The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 1, 2010
UPDATED: California Supreme Court to issue furlough ruling Monday

The California Supreme Court has just announced that it will publish its decision in the state worker furlough matter, Professional Engineers in California Government, et al. v. Schwarzenegger, et al. on Monday at 10 a.m. There's no tip in the announcement what the court has decided.

The ruling will affect more than 200,000 state employees forced to take unpaid days off by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger since February 2009. State workers absorbed 46 furlough days through June 30 of this year, cutting approximately $3 billion from state payroll costs. About half of that was general fund savings.

In August, after state budget talks deadlocked, Schwarzenegger restarted the "Furlough Friday" policy, which closes the government the second, third and fourth Fridays of the month until a 2010-11 budget deal is done.

SEIU Local 1000, which represents 95,000 state employees and unions for state attorneys and state engineers all sued the governor over the order nearly two years ago and lost in Sacramento Superior Court. The state Supreme Court last summer decided to take the three cases as one and ordered a quick schedule that culminated in a Sept. 8 hearing in San Francisco.

The court had 90 days after the hearing to render its decision, but legal experts figured a ruling would come much sooner, given the high-profile nature of the case and its potential impact on the state's budget.

There are roughly 40 furlough lawsuits in various lower courts around the state, but legal experts say Monday's ruling could settle them.

The state Supreme Court also took a fourth furlough case involving employees at the State Compensation Insurance Fund. It hasn't yet been scheduled for a hearing.

Click here to read the California Supreme Court's notice.

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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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