The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 1, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker talks about furlough lawsuit settlement with Jerry Brown

120130 Yvonne Walker 2008.JPGOur report in today's Bee quotes SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker talking about the union's decision to settle its furlough litigation against the state. Here are highlights from her interview with The State Worker:

On working with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown compared with his predecessor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger:

"What a difference a governor makes. ... He actually respects workers and the services we provide Californians."

On the state's furlough policy and Brown's position on it:

"We've said all along the furlough plan was a bad plan. It not only jeopardized working people, but came at a great cost to the state. This governor did the right thing. He looked at it and understood that we had the opportunity to say, 'How do we close out this ugly chapter in the state's history?' "

On how the deal came together:

"The governor's attorneys called and said, 'Can we settle this?' and we said, 'Yes.' "

On arguments that the agreement benefits a relatively small group of SEIU members at the expense of pursuing lawsuits that could benefit the vast majority of union-covered state workers:

"Realistically, those four lawsuits didn't have the potential to do something for everyone. We lost the majority of our cases. Even when your cause is righteous, going to court is a crap shoot."

PHOTO CREDIT: Yvonne Walker speaks at a news conference responding to Gov. Schwarznegger's furlough plan for state workers, Friday Dec. 19, 2008. Sacramento Bee / Brian Baer

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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


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