The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 14, 2012
Two California agencies extend furlough back pay to all staff

Thumbnail image for 120214 Cal PIA logo.JPGThe California Prison Industry Authority and the First 5 California Commission will pay furlough back wages to all their employees.

The decision extends the terms of recent court settlements with two unions to excluded workers and other employees -- except the PIA's top executive and state engineers and scientists whose labor groups are pressing furlough litigation.

It's not yet clear when the State Controller's Office will issue the checks or exactly how many current and former employees will receive money. The payments won't affect the state's general fund budget since both agencies are fiscally independent of it.

The PIA employs about 570 workers who run inmate training programs. Officials figure the back pay will cost about $7.9 million of the $8.6 million the PIA set aside last year in anticipation of a settlement. (The payments won't include the interest that authority officials anticipated when they allocated the money.)

The agency doesn't yet have a specific count for how many people will receive back pay, spokesman Eric Reslock said, since some furloughed staff have since retired or left for other jobs and some current employees started work at the agency after furloughs ended last spring.

First 5 employs 35 staff. Spokeswoman Susan Hyman said that 50 current and former employees will receive payments. The agency, which administers services for children up to age 5, hasn't yet estimated what the furlough back pay will cost.

A few PIA workers are excluded from the deal. The authority's board will need to approve back pay for General Manager Charles Pattillo, Reslock said. A handful of staff represented by California Professional Engineers in California Government or California Association of Professional Scientists won't get the back pay, either, because their unions are pressing furlough litigation.

First 5 and the PIA are two of five so-called "off-budget" state agencies that recently settled furlough litigation with SEIU Local 1000 and California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment.

The settlements obligate the PIA, First 5, the California Earthquake Authority, the California Housing Finance Agency and the California State Lottery to pay back wages only to staff covered by the two unions. In exchange, Local 1000 and CASE have dropped their furlough lawsuits against the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has left it up to the five off-budget agencies whether to extend back wage payments to non-union workers. The State Worker has left messages with officials at the other three to find out whether they intend to pay back wages to all their employees.

PHOTO CREDIT: Image courtesy of California Prison Industry Authority.

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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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