The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 31, 2012
Furlough lawsuit deal affects only SEIU workers, drops further litigation

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpg

Correction, 2:57 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the Office of Administrative Hearings is one of the five departments included in the SEIU settlement.

Roughly 700 state workers covered by SEIU Local 1000 will receive back wages from an furlough lawsuit agreement between the union and Gov. Jerry Brown's administration.

The deal, which we first reported this afternoon, also dumps four much larger furlough lawsuits the union was pressing in Northern California trial courts.

Only Local 1000 employees at First 5 California, the Prison Industry Authority, the California Earthquake Authority, the California Housing Finance Agency and the California State Lottery will receive back pay without interest for days that they were forced to take off without pay in 2009 and 2010. State workers represented by other bargaining units and managers in those organizations aren't part of the settlement, said Lynelle Jolley, spokeswoman for the state Department of Personnel Administration.

The agreement is a good deal for the state on two fronts:

• It costs taxpayers nothing, since all five departments are completely self-funded -- which was the basis of the argument that their employees shouldn't have been put on furlough in the first place.

• SEIU also agreed to drop four other furlough lawsuits pending in Alameda, Sacramento and San Francisco courts, Jolley said. Those lawsuits had the potential to cost the state tens of millions of dollars in back wages and interest for roughly 80,000 of the 95,000 workers the local represents. The litigation argued that for a variety of reasons furlough policy itself was illegal, not merely its application to a select departments.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

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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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