The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 4, 2011
From the notebook: More about bargaining, furloughs

We never get all of what we learn into a news story like today's report that six employee groups that have resumed the court fight against furloughs -- and this time Gov. Jerry Brown is the defendant. Fortunately, this blog can give users the notes and quotes from the notebook that informed what was published.

Thumbnail image for 110105 Ron Yank.JPGWe spoke with DPA Director Ron Yank on Thursday about the renewed furlough litigation now in Alameda Superior Court. When we finished talking about the lawsuit for purposes of the story, Yank said that he wanted to discuss two other issues: a much-noted statement he made Wednesday during a joint legislative committee hearing and challenges that the uneven application of furloughs have created at the bargaining table.

Here are some highlights:

On his remarks in a Wednesday legislative committee hearing that the Brown administration is offering six state bargaining units without a contract "pretty much the same" deal that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reached with other unions:

"I was accurately quoted, but by that I didn't mean everything is cookie cutter. I was talking about the same overall cost package to the state. We're talking about moving pieces within the same financial parameters."

On how constitutional officers' decisions to exempt their staff from furloughs complicates bargaining:

"We've struggled with this. CSLEA members, for example, have been impacted differently by furloughs depending on (whether they worked for a constitutional officer). Same thing for attorneys in Justice as opposed to somewhere else.

"Should an agreement hit them with more furlough days (than counterparts who have been taking them all along)? You could certainly argue that's fair.

"But it's driving a wedge to propose such a thing. Frankly, if a union proposed it, we'd say no."

On the Schwarzenegger administration's policy of furloughing almost everyone, regardless of department funding source:

"If (this administration) had done furloughs -- and I'm not saying we would have -- we might not have ordered it for employees in constitutional offices, revenue generating departments or special fund departments."

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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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