An attorney with SEIU Local 1000 says the union will continue to press litigation against "special fund" furloughs, even though the courts have slimmed down the case to covering employees in just a handful of state departments.
Local 1000 had identified 63 "special fund" departments that it said shouldn't have been included in the Legislature's furlough authorization. The union won that argument in Alameda Superior Court, but San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal in July overturned that ruling. It made exceptions for five departments that it said deserved further argument in the lower court. (For more background, click here.)
SEIU appealed to theCalifornia Supreme Court, which refused take up the matter.
The union said it would keep fighting for its members in those five departments -- First 5 California, the Prison Industry Authority, the California Earthquake Authority, the California Housing Finance Agency and the Office of Administrative Hearings -- even though the remanded case now covers relatively few of its 95,000 employees.
The State Worker caught up with SEIU Local 1000 attorney Felix De La Torre to ask about the status of the case. Is the union still planning to continue the fight? If so, what's the hold up? Here's part of an email De La Torre fowarded to us last week, which is his response to an SEIU member who asked the same question:
When the Supreme Court denied review in late September (affirming the appellate court decision), the case had to be sent back to the trial court for further proceedings. This is known as a remittitur, an action done by the appellate court. Until the appellate court issues its remittitur, the superior court has no jurisdiction to continue the case. In our case, the appellate court only recently issued its remittitur on October 17, 2011. Now that the superior court has the case again, SEIU must wait for it to schedule the next proceeding. In other words, the pace is controlled by the superior court. For its part, SEIU Legal has contacted the superior court clerk to ask about its plans. We are waiting for a reply.
As we said before, as long as there is hope to save one member from the unjust furloughs, SEIU is committed to this fight.