The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 5, 2012
From the notebook: More about the union furlough agreements

notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe can never get everything we learn into a news story. "From the notebook" posts give you some of the extra details behind the news.

Here are some interview quotes that didn't get into Tuesday's Sacramento Bee story on the SEIU Local 1000 ratification vote on the side-letter furlough deal with Gov. Jerry Brown:

Michael Shires, Pepperdine University political scientist:

On the impact to state workers if Brown's tax measure fails, despite the proposal's emphasis on funding for schools and public safety: "If the initiative fails, there will be a long conversation where the money is really going to come from. ... The next budget will run into the next election cycle, I doubt the Legislature will be excited about cutting schools and saving state employees."

On other issues of concern to labor, including measures on the November ballot: "Right now labor is neverous abour the fall elections. You've got paycheck protection. There's the tax proposals. There's pension legislation. There are a lot of things in the air that can hurt them."

Todd Haggerty, fiscal policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures:

On why it's difficult to know exactly how many state's currently furlough their employees: "In many cases furloughs have been rolled forward in budget legislation year after year. Some agencies and departments with states are furloughing employees to meet their individual budget targets."

Robert Louis Brown, state worker and SEIU activist:

On the side letter ratification process: "If you do a ratification vote and don't have a transparent process, and the vote was last Wednesday, and it takes you four days to count the vote, and you won't release how many people voted, how can I trust the process?"

On whether the one-day vote suppressed turnout: "If you don't enforce your contract, the members say why vote? You want people to pay their dues, you have to make the process more transparent."

On the union's bargaining to ax retired annuitants and students during the 12-month furlough period: "Why would I support a union that is asking for RAs to lose their jobs? Many of these people previously paid dues. And students. Why would you ask for them to get cut. They could possibly be future dues-paying members."

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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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