The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 23, 2010
State worker responds to call for union concessions

As is always the case when we highlight state worker e-mails, this post by Paul Warrick generated plenty of comments. Another state worker, Roger Wood, felt compelled to respond to Warrick's call for SEIU Local 1000 "to make highly publicized concessions to demonstrate a good faith effort to be part of the solution to California's deficit crisis."

With Wood's permission, we're posting his e-mail to The State Worker here, unedited. He speaks for himself, not his employer or this blog:

Mr. Ortiz,

As a manager who works in the Unemployment Insurance system, I find Mr. Warrick's comments ill-informed. All the furlough has done for our employees is to make their lives harder. We are still working 5-6 days a week as we have "self-directed" furloughs so our centers are still open the same hours as they were prior to the furloughs being implemented. Were we to be closed 3 days a month and also not allowed to work Saturdays, this could easily result in a 15% reduction in the benefits paid out to the public. We paid out $20.3 billion in benefits in 2009. A 15% reduction of over $3 billion would have helped no one and would have hurt families who depend on the monies to survive and local businesses who depend on people being able to buy goods and landlords who depend on people paying rent. In addition, our budget is almost exclusively federally funded which means our furloughs have saved the state almost nothing. In addition other state agencies which collect revenues have had to cut back on their work. When staff use their furlough days in addition to whatever time they have scheduled off, it simply means that less work can get done, meaning even less checks get sent out to the needy.

I may not have expressed myself perfectly, but I hope you understand what I am trying to say. If the staff ever gets tired and stops working overtime on Saturdays and holidays, the public is really going to be hurting. Cutting our salaries to balance the budget is not the answer. We already have enough of a problem hiring qualified people and keeping them from leaving for private employers or better paying other state jobs. A salary cut would only exacerbate the problem.

Roger WOOD

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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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