The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 9, 2010
Schwarzenegger argues CCPOA furlough lawsuit win invalid

An attorney for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that the California Supreme Court's Oct. 4 furlough decision has invalidated a lower court's furlough lawsuit ruling in favor of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

David Tyra, the administration's lead furlough lawsuit lawyer, argued in papers filed on Monday that the high court's decision settles all of the issues raised in CCPOA v. Schwarzenegger, et al..

CCPOA successfully argued to Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch that "self-directed" furloughs of prison staff and other state workers at 24/7 facilities violated labor law that stipulates compensation must be paid within a given pay cycle. The union maintained the policy is illegal because workers under self-directed furloughs may lose their pay but not take the time off for weeks, months or years.

The law also requires payment rendered in cash, but unredeemed furlough time after June 2012 would have no value, and that was illegal too, CCPOA said. After losing the case and appealing Roesch's ruling to San Francisco's 1st District Court, the administration extended the furlough redemption time indefinitely. It also said that furloughs violated provisions of the Labor Code.

Three days after the state Supreme Court issued its decision that the Legislature tacitly approved Schwarzenegger's furloughs through language tucked into a February 2009 budget bill, the 1st District Court asked the administration and CCPOA to submit arguments on how the Supreme Court's ruling impacted CCPOA v. Schwarzenegger.

Tyra filed his 15-page letter on Monday. His argument, in sum: The Supreme Court said that the Legislature OK'd the governor's furloughs as they existed, making all of CCPOA's arguments moot. The Labor Code argument doesn't hold up, either, because that law doesn't apply to state employers and employees.

The union has until Nov. 19 to respond. The governor may file a reply brief no later than Nov. 30. The court hasn't set a date for oral arguments.

Click here to read the Tyra brief. He also filed a brief in the 1st District Court for Service Employees International Union Local 1000 et al. v. Schwarzenegger et al., which concerns the legality of furloughing "special fund" department employees. We'll have that posted this afternoon, so check back.

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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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