The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 8, 2012
State employees suggest alternatives to Jerry Brown's four-day-workweek furlough plan

The Association of California State Supervisors is running a poll on its website to gauge the popularity of various alternatives to Gov. Jerry Brown's four-day workweek proposal.

The Brown administration has said it will consider alternatives that accomplish the 5 percent cut in employee compensation costs the governor wants in the 2012-13 state budget, so ACSS asked its members for ideas and then used them for the online poll. The options include:

• Reinstituting the Personal Leave Program.
• Going to a one-day-per-month furlough.
• A five-day workweek with 7.5-hour shifts.
• Closing offices at 3 p.m. on Fridays.
• A 5 percent pay cut, working hours not impacted. (0.8 percent picked that option)
• Letting departments design their own savings plans.

Meanwhile, labor leaders are telling The State Worker that employees are all over the map regarding Brown's plan or alternatives to it.

Some are concerned about selling the idea while their bargaining units' contracts remain effective for another year. Others worry that a member vote on a furlough or other concessions would be so close that it would severely damage union solidarity.

Bruce Blanning, executive director of Professional Engineers in California Government, said that union's rank and file -- most of them Caltrans employees -- reject the 5 percent cut altogether, given the state's continued spending to outsource work that state workers could do.

"We polled our members," Blanning said in a recent telephone interview. "There was a strong feeling that if outsourcing continues that they don't even want to talk about a compensation reduction."

Still, Blanning said PECG has met with administration officials to talk about "the mechanics" of a four-day workweek. The administration has said it wants plans in place this month in time for the July 1 start of the next fiscal year.

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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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