The Department of Personnel Administration opposed our request. At the hearing, the court was not persuaded by the fact most departments did not begin noticing CASE until very recently that they actually planned to rely upon the unconstitutional legislation to violate our MOU, or the fact that CASE attempted in good faith to exhaust administrative remedies via the grievance process. Unfortunately, the court denied our request to issue an order shortening time.

Given this development, it is unlikely that we will have a final ruling prior to the upcoming Columbus Day holiday. At this time, all members of Bargaining Unit 2 are obligated to follow the orders issued by the Department of Personnel Administration, and report to work on Monday, October 12, 2009.

Please know that CASE will continue to press for a hearing on the merits of our petition at the earliest possible time. We will also seek holiday credits for all Unit 2 members who are forced to work on the Columbus Day holiday in violation of our MOU.

CASE will keep its members informed via e-mail and by posting news on our website as additional information becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any specific questions, please direct them to info@calattorneys.org.

As always, your support of CASE and your colleagues in Bargaining Unit 2 is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

The CASE Board of Directors

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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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