The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 28, 2010
Pay appropriation bill dead; Schwarzenegger on withholding wages

A couple of items we thought State Worker blog users would want to know about:

AB 1125, the bill that would have made funding for state worker payroll a continuous appropriation, has died in committee. It's defeat leaves open the possibility that state workers' wages could be withheld to the federal minimum if lawmakers fail to pass a budget by the June 30 end of the fiscal year.

Click here to read more about the issue. We hear the plan could pop up again soon in another bill.

Click the following link to read what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said when asked about withholding state worker pay to the federal minimum.

Schwarzenegger talked about withholding state workers' pay during his visit with the Sacramento Press Club on Monday. Here's what he said:

QUESTION: Nannette Miranda with KABC-TV in Los Angeles. Given how slow things work at the Capitol and given that you had a court ruling that said you could do it last year, do you think it's a possibility that you would order pay cuts for state workers to the minimum wage if the budget is late?

GOVERNOR: Well, as you know, we are negotiating with labor and we will do everything that we can with those furlough days. As you could see, there are court cases that we win and there are some every so often that we lose. That's the way it goes. But the bottom line is that we have the authority to call for the furlough days and to live within our means and to make certain cuts.

And we are not asking -- I think the key thing also here is this is not like I have read that we are going after labor. We are not at all going after labor. It's just that when you want to make cuts if affects so many times people that are part of labor. So that's what happens. So if you talk about in-home supportive services, if you talk about education reform, if you talk about pension reform, if you do furloughs, if you do, you know, making cuts, salary cuts, which we proposed in our budget -- then all of this will affect the workers that are part of labor.

But it's not us being against labor. We very much appreciate what the state workers do. But in the private sector there are certain kind of changes that had to be made within companies. We have just heard today Wal-Mart is laying off 11,000 or some people because of the limited activities, economic activities.

So everyone has to look at the situation and just make changes. And that's all we are trying to do, is try to live within our means. When you have a year like last year, where we all of a sudden had a $60 billion hole and then the following year, this year, $20 billion hole, you've got to somehow fill those things. You've got to go and deal with this reality.

So what we are doing is just trying to live within our means. And we hope and ask the state workers to be with us on that and to let them know we appreciate their work but we all have to cut back and make certain sacrifices.

QUESTION: Governor?

QUESTION: (Inaudible) wage options?

GOVERNOR: We are looking at all -- we are right now, like I said, we are starting to negotiate with them. So all of those things are options. But you know, what we have proposed in the budget is what we are trying to do.

Click here to read the entire transcript.

Thanks to Bee Capitol Bureau colleague Torey Van Oot, the hardworking head of our cousin blog, Capitol Alert, for flagging this.

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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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