The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 16, 2009
Blog back: Women leaders, worker news, workplace showdown

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

Sept. 23 Whitman assails state workers in gubernatorial bid

The former eBay CEO probably talks more about state workers than any other 2010 gubernatorial hopeful. This post drew more than 170 comments, many disparaging to Whitman. But some comments moved beyond invective to analysis:

It's weird how everytime she speaks she rails against state workers. Honestly, that's kinda of a niche group of people for Californians to hate. I'm suprised she doesn't go after undocumented workers - strike that -"illegal aliens" more often. "Illegal aliens" fomment a lot more rage than bashing a group of people that are mostly made up of white and latino working-class "legals." Weird strategy in my opinion ...

Sept. 24 SCIF president resigns

When department or agency heads depart, blog users will sometimes voice a collective, "Good riddance." Frank's departure elicited a more favorable farewell:

My wife and I are both SCIF employees. Thank you Ms. Frank.
Thank you Ms. Frank for standing up for your employees ...

Some commenters speculated that Frank was forced out of office for ultimately challenging State Fund employee furloughs in court.

I for one believes (sic) that the resignation was a fall-out for not toeing the line of the guvernator. Let's all applaud a great leader in Jan Frank. She stood for her employees even if it means incurring the ire of the powers that be in Sacramento.

Click the link below to read about a concern that Frank's departure raises.


Amid the accolades, a concern:

Many of us are sad to see her go. I agree she was forced out, not doubt about it! Does this mean we don't get our Encore Award??

We've heard that the fund wants to get the award controversy, which we reported here, settled before Frank leaves at the end of this month. Stay tuned.

Sept. 25 News of state worker interest from around the nation

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I can't find the story about New York's Public Employees Federation, either under "Recommended Links" or by clinking on "More State Worker Links." (Am I doing something wrong?)

Nope. We goofed. We failed to post the story on Publish2, the service that this blog uses for linking to news and opinion sources. Click here for the, ahem, missing link. And whenever you see a problem like this, PLEASE, e-mail us right away so that we can address it right away.

Sept. 25 Read the Local 1000 furlough appeal brief

Would it be possible to get the brief filed for Arnold's side and post it here? I'm sure we would all like to read how his expensive legal team plans to defend their position.

We did, eventually, post a response from the governor's side in the appeal, although the brief we put up was a response to CASE's filing. The governor's attorneys had responded to the Local 1000 argument yet. (You can click here for the CASE document.) We'll put up other significant filings in this case as they become available.

Sept. 25 Columbus Day showdown coming to state workplaces

This post prompted more than 300 comments, ranging from anger at Schwarzenegger and the Legislature for pulling a fast one to anger at SEIU for being duped and then calling on members to stick out their necks to prove a point.

I don't trust DPA, but I also don't trust Local 1000. I feel a headache coming on.
So the legislature can amend a contract without agreements? Why go into contract in the first place when a contract can be changed anytime by one party without consent of another party? If a contract is useless, then I guess the State Employee can strike.
I'm tired of both sides...The Union sends emails like this to get us all fired up and pissed off. The DPA isn't following laws they are supposed to protect...
I will be working that day. I will also expect my 1.5 OT pay and another holiday later on. There's no way GAS will win this fight - it's CLEAR that taking away this holiday is breaking the law.

Is it possible that SEIU was right about the law but wrong to call on workers to press the issue? This commenter thinks so:

Dumb action on the part of the union. While many people do not agree with the three-day per month unpaid "furloughs" that all State employees are required to endure (some while still being forced to work 40-hour work weeks each week), I don't think very many people have a huge problem with those workers losing Columbus Day holiday, which not many folks in the private sector get to count as a holiday any way ...

And for a different perspective ...

Great move by the union, I will NOT be working that day nor claim time off on my monthly report. If an action is taken against me I will be forced to file grievance. If everyone does this the Administration will have to take notice. State parks gets reprieve, Family First gets reprieve, State workers don't even get consideration.

Sept. 29 CASE tells its members to work on Columbus Day

SEIU's position on Columbus Day and its call to employees to stay home that day forced some unions to react. And prompted State Worker blog users to react to those reactions:

I don't understand how my union thinks it is my ethical obligation to my employer to come to work when my union tells me the employer's order is a violation of the collective bargaining agreement. I think my union needs to grow a spine and not get punked by GAS and his flunkies at DPA. I too am waiting to hear from CASE whether, in the event SEIU puts up a picket line around the State Building on Columbus Day, they believe I have an ethical obligation to my employer to cross a picket line by fellow unionists who are standing up for their rights. I can say now that I will honor a union picket line.
... I, for one, am happy to see that SIEU has shown it has a spine, and understands that there's a lot more to being a union than filing lawsuits.
Well, I for one have decided to show up for work ie Columubus day but I can promise not much will be accomplished that day. I plan to do very little in the way of work other than to show up! I plan to chat with my co-worker's and enjoy Columbus day while at work. It should be a quiet day, anyhow! I encourgae everyone else to do the same. Show up but don't work!

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



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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