The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 16, 2010
CASE: Labor picture grim, legal picture unclear for members

The board of California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment painted a bleak labor picture in an e-mail sent to its 3,700 or so members last week.

It also updated the status of key furlough litigation involving constitutional department employees, the union's State Compensation Insurance Fund members and so-called "special fund" departments. The punchline for all of that litigation: The implications from last month's state Supreme Court furlough decision are still rippling through the court system, and its impact isn't yet clear.

Regarding contract talks, CASE told members that it's highly unlikely that a deal can be done with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even if it happened, the Legislature's schedule and the ratification process would delay any new terms taking effect for several months.

Then there's this grim analysis:

It is also true that the State is using the professionalism of our members against us. The vast majority of our members have continued to perform their work admirably despite decreasing pay and increasing caseloads. It has not gone unnoticed by the State that it can continue to underpay its legal professionals, and then furlough them on top of the already low salary, and still get superior legal services at a tremendous discount. Unfortunately, Unit 2 members work for an employer that 1) is fiscally dysfunctional, 2) is effectively bankrupt, and 3) does not appreciate the valuable work Unit 2 members do on behalf of the People of the State of California.

Whether constitutional department employees are subject to furlough "remains unclear," the CASE board said, because of the state Supreme Court's Oct. 4 furlough decision "and the additional budget cuts imposed against the departments of the constitutional officers ..."

The State Fund furlough appeal, which the state Supreme Court took up briefly while it was considering several other cases, has been sent back to the 1st District Court of Appeal for reconsideration in light of the high court's furlough decision.

And the 1st District has asked for more briefing in the "special fund" case, taking into account the state Supreme Court's furlough ruling.

None of the cases have a date set for oral arguments.

Click here to read the CASE board's Nov. 12 letter to members.

Hat tip to blog user M for shooting this to The State Worker.

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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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