The union last week launched a media blitz, including this ad in The Bee, calling on Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to support the contract his administration negotiated last February with the union. It's also pushing another bill that it hopes will bring the contract to the governor's desk.
You'll recall Local 1000 ratified the package even though it included a mix of gains and losses: certain layoff protections, the loss of two holidays, changes to overtime accrual rules and one furlough day per month for the 95,000 workers covered by the union. The union said the contract would save the state $340 million, or nearly $1 billion if applied across the state workforce.
Then Assembly Republicans scuttled the agreement. That touched off charges by Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker and other union leaders that Schwarzenegger -- who by then was furloughing state workers two days each month -- had double-crossed Local 1000 by failing to push the deal through.
Now the deal is back in the form of Assembly Bill 88, an amended measure now in the Senate's suspense file. Click here for information on the bill.
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Obviously, the union is hoping to push the measure to the governor's desk and force the issue.
"We have to keep trying," said SEIU Local 1000 spokesman Jim Zamora. "(Schwarzenegger's) representatives signed an agreement in February, and we want to see that honored. We spent nine months working on that agreement, and we really want to move this forward.
"First, we want the governor to publicly get behind this and work with us so that our contract will come up with savings he needs," Zamora said.
But will that happen? No, said Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear:
"The contract deal that the governor negotiated in February is dead. The Legislature passed and the governor signed a budget that nullified that contract deal. The budget assumes savings from three furlough days, not one."
Democrats signed off on two budget packages that assumed furloughs. In May, Speaker Karen Bass said she hoped the SEIU deal would pass, but added that Schwarzenegger might need more concessions. She also denounced Republicans for killing the SEIU agreement.
IMAGE: Yvonne Walker / Sacramento Bee