The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 3, 2010
Union preps legal challenge to new furloughs; other unions to follow?

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgLook for SEIU Local 1000 attorneys to attack Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest furlough order on Wednesday when they file an amendment to an existing lawsuit now in Alameda Superior Court.

Local 1000 isn't yet going after a temporary restraining order which, if granted, would stop furloughs cold for its members.

During a scheduled hearing on Friday, Local 1000 lawyer Felix De La Torre asked Judge Steven Brick if the union could add complaints about Schwarzenegger's latest furlough order to a lawsuit the union filed in May. That lawsuit was the second to list a number of "special fund" departments that Local 1000 says should be exempt from furlough.

Brick gave the union until Wednesday to file its amendment. Schwarzenegger's side will then have a few days to respond. There's been no hearing date set.

Local 1000 and other unions last year successfully argued that gubernatorial furlough of special fund department employees is illegal.

In March, Alameda Judge Frank Roesch ordered that Schwarzenegger immediately lift furloughs for nearly 70 departments named in the lawsuits, but the governor successfully blocked that order with a filing with the First District Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile, Local 1000 on May 21 filed a second special fund lawsuit in Alameda County court that named 36 more departments that the union contends were illegally furloughed. (Click here to read more about it.)

That's the lawsuit that the union will amend this week to include developments arising from Schwarzenegger's latest furlough executive order. And Brick, not Roesch, is handling the case.

As of Monday night, Local 1000's legal staff was still drafting the amendment.

We hear that other unions may soon join the fight and ask a court for a temporary restraining order to immediately stop this latest round of unpaid days off for state workers. The details are sketchy at this point. We'll post more news on this new furlough fight front as it develops.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

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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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