California's state attorney's union launched its furlough agreement ratification today. While it's 3,700 or so members ponder their vote, several hundred who work at the State Compensation Insurance Fund face a new reality: They're no longer protected from furloughs.
Lawyers representing the state attorneys' union and SEIU Local 1000 employees won several court cases that turned back furloughs and restored lost pay for employees at the self-sustaining fund by relying on a state law that protects them from "staff cutbacks." Nearly 8,000 State Fund workers were wrongly furloughed, the courts said.
This time around, however, things are different.
Local 1000 has already ratified an agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown to accept 12 furlough days over the next 12 months, which includes employees it represents at State Fund. California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment today began an online ratification vote process for a similar furlough deal. Members have until July 16 to vote.
Regardless of the vote's outcome, State Fund attorneys will be hit with furloughs. Lawmakers passed legislation removing the State Fund employee exemption and Brown signed it before CASE tentatively agreed to furloughs last week. When considered with other budget language that gives Brown authority to furlough any workers covered by unions that refuse to negotiate unpaid time off, it means that no one will be spared this time around.
Here's the language in Senate Bill 1006:
(c) Except as provided in subdivisions (d) and (e) for the period from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013, inclusive, and notwithstanding any provision of the Government Code or any other provision of law, the positions funded by the State Compensation Insurance Fund are exempt from any hiring freezes and staff cutbacks otherwise required by law. This subdivision is declaratory of existing law.
(d) Notwithstanding any other law, employees of the fund shall, without limitation, be subject to any and all reductions in state employee compensation imposed by the Legislature on other state employees for the period from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013, inclusive, regardless of the means adopted to effect those reductions.