The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 13, 2012
A.M. Reading: CA contract talks; OK: six years, no raises; SD bonuses; MT health clinic for state workers

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifState employee unions aren't counting on generous contracts from Democrat Jerry Brown
Contract talks kicking off this month between the state and four employee unions present Gov. Jerry Brown with a political dilemma: How does he deal fairly with his key labor constituency without exposing himself to charges he's kowtowing to them? (Sacramento Bee)

California's mobile hospitals are running out of money and time
In a cool, 18,000-square-foot warehouse tucked in an industrial Sacramento-area neighborhood sits millions of dollars in equipment California leaders hope never to use. (Sacramento Bee)

While GOP leaders call for smaller government, Okla. state workers near 6 years since pay hike
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Jess Callahan, a state social worker who helps provide services to the elderly, blind and disabled in Choctaw County, hasn't seen a pay raise since 2006, and he's not alone. (AP/ The Republic)

In Wisconsin, assessing a new labor law's impact
RACINE, Wisconsin -- James Ladwig recently took over the job of Racine County executive. He was sworn in last April, not long after Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a controversial bill curtailing the bargaining rights of state and local workers. So with the new job, Ladwig got a new set of rules for governing his county. (Stateline)

NY: Unions knock Cuomo's proposals
ALBANY -- The music in the television ad thumps and carries an ominous tone. The announcer bellows: "It's time for frank talk about the proposed New York state executive budget. The truth is, what you don't know can hurt you." The ad from the Civil Service Employees Association, the state's largest public-employees union, released Feb. 3 rails against Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal. It claims the budget would erode jobs and decimate the middle class. (lohud.com)

CA: Provocative Pamphlet Printed at State Printer
Ironically, on the night that much of the state's gay and lesbian population was cheering Proposition 8's gay marriage ban being ruled unconstitutional, state workers were sounding the alarm about something they say marginalizes the gay community with its crassness. It was a print order. (FOX40 News)

NH: New Hampshire considers perfume ban for state employees
New Hampshire state employees might soon be prohibited from wearing perfume or other scented products if they work with the public. (Boston Globe)

One year later
It's been one year since Governor Scott Walker introduced his proposal to eliminate collective bargaining for most public employees and the fallout from the debate continues to have a major impact at the Capitol. ... Even a year later, the debate and political divide remains evident at the Capitol each day. (WRN)

SD state worker bonus ironed out
South Dakota lawmakers are coming closer to a compromise over how to bring some relief to state workers who were subjected to a pay freeze over the last three years. (KTIV)

SD: Worker bonus compromise bill heads to Senate
State workers are on track to get bonuses this spring based on their salaries and how long they have worked for the state. (Rapid City Journal)

PhillyDeals: Office-space speculators make a capital killing
Money's tight for Pennsylvania. But last month, a state agency went to Wall Street and borrowed $107 million to enrich a California hedge fund, a Wall Street bank, and other speculators in a Harrisburg office building. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Column: Press Talk: Looking for that level field
From time to time, I note here the differences between what governmental workers get and what private workers get. My words are intended to create engagement and conversation. But they create angst for some. (The Columbian)

IA: Opinion: Lawmakers should be treated like part-time state workers
The Republicans in the Legislature propose having state employees pay $200 per month for health insurance. As a state employee for over 30 years, I am well aware that my single health plan is paid by the taxpayers. (Des Moines Register)

CO: Guest Commentary: Deferring action on Pinnacol OK
Gov. John Hickenlooper and Pinnacol made the right decision last week in deferring further consideration of plans to restructure Pinnacol. There remains considerable misunderstanding about the future of Pinnacol, the state's government-sponsored insurer for workers' compensation insurance, and there is now time to clear away the fog of confusion surrounding Pinnacol's purpose and future and do the job right. (Denver Post)

HI: Former State Workers Say Governor's Office Was Warned About Alexander
Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office was warned in an email about inappropriate sexual behavior by Marc Alexander shortly after he was appointed homeless coordinator, two people who handled correspondence for the administration told Civil Beat. Alexander resigned "to attend to personal matters" a year later after an activist threatened to make public a woman's allegations against him when he was a Catholic priest. (Civil Beat)

MT: Schweitzer wants health care clinic for state employees
Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Thursday the state is soliciting bids for a new primary health care clinic in Helena, overseen by state government, for state employees and their families to use for doctor visits and prescription drugs. (Helena Independent Record)

MI: State workers spared big cuts
Last February, Ray Holman, legislative liaison for the United Auto Workers 6000, braced himself for bad news during a budget presentation by Gov. Rick Snyder. Massive state employee layoffs. Proposed wage cuts. (Lansing State Journal)

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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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