The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 30, 2013
Hearing postponed in Jerry Brown's appeal of furlough lawsuit

130930-Jerry-Brown.jpgA key court hearing in a multimillion-dollar court fight between Gov. Jerry Brown and unions representing California's state engineers and scientists has been taken off the calendar without explanation.

A new date hasn't yet been set for oral arguments, which had been scheduled for Oct. 9 before a panel with the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. The court cancelled the hearing on its own, according to the calendar it maintains on its website:

BY THE COURT: On the court's own motion, oral argument in the above-referenced appeal set for October 9, 2013, is taken off calendar. Counsel will be notified when the matter is set for oral argument.

Brown is appealing an Alameda trial court's ruling that the state owes back pay to roughly 13,000 employees on furlough two days too many and another 250 or so who shouldn't have been furloughed at all. The unions estimate the withheld wages total around $12 million.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown listens at a news conference on May 6, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

September 23, 2013
Hearing date set for Jerry Brown's furlough ruling appeal

Jerry_Brown_HJA3698.JPGWith an estimated $12 million at stake, Gov. Jerry Brown and unions representing California's state scientists and engineers will again debate whether the government owes back wages for wrongly furloughing a combined 13,000 employees.

Professional Engineers in California Government and California Association of Professional Scientists successfully argued last year that Brown in 2011 reduced their members' hours and wages two days longer than authorized by the Legislature.

The unions also persuaded Alameda Superior Court Judge Steven Brick that about 250 of their members shouldn't have been furloughed at all because state law protects their positions.

August 22, 2013
Column extra: Read state worker's furlough back pay lawsuit

Our State Worker column today reports on a furlough lawsuit filed by Kelly Vent, an Alcoholic Beverage Control attorney who works in Sacramento.

Here's Vent's petition to the Sacramento County Superior Court. She will likely amend it to include the Department of Human Resources and the State Personnel Board, she said in a Wednesday email. You can find this document and others related to it via the court's online document viewer using case number 34-2013-80001576.

Kelly Vent Petition for Writ of Mandate

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes, the documents and the observations that inform what's published.

March 14, 2013
Report: California's furloughs driving up leave cash-out costs

130314-mac-taylor-2013-byer.JPGCalifornia paid more than a quarter-billion dollars to cash out state employee leave last year, according to a new state report, in part because furloughed state workers haven't been taking as much paid time off.

STATE PAY DATABASE UPDATE: The Sacramento Bee state pay database now includes 2012 civil service pay

The report from the office of Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor says employee leave cash outs cost $270 million in 2011-12 and concludes that the liability in future years is so heavy that lawmakers should consider a leave-buyback program rather than carry the time on the books. The Legislative Analyst's Office also suggests the state impose a "use-it-or-lose-it" policy on future leave accruals and clamp down on enforcing the state's leave cap, which some departments have routinely ignored.

Furloughs have cut the state's employee payroll costs by about $5 billion since fiscal 2008-09 when former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers imposed them, but the savings are less, the analyst says, because employees have taken less paid leave.

Those hours, in turn, stack up in employees' leave banks. Since unused time is cashed out at a worker's final pay rate when he or she leaves state service leave balances gain value to an employee -- and costs the state more -- with every raise or promotion.

"Probably nearly $1 billion of these furlough savings was not long-term savings," the LAO concludes. "Instead, the state must pay this money as they retire or otherwise leave state service."

The state's employee-leave balance tab hit $3.9 billion in June 2012, according to the analyst.

The state caps accrued leave at 640 hours for most of its employees, but more than 23,700 of them -- roughly 10 percent of the state workforce -- had more that that much time banked in January. Furloughs contributed to those blown leave caps: State workers' average leave balance grew by 16 days between 2008 and 2012.

Furloughs also affected state operations. Employees' average allowed time off increased 50 percent in the last five years. From fiscal 2008-09 through the current fiscal year, correctional officers have taken an average 94 unpaid days off, the most of any employee group. Employees represented by SEIU Local 1000 and managers and supervisors received 79 days off, with most other groups receiving 70. Firefighters (20 unpaid days) and CHP officers (12 days) weren't furloughed for most of the last five years.

PHOTO CREDIT: Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor holds a press conference reviewing Gov. Jerry Brown's budget on Jan. 14, 2013, in Sacramento, California. Renée C. Byer / Sacramento Bee

March 13, 2013
Brown administration files final furlough brief in appellate court

jerry_brown_2012_amezcua.JPGLawyers representing Gov. Jerry Brown have filed their last brief in the final furlough skirmish between state labor and management.

February 22, 2013
Unions argue their furloughed members deserve back pay

130222 Blanning.JPGUnions representing state scientists and engineers this week filed court papers arguing that Gov. Jerry Brown wrongly furloughed thousands of state workers and owes them millions of dollars in back pay.

At stake: an estimated $12 million in back pay a Sacramento judge ordered the state pay the combined 13,000 employees covered by the unions last year. Brown has appealed the decision.

"The well-reasoned and considered judgment of the trial court should be affirmed in its entirety," says the unions' response brief filed this week in San Francisco's 3rd District Court of Appeal.

January 11, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Jerry Brown tells unions to brace for cuts

countdown 2.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

With California's economy slow to rebound, the Brown administration held a series of secret meetings in the warming days of May to tell state employee union leaders that cuts in his 2012-13 budget revision would include about $800 million from compensation costs.

Brown was confronting converging issues: The state budget deficit had grown since his January budget draft, which didn't include the payroll cuts. He wanted to voters to approve a tax hike measure and the effort would be made tougher if state employees were spared from the same fiscal ax he was applying to social services and schools.

Some state workers thought Brown's whispers to the unions were treasonous. Isn't he a Democrat? Hasn't he said that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furloughs were a bad idea? And now he's leaning on furloughs???

But eventually, 19 of 21 bargaining units negotiated a monthly furlough day with the administration. Lawmakers imposed the unpaid time off on two bargaining units that held out.

Furloughs are scheduled to end June 30 of this year and, since voters approved Brown's tax measure, the 2013-14 budget is in better shape. (Brown says there's no deficit. Others disagree.) The governor's new budget plan avoids extending any state employee compensation cuts into the next fiscal year.

Here's the post that some state workers thought they'd never see: Jerry Brown tells unions to brace for California state worker pay cuts

January 4, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: Jerry Brown proposes 4-day work week

countdown 5.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

As Democratic candidate for governor in 2010, Jerry Brown said that state worker furloughs were a bad idea. But as a governor confronted with a $16 billion budget deficit in 2012, he offered up a modified version of the policy last summer -- a four-day, 38-hour work week that would cut state employees' pay by the same amount as one furlough day per month.

(The administration protested when media accounts used "furlough" to describe the short work-week plan.)

Critics noted that Utah saw workplace productivity drop off when state employees there went to a 4/10 weekly schedule. Others wondered how departments closed on Fridays or Mondays would do business with private businesses and other government entities that ran on a five-day work schedule. And what about months with five Mondays or Fridays?

Brown eventually worked out an unpaid personal leave day program -- don't call it a furlough program! -- with most state employee unions and imposed it on the holdouts.

Here's the breaking news post from May 14, ranking No. 5 on the State Worker's most-viewed items of 2012:
Jerry Brown's budget proposes longer days, shorter weeks for state workers.

January 3, 2013
Top 10 posts of 2012: SEIU Local 1000 agrees to furloughs

countdown 6.JPGThis is the latest in a series counting down this year's most-viewed State Worker blog posts, with a little hindsight analysis.

The 6th most-viewed State Worker blog post reported that SEIU Local 1000 and Gov. Jerry Brown had reached an agreement that cut one day's hours and pay per month for the final year of the union's contract.

In exchange, Local 1000 and Brown agreed to terminate student assistants and retired annuitants. Neither group is represented. The governor and the local also agreed to set up a task force on wasteful state outsourcing.

November 19, 2012
Jerry Brown administration files furlough appeal

100602 yolo county gavel.jpgA $12-million furlough lawsuit has entered its next phase with a formal appeal filed by Gov. Jerry Brown that seeks to overturn a lower court ruling against the administration.

August 22, 2012
Republican Sen. Mimi Walters predicts pension legislation won't be 'comprehensive'


California Edition host Brad Pomerance recently opened his show with a 13-minute interview with state Sen. Mimi Walters discussing public employee pensions.

Walters is a member of the conference committee tasked with crafting pension legislation. State Senate and Assembly leaders have said they will come up with a bill before the current session closes at the end of this month.

Midway through the interview Pomerance asks, "Do you believe that we will see some form of pension reform in this legislative year?"

Walters: "I believe we will see a form of pension reform. Will it be comprehensive? No. Will it make major changes to the issues that we're facing wth pensions? No. I believe that this Legislature will do something to say, 'Hey we took care of a couple of the abuses and now let's hope this issue goes away.'"

Pomerance: "Is something better than nothing, or is nothing better? Because if you do something it won't address the real fundamental problem."

Walters: "My concern is if we just do a little something, it won't address the fundamental concerns that we're facing -- and the issue may very well go away."

A separate interview about voting rights and legislation starts at the 14-minute mark with Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles.

August 16, 2012
Column Extra: Read the California state engineers' furlough grievance

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Our State Worker column in today's Bee notes that Professional Engineeers in California Government filed a grievance triggered by furloughs started in July. The union claims that the Brown administration violated the PECG contract by suggesting a 2012-13 budget that funds only 95 percent of their members' wages.

The then-Department of Personnel Administration (now dubbed the Department of Human Resources), said that the June 4 grievance was "premature" because it was filed before the July 1 start of furloughs so that no union members had suffered a loss.

The administration also said that Brown was acting in his role as governor in presenting a budget plan, not as the state's employer. Therefore, the administration said, Brown didn't violate the union's contract.

PECG attorney Gerald James asked for arbitration to keep the association's options open, but hasn't pushed the matter any further, union spokesman Ryan Endean said Wednesday.

PECG Jun4, 2012, furlough grievance and related correspondence

August 15, 2012
Jerry Brown continues furlough lawsuit fight with California engineers, scientists

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgWell, it's not over yet.

Gov. Jerry Brown has decided to appeal a trial court's decision that the state wrongly furloughed thousands of state workers and owes them millions of dollars in back pay.

Attorney David Tyra filed the Notice of Appeal of Professional Engineers in California Government v. Brown on Monday on behalf of Brown and the state Department of Human Resources. Controller John Chiang who also was named as a defendant in the lawsuit, is not a party in the appeal.

The appeal freezes the trial court's order to pay state engineers $10 million and another $2 million to state scientists.

The Brown administration is fighting a June ruling by Alameda Superior Court Judge Steven Brick that ordered back pay for a combined 13,000 members of PECG and the California Association of Professional Scientists. The back wages cover two days worth of excessive furloughs for most of the affected workers, although about 250 of the unions' members are in line to get pay for all their lost wages -- up to 70 days -- because the court ruled they shouldn't have been furloughed at all.

CAPS President David Miller reacted to news of Brown's appeal in an email to The State Worker: "We were hoping to put an end to this Schwarzenegger era furlough litigation. After all, Superior Court Judge Steven Brick ruled for us after carefully evaluating the evidence. We think the Court of Appeal will find the last round of unpaid furloughs just as legally flawed as Judge Brick did."

Here's the notice:


August 9, 2012
Column Extra: California's state worker layoff process

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Today's State Worker column references the complexity of the state's process for laying off employees. Using the flowchart below, we came up with 14 steps: three before a department announces a layoff and 11 steps during and after -- and that doesn't include what CalHR has to do.

The process is negotiated with unions. Here's a chart that lays it out, backed by nine pages of explanation:

August 9, 2012
Column Extra poll: Furloughs versus layoffs in California

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Our State Worker column today looks at why state employee unions may agree to speed up the layoff process in exchange for a no-furlough guarantee when labor contract talks commence next year.

Clearly, the best scenario for state employees would be pay raises, not any sort of pay reduction. And state workers and the unions say the state needs to pay more attention to soaring outsourcing costs.

But if the state budget continues to struggle and Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature again force the unions to accept some sort of payroll cut in fiscal 2013-14 to help close another deficit, what's the least-bad solution?


August 7, 2012
Supervisors' group hits Steinberg on legislative staff pay raises

The Association of California State Supervisors wants Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg to reverse staff raises, and it is rallying its members to write and call the Sacramento Democrat's offices to tell him so.

A post on its website titled, "Make Steinberg keep his word," noted that the state's No. 2 Democrat said this about public pension reform: "Will it cause some discomfort and unhappiness? Yes. Do you sometimes disagree with your allies and friends to do what you think is the right thing? Yes."

Then the organization, a nonunion advocate for state government managers and supervisors, performs a little political judo:

We couldn't agree with Sen. Steinberg's sentiment more: Doing the right thing sometimes causes discomfort and unhappiness.

That is why ACSS is calling on Sen. Steinberg to stop underhanded dealing to his allies and friends in the Legislature and start the difficult cuts he touts publicly by rescinding the raises he approved for employees in the Legislature after slashing your salary by 5%.

... Take a moment to let him know via email or calls to his office.

The supervisors' group is ticked over a recent Bee review of payroll records finding that at least 93 California legislative employees who earn more than $100,000 received raises this year and that more than 900 employees at all pay levels received pay hikes. The 120-member Legislature employs about 2,220 staff members.

That adds a bit of a sting for state workers whose pay and hours have been cut by nearly 5 percent since July 1. An ACSS poll of its members found that nearly six in 10 think the pay raises should be taken away.

August 6, 2012
Clock starts on deadline for Jerry Brown to appeal state worker furlough case

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgGov. Jerry Brown must decide by the end of next month whether to keep fighting state engineers and scientists over a recent furlough lawsuit he lost or pay $12 million in back wages to settle accounts.

It's not clear whether Brown will appeal. California Department of Human Resources spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley said this morning that state attorneys hadn't yet discussed the matter.

Brown's window to the appellate court closes 60 days from last Thursday, which was when attorneys for Professional Engineers in California Government and California Association of Professional Scientists filed the final paperwork in PECG v. Brown with Alameda Superior Court Judge Steven Brick.

In June, Brick ruled that some 13,000 PECG and CAPS members were excessively furloughed two days last year. He also decided that about 250 of the unions' members shouldn't have been furloughed at all.

Engineers stand to receive a total $10 million in back pay, said Ryan Endean, who speaks for both PECG and CAPS. Scientists would receive about $2 million total. An appeal by Brown would most likely put the payments on hold while the court fight continues.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

August 3, 2012
BOE chairman Jerome Horton speaks out against pay cuts

Board of Equalization Chairman Jerome Horton says the 2012 Personal Leave Program is having a negative effect on the Board of Equalization, the Franchise Tax Board and the budget. Horton also serves as a member of the Franchise Tax Board.

"We will continue to do our part during these tough economic times to minimize the negative impact of the reduction of hours. However, we are not magicians. Hobbling the BOE and FTB with the Personal Leave Program is like sending farmers home in the middle of harvest season," Horton said in a statement.

He estimated that as a result of the reduction in work hours, California will have an annual revenue loss of $88 million normally generated by the BOE, while the 5 percent salary reduction will save the BOE $13.5 million.

"This is not in the best interest of the state and decreases the efficiency of our efforts to collect revenue," Horton said.

July 31, 2012
Furloughs didn't cut prison costs in Oregon

State employee furloughs in Oregon have not produced savings at prisons, according to The Oregonian.

An audit released Thursday by the Secretary of State Audits Division found that this was largely because a prison is a round-the-clock operation. The audit examined overtime and personnel costs at two prisons in Oregon.

Gary Blackmer, director of the audits division, said the furloughs did not cut costs because another employee had to be paid overtime to cover the vacated shift. The furloughs also caused difficulties for prison administrators who had to juggle employees.

Prisons differ from some other state operations because they require security staff 24 hours a day. So, with furloughs in place, prisons had to choose to either hire extra staff or pay overtime. The audit found that hiring extra staff to reduce overtime would not save much money.

The audit estimated that hiring a new correctional officer would cost about $61,000 a year, while paying experienced staff to cover that time would costs $59,000-$81,000.

The Oregon Department of Corrections told The Oregonian it agreed with most of the report.

The report looked at four years of payroll data.

Prisons Audit

July 13, 2012
A look back at Jerry Brown's furlough history
July 13, 2012
Column Extra Part 2: How Gov. Jerry Brown would counter a furlough lawsuit

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgWith just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published each Thursday.

On Thursday, we looked at one way Professional Engineers in California Government might sue the state for imposing furloughs on its members and violating state and federal contract laws. The union hasn't committed to suing and has said it still hopes to work out an agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown for wage reductions.

But how would the state, specifically the Brown administration, defend the imposed furloughs?

July 12, 2012
Column Extra Part 1: Inside the legal argument against California state worker furloughs

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgWith just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published each Thursday.

Our column in today's fiber/cyber Bee notes that for the first time since furloughs became a regular feature in state budgets three years ago, the government has imposed them on employees who are under contract.

Although Gov. Jerry Brown negotiated furloughs with 19 of the 21 bargaining units representing state workers, two haven't gone along: Professional Engineers in California Government (Unit 9) and International Union of Operating Engineers (Unit 13).

The governor has used authority bestowed on him by the Legislature to impose a one-day-per-month furlough on the holdouts. Now the questions are whether the either union will sue and what the basis of a lawsuit might be.

July 12, 2012
Live chat at noon: Jon Ortiz hosts discussion of furloughs, personal leave

Join Jon Ortiz at noon for a live discussion of new state furloughs and personal leave programs.

July 11, 2012
Jerry Brown administration issues furlough orders for holdout California state worker unions

blanning.jpegIt's official. Gov. Jerry Brown has accomplished what his predecessor couldn't: All state workers under the governor's authority are now furloughed.

Despite Brown's long-time criticism of furloughs as a bad business practice for the state, his Department of Human Resources (the former Department of Personnel Administration) last week issued a memo to government personnel officers detailing how to execute a 4.62-percent cut in the hours and pay for employees whose unions didn't negotiate a salary reduction with Brown.

The memo applies to about 11,000 state engineers in Bargaining Unit 9, most of whom work for Caltrans, and another 900 or so heavy machinery operators in Bargaining Unit 13.

Although the state's furlough memo applies retroactively to July 1, the Brown administration is still open to a negotiated reduction, said CalHR spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley.

"We've certainly left the door open," Jolley said.

Bruce Blanning, executive director of Professional Engineers in California Government, said that the union is continuing to talk with the Brown administration. In the meantime, it has told members to comply with the furlough policy, even though PECG may later fight it in court.

"We've told them to take days off if they're told to," Blanning said. "Obey now, grieve later. Anything else would be insubordination."

Still, Blanning said, "We'd prefer to work it out."

July 5, 2012
Budget ends furlough protections for State Compensation Insurance Fund employees

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.

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:

July 3, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 members vote to accept furloughs

SEIU Local 1000 has announced that 65.76 percent of its members have approved a furlough agreement reached with Gov. Jerry Brown last month that assigns them them 12 unpaid days off over the fiscal year that started on Sunday.

The union announced the results on its website this morning, a day later than it had promised last week when it announced that members would have one day to vote at one of more than 80 polling places around the state. It did not release the raw tally of the votes in its announcement this morning.

"Because Local 1000 chose to negotiate with the governor rather than let our members be subject to imposed furloughs, we were able to achieve important solutions that went beyond a pay reduction in exchange for time off," Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said in a statement posted this morning on the union's website.

The agreement requires the state to purge its payroll of all student assistants and "non mission-critical" retired annuitants by Sept. 1. The state won't hire either again while Local 1000-covered workers are on furlough.

The deal also sets up a task force that will regularly review outsourced service contracts.

The vote affirms a cost-cutting move that the Brown administration estimates will save the state some $839 million, about $401 million of that payroll relief to the general fund. SEIU's agreement is key to achieving the savings because the union covers 93,000 employees, roughly half the state's unionized workforce.

Many state workers were angry when Brown figured those savings into his May budget revision, since they are under two- or three-year contracts that already included a year of furloughs and remain in effect through June of next year.

Some SEIU workers were particularly upset, thinking that Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker had privately assured Brown that she could deliver the pay cut. Walker said that she had suggested going to a four-day, 10-hours-per-day workweek which Brown "tweaked" to a 4/38 schedule. That essentially amounted to a two-hours-per-week furlough that reached the 5 percent pay cut the governor sought.

Eventually, Local 1000 negotiators pressed for a more conventional floating furlough day that cut state employees' monthly pay by nearly 5 percent but allowed some flexibility with when they took the time off. Several other unions had previously agreed to similar furloughs, including, for the first time, groups representing CHP officers and state fire fighters.

July 2, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 counting ratification votes, announcement expected today

Thumbnail image for 120508 Yvonne Walker 2008 brian baer.JPGSEIU Local 1000 spokesman Jim O'Donnell said this morning that the local is tallying the vote on its side-letter furlough agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown and will announce the results "later today."

The local hasn't said whether it will abide by the vote. It wasn't obligated to poll members. But clearly a resounding "no" vote -- or even a closely divided decision -- risks fracturing solidarity.

Signs point to the measure passing. The pace of the SEIU vote (five days after the announced agreement) and the effort required to vote (polling stations open for one day as opposed to mail-in ballots) didn't allow much time for opposition to gel and probably suppressed turnout.

PHOTO: SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker / 2008 Sacramento Bee file

June 29, 2012
CA state attorneys union reaches furlough deal with Jerry Brown

California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges, and Hearing Officers in State Employment (CASE) has reached a side letter agreement on furloughs with the Brown administration.

Under the agreement, CASE members will take a 4.62 percent reduction in pay for 12 months, starting in July. Each member will receive 8 hours personal leave per month.

The side letter does not affect raises scheduled for July 2013.

During negotiations, the administration agreed to establish a committee that could lead to creation of higher job classifications, such as Attorney V and ALJ III.

According to the CASE release:

"This is significant because it represents the first time in the history of our negotiations with the State that an administration has been willing to seriously discuss new classifications to address the structural pay disparity suffered by the members of Bargaining Unit 2, and create a formal structure and a six-month timeline for doing so.
This creates a formal structure and new classifications to address pay disparity."

The agreement also establishes a committee to identify legal contracts that the union believes are improperly outsourcing work union members should be doing.

This decision came shortly after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a budget trailer bill that would allow him to furlough members of bargaining units that do not reach deals by July 1. All bargaining units that reach a deal will be protected from further furloughs.

The side letter agreement will be sent to members for ratification, likely early next week.

View the side letter agreement terms here.

June 27, 2012
State scientists reach furlough deal with Jerry Brown

The California Association of Professional Scientists reached a furlough deal this afternoon with Gov. Jerry Brown, leaving just four of the state's 21 bargaining units without an agreement.

The association, which represents some 2,500 state scientists, said it agreed to take 12 unpaid days off in the fiscal year starting July 1, resulting in a salary cut of nearly 5 percent.

"Too often in recent years, the dedicated scientists who serve the people of California have been asked to sacrifice to help balance the state budget.  This is another one of those times," CAPS President David Miller said in a prepared statement. "It's very painful and difficult for all of us.  But we sacrifice in hopes of a better future for everyone."

The agreement is similar to one tentatively accepted Saturday by the state's largest union, Service Employees International Union Local 1000.

June 27, 2012
Five California bargaining units have yet to reach furlough deals

Of California's 21 bargaining units, five have yet to reach a deal with Gov. Jerry Brown about proposed furloughs, according to the Department of Personnel Administration. They are:

California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment (CASE)
California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA)
Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG)
California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS)
International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE)

"We're in active discussions with all of them," department spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley said this morning.

Patrick Whalen, general counsel for CASE, said that the attorney group had been in many meetings with the administration and has many more scheduled.

"We're bargaining, we're meeting with the state, and we've been having many discussions," Whalen said. He added that there had been dozens of offers made back and forth.

Will a deal be reached? "I honestly don't know," he said.

Joan Bryant, IUOE's director of public employees, said the union had been bargaining with the state and would most likely make a deal next week.

"I'm hopeful that Monday we could come to some sort of agreement with the state," Bryant said. She added that IUOE is negotiating a side letter agreement and not a contract change.

As The Bee has reported, a budget-related bill restored language to allow saving money through furloughing state workers, which could give the governor more leverage in negotiations with unions that have yet to reach deals.

SEIU Local 1000, the state's largest state employee union, tentatively accepted a side letter agreement on Saturday to take 12 unpaid leave days over the next year.

June 26, 2012
Defining 'mission critical' retired annuitants in California's state workforce

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.

So what's a "mission critical" retired annuitant, anyway?

We'll soon find out. As we've reported, the horse-trading between Gov. Jerry Brown and SEIU Local 1000 over furloughs included a mandate that departments purge their payrolls of RAs by Sept. 1. Only those deemed mission critical -- in other words, people whose departure would impair the normal function of the organization -- will be exempt.

June 26, 2012
State employee furlough language back in CA budget

A new budget bill has restored language that would allow Gov. Jerry Brown to furlough state workers without an agreement with their unions.

SEIU Local 1000, the state's largest state employee union, tentatively accepted a deal Saturday to take 12 unpaid leave days over the next year, but Gov. Jerry Brown still is seeking agreements with other state worker bargaining units.

The bill could give Brown leverage in negotiating with unions that have not yet struck deals or with SEIU should the rank and file turn the deal down in Wednesday's membership vote.

The furlough language was introduced in Brown's proposed budget in May, but eliminated from the Legislature's initial 2012-2013 state budget. The State Worker previously reported that unions pushed Democrats to make the change, strengthening their position during negotiations with the administration.

The furlough language is back in the budget trailer bills, Senate Bill 1037 and Assembly Bill 1497, lawmakers are expected to consider Wednesday.

June 26, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 releases polling locations for furlough vote
SEIU Local 1000 will give members the opportunity to cast ballots Wednesday in an expedited ratification vote about the proposed furlough agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration.

Union members can vote at 88 locations, including seven in Sacramento, as well as out-of-state locations in Chicago, Honolulu, Houston and New York.

The union released the polling locations on their website. The sites are:


The results of the election will be announced Monday.

The furlough agreement came after Gov. Jerry Brown's four-day workweek plan died Saturday after the union and Brown tentatively agreed on different furlough terms.

Under the deal, workers would take 12 unpaid leave days over 12 months starting in July. Employee paychecks will be hit 5 percent. The deal does not affect a scheduled 3 percent raise for top-step employees July 1, 2013 or other aspects of SEIU Local 1000's current contracts. 

June 25, 2012
Poll: Will SEIU Local 1000 members vote for a pay cut?

As reported here, SEIU Local 1000 will let members cast ballots on Wednesday to register where they stand on a new furlough agreement negotiated with Gov. Jerry Brown.

The results of the vote will be announced on July 2. How do you think it will turn out?

June 22, 2012
Jerry Brown reaches furlough deal with California state doctors, dentists

The Union of American Physician and Dentists has agreed to an 8-hours-per-month furlough for its members that will begin July 1.

The agreement covers roughly 1,800 doctors and dentists. The union has posted the details of the side letter that avoids reopening the union's full contract. Under the terms of the so-called "personal leave program," or PLP, the state deducts 4.62 percent of gross pay from each employee's monthly paycheck. They have some flexibility to schedule the time off, according to the union's summary of the agreement:

PLP 2012 must be used in the month in which it is earned. PLP 2012 shall be requested and used by the employee in the same manner as vacation or annual leave. If the employee has not submitted a PLP 2012 leave request by the 20th of the month in which PLP 2012 is accrued, the time shall be scheduled by his/her supervisor. When this is not operationally feasible, PLP 2012 shall be used before any other leave except sick leave.

That provision lines up with furlough deals recently accepted by other groups, including state fire fighters and Highway Patrol officers. UAPD is the sixth state employees' union to accept furloughs that will contribute to an estimated $839 million in payroll savings during the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Brown also agreed to create a Contracting Out Committee comprised of four UAPD representatives and four state officials. The "CoCo" will meet at least once every two months with an agenda to curb state job outsourcing.

The state's largest public employees' union, SEIU Local 1000, has been in talks with Brown for two weeks, but hasn't yet announced a furlough agreement.

Click here to open UAPD's summary of the side-letter deal.

June 20, 2012
State worker calls on SEIU Local 1000 leaders to 'force the state to honor our contract'

Thumbnail image for 120130 Yvonne Walker 2008.JPGHere's an email from state employee Paul Warrick to SEIU Local 1000 leaders regarding the 5-percent pay reduction that union and Brown administration negotiators have been discussing since June 9.

Warrick cc'd The State Worker on Tuesday when he sent the email to Local 1000. With his permission, we're publishing it here, unedited:

Dear President Walker and SEIU 1000 Board Members,

Thousands of state workers are concerned that you won't stand up for us, and force the state to honor our contract. You need only mention the furloughs of the two years preceding our current contract, our increased contribution towards our retirement, the rare Unit 1 cost of living adjustments over the last decade- plus, and the scaling back of benefits for new employees to completely justify a firm stand.

We are sick and tired of the threats of layoffs. We don't want new employees to be laid off, but those of us who have been here for the long haul are weary of layoffs being characterized as our responsibility, when it is not.

Please don't act complicity with the Governor by continuing to further sacrifice our benefits and wages for political appearances aimed at persuading the electorate to support the Governor's tax increase in November.

When the Governor begins his campaign for the tax initiative, his recitation of cuts and concessions mentioned in the first paragraph above is more than sufficient to illustrate that rank and file state employees have done their fair share in these tough economic times.

Besides, the electorate are clamoring for pension reform, not more furloughs. They won't be impressed.

PHOTO: Yvonne Walker / Sacramento Bee 2008 file, Brian Baer

June 15, 2012
Correctional officers, firefighters, psych techs, Jerry Brown tentatively agree to furloughs

State firefighters, correctional officers and psychiatric technicians will take a 5 percent pay hit starting next month under agreements their unions reached Friday with Gov. Jerry Brown.

The news came at the end of a week that saw several unions engaged in intense negotiations with the administration over the wage reduction. The largest group, the 93,000-member SEIU Local 1000, had submitted a proposal to Brown but as of this afternoon had yet to finalize the deal.

The agreements with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the California Department of Forestry Firefighters and the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians all mirror a deal reached with the CHP officers' union last week. Under those terms, employees' pay is docked eight hours per month for one year, but the time can be taken later.

The deal with the firefighters marks the first time that group has been furloughed since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger launched the policy in February 2009.

Firefighters' union spokesman Terry McHale said that members have "given and continue to give" with budget hits to department staffing and equipment the last few years.

"We understand the tenor of the times," McHale said.

Spokesman JeVaughn Baker declined to talk specifics about CCPOA's deal with Brown until the union's leadership could evaluate it.


June 12, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 pushes for trade: furloughs for tougher outsourcing rules

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 080811 Jerry Brown.JPGSEIU Local 1000 negotiators resumed bargaining with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration this morning, and are seeking cuts in outsourcing and ending the use of retired annuitants and student employees as conditions to accept a pay reduction.

The union said in a memo to members on its website that negotiators also want "maximum flexibility" for employees to take unpaid time off to meet Brown's goal to cut workers' hours and pay by 5 percent. The governor has suggested achieving the savings by putting state workers into a four-day workweek schedule of 9.5 hours per day, but is open to alternatives.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown / 2010 Sacramento Bee file, Hector Amezcua

June 11, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker holds online meeting on bargaining, Jerry Brown's furlough

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Yvonne_Walker_small.jpgSEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker held an online town hall meeting on Saturday to discuss negotiations with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration over his proposal to cut employees' hours and pay by roughly 5 percent per month.

Formal talks started that day and continued Sunday. There's been no word on the status of the discussions or any agreement between the state's largest public employee's union and the administration.

In the following video, Walker says the union first proposed a four-day, 10-hours-per-day workweek, but that Brown's May budget revision give it a "twist": four 9.5-hour days.

Still, Walker gives Brown credit for including organized labor in his budget plans, for explaining to the unions why he wants $839 million in employee compensation cuts ($401 million from general fund wages) and for negotiating with the unions.

"I'm going to be honest with you. The 5 percent cut, that's real," Walker said, "But what's not real is how you get there. I think the bargaining teams have been spending a lot of time over this past week trying to get to that dollar amount in different ways."

June 8, 2012
California Highway Patrol officers' union agrees to monthly furlough

For the first time, California's Highway Patrol officers are going to be furloughed.

The union reached an agreement at with Gov. Jerry Brown that furloughs Patrol officers 8 hours per month for one year starting July 1. Officers can bank the hours to take later, but their paychecks will reflect the 5 percent pay reduction regardless.

Department of Personnel Administration spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley confirmed the agreement. Jon Hamm, CEO of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, said that the language of the deal encourages officers to take their banked furlough time before taking paid vacation.

The Brown administration had said that it wanted to avoid a policy that allowed banking furlough hours because that leads to employees taking less paid leave, creating a deferred cost for the state when the leave credits with monetary value are cashed out at the end of an employees' career.

Brown proposed putting most state workers on 9.5-hour shifts four days per week and closing departments on either Fridays or Mondays. Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Marty Morgenstern has said that the administration wants the workweek furlough or equivalent cuts of 5 percent negotiated in time for scoring in the budget, which lawmakers must pass by next Friday.

Until now, CAHP members had never been furloughed. Hamm said union members understand that they need to make a sacrifice, given the state's $15.7 billion budget crisis.

"Our members' reaction has been pretty positive (to the furlough)," Hamm said this afternoon. "I think this is sinking in. They're saying, 'I'm lucky to have a job.'"

The agreement will go to members for a ratification vote starting next week, Hamm said.

Thursday's CAHP agreement signals that other unions representing workers in 24/7 jobs -- prison officers, psychiatric technicians, firefighters and others -- are under pressure to take similar deals if they haven't already.

It may also complicate talks scheduled with other unions, including Saturday's scheduled negotiations with SEIU Local 1000, that center around Brown's plan instead of the arrangement worked out with CAHP.

June 8, 2012
Unions meeting with Brown administration on 5 percent cut

Look for a series of announcements in the next few days from Gov. Jerry Brown and several bargaining units that they have reached agreements to reduce employees' compensation.

Brown proposed putting most state workers on 9.5-hour shifts four days per week and closing departments on either Fridays or Mondays. Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Marty Morgenstern has said that the administration wants the workweek furlough or equivalent cuts of 5 percent negotiated in time for scoring in the budget, which lawmakers must pass by June 15.

That doesn't leave much time.

SEIU Local 1000 is meeting with the administration Saturday. California Association of Psychiatric Technicians is meeting Tuesday. We've heard -- but haven't confirmed -- that other unions have already met with the administration and that deals with those groups will soon be announced.

June 7, 2012
UPDATE: 13,000 California state workers win back pay in furlough lawsuit

Editor's note, 5:51 p.m.: This post has been updated with a response from the Brown administration.
Editor's note, 2:40 p.m.: This post has been updated with a statement by CAPS President David Miller.

An Alameda County judge has ruled that state engineers and scientists are owed back wages because they were excessively furloughed last year.

The decision, which also includes a ruling to restore all the furlough wages withheld from a few hundred employees' paychecks, means some 13,000 workers could receive roughly $10.5 million in back pay. The payments would not affect the state's general fund, because the employees due the money are paid from special funds.

In an email to The State Worker, Department of Personnel Administration spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley said, "We are evaluating the ruling and are likely to appeal."

The Superior Court decision affirms that "this was an Illegal act by Gov. Schwarzenegger that cheated employees," said Bruce Blanning, executive director of the engineers' union. "They're entitled to the money illegally withheld from them."

California Association of Professional Scientists President David Miller issued a statement, "The ruling proves what CAPS has contended all along: the Schwarzenegger furlough plan was misguided, didn't save money, and was illegal. We look forward to working with the Brown Administration to implement the decision and avoid illegal furloughs in the future."

It's worth noting, however, that the extra two days of furlough that make up the bulk of the back wages awarded in the unions' lawsuit occurred in April 2011, when Jerry Brown was governor. The Bee has contacted the administration, seeking comment on whether Brown will appeal. We'll update this post with the response.

June 4, 2012
Jerry Brown administration defines 'very top' California state workers due for bigger pay cut

120514 Jerry Brown budget presser Amezcua.jpgThe Association of California State Supervisors is reporting on its blog that Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has narrowed down which state workers' pay will be cut by more than 5 percent in the 2012-13 fiscal year:

Acting DPA Director Julie Chapman confirmed in a meeting today with your ACSS that potential cuts above 5% would target "agency secretaries and higher officials," not state supervisors, managers, and confidential employees.

In his May budget revision, the governor proposed furloughing workers two hours per week and reducing the state workweek to four days to cut employee hours and pay by 5 percent. He wants to bargain the cuts and is open to other ideas to achieve the savings as part of closing the state's $15.7 billion budget gap (and that's a charitable administration estimate).

The supervisors' association report answers one of the questions raised when Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Marty Morgenstern told reporters last month, "No one will excluded (from a pay reduction), except people at the very top. We'll have to do a little better than that."

Morgenstern didn't define who at the "very top" would be hit with a heavier pay cut. That sparked speculation in some quarters that excluded workers might get dinged more. Apparently, that's not the case.

Next question: How much is "a little better than that"?

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his revised state budget plan during a Capitol news conference on Monday, May 14, 2012. / Associated Press, Rich Pedroncelli

May 25, 2012
California supervisors group mobilizing to fight Jerry Brown's 4/9.5 furlough plan

The Association of California State Supervisors, a member-run organization that represents excluded state workers, is girding itself to battle Gov. Jerry Brown's four-day workweek proposal.

"We need to present the Governor and the public with facts. Specifically, we need to show how the reduced workweek will impact California taxpayers," ACSS President Arlene Espinoza said in an email. "This is your chance to fight for your career and you can do it from the comfort of your own desk."

The memo then asks for "historical proof that furloughs don't work" and "educated guesses about how the 4-day workweek won't work."

Click here to read the memo.

May 24, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 to start pay cut talks with Jerry Brown

In a letter to members this afternoon, SEIU Local 1000 officials said that they are preparing to negotiate with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration early next month, spurred by his proposal to put state workers on a 4/9.5 workweek that would cut their hours and pay by 5 percent.

The chairs of Local 1000's nine bargaining units said that whatever concessions they negotiate will be put in a "side letter" agreement. That would avoid reopening the local's contracts.

Ahead of that, union officials are soliciting savings ideas to offer as alternatives to Brown's furloughs. Next week the local will conduct an online survey of members.

The union's bargaining team will review all of that information ahead of negotiations scheduled to start June 9. Whatever agreement is reached at the table will go to the rank and file for a ratification vote.

Here's the union's rationale for bargaining cuts:

"As the elected leaders of all nine bargaining units within Local 1000, we agreed that it's better to be aggressive participants in the effort to find solutions to achieve savings. We intend to be part of the action, not acted upon.

"We could have said 'no,' and demanded that the governor honor our contract. By staying engaged, we minimize the potential for a huge number of layoffs and even deeper cuts in vital services, like education and the programs that serve California's most needy."

Here's the entire letter:

May 22, 2012
Poll: Adopt Jerry Brown's workweek plan or return to personal leave program?

Why not just extend the personal leave program?

It's a question that we've heard often in the last week as we sifted through emails from several hundred state workers reacting to Gov. Jerry Brown's 4/9.5 furlough plan to cut their pay by 5 percent through a 2-hours-per-week furlough.

Most of the calls, comments and emails about the policy fall into one of four groups: workers who would love the three-day weekends, workers who think the policy is a betrayal of their contracts, those who hate losing the pay and workers who think the switch would harm state functions.

(As we reported earlier, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has some issues with Brown's workweek proposal.)

Then there's a fifth camp asking, why not simply return to giving state workers a floating unpaid day off each month? Departments already know how to manage it because of furloughs and the so-called "personal leave program" that was a provision in most of the latest union contracts.

So what do you think?

May 17, 2012
Live chat today at noon will take on Jerry Brown's workweek plan

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for chat logo.jpgWhat does Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to restructure the state workweek mean for state workers and the public?

Is it a good idea or a bad idea? Will it really happen? What about other aspects of his plan to cut costs, like reducing outsourced work and eliminating hiring of retired annuitants?

Join us here at noon today for an hour of your questions and comments during what is sure to be a lively online chat about Brown's version of furloughs. You can even sign up for an email reminder at sacbee.com/live.

May 15, 2012
From the notebook: More reactions to Jerry Brown's California workweek plan

Thumbnail image for notebook-thumb-216x184-9328.jpgWe never get all of what we learn into a news story, but this blog can give users the data, the notes and the quotes from the notebook that informed what was published.

Our story in today's Bee looks at Gov. Jerry Brown's prosposal to cut $401 million in general fund employee costs ($839 million all funds) by putting state employees on a 4/9.5 weekly furlough schedule.

We inerviewed several folks who didn't get into the final version of our story, including Bruce Blanning, executive director of the state's engineers' union and Tim Yeung, a Sacramento-based labor attorney.

Here are some highlights of our discussions with both men:

May 4, 2012
Reader of State Worker furlough column defines 'fair'

Reader Linda Clark emailed her reaction to Thursday's State Worker column about whether it's fair for several hundred California government employees in five departments to be paid the wages they lost to furloughs.

With Clark's permission, we're posting her email here, unedited:

March 6, 2012
When will California pay furlough back wages to state workers?

The State Worker has received several emails from staff in the five agencies that are paying furlough back wages, all asking the same thing: When will they get their money?

Current and former employees of the Prison Industry Authority, the First 5 California Commission, the California Housing Finance Agency, the California Earthquake Authority and the California State Lottery who lost pay to furloughs are due to get the withheld money. They will not receive interest on the back pay. The payouts won't affect the state's general fund, since it doesn't furnish money to those five agencies.

The State Controller's Office has to cut the checks, so we asked SCO spokesman Jacob Roper when that would happen.

"We are working with other departments to get all the necessary information, and we should have a time frame this week," Roper said in an email this afternoon.

February 16, 2012
California Earthquake Authority will pay furlough back wages

The state's quasi-private earthquake insurer is planning to pay furlough back wages to current and former agency employees who lost salary to the policy.

California Earthquake Authority spokeswoman D'Anne Ousley left a voice mail message with The State Worker Wednesday evening, confirming our earlier speculation that the agency would expand furlough lawsuit settlement terms reached with SEIU Local 1000 and California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment to non-represented staff.

The state's four other "off-budget" agencies that settled furloughs with the unions -- the Prison Industry Authority, the First 5 California Commission, the California Housing Finance Agency and the California State Lottery -- announced similar decisions earlier this week.

The repayment plans exclude members of Professional Engineers in California Government and California Association of Professional Scientists because those two associations are pressing on with furlough litigation. Local 1000 and CASE agreed to drop their remaining furlough lawsuits if their members in off-buget departments received furlough back pay.

The Earthquake Authority, a publicly-managed, privately-funded organization that provides
residential earthquake insurance, employs about 25 state civil service workers. Repaying them won't come from the state budget, since the agency operates on money taken in from investments and policyholder premiums.

February 15, 2012
Two more agencies say they'll pay furlough back wages

Solidarity isn't just a union concept.

Nearly all current and former employees of the California Housing Finance Agency and the California State Lottery will receive back pay for wages lost to furloughs, officials now say.

Two other so-called "off-budget" agencies said the same thing earlier today. None of the payments will come from the state's general fund and -- this is key -- the Legislature doesn't appropriate money for their budgets.

Russ Lopez, the Lottery's deputy director of communications. The agency is still figuring out how many of its 644 current employees are in line for furlough back pay. Lottery retirees and other former staff furloughed during their time with the agency will have money coming to them.

The payments "aren't going to happen overnight,"
Lopez said.

Cal HFA has the same accounting challenge. The agency employs about 260 staff who support its mission to provide home financing and housing programs for low- and moderate-income Californians. Spokeswoman Melissa Flores said that her agency last year set aside "just under $4 million" to cover back payment costs, but hasn't yet determined how many current and former employees were affected by furloughs.

Nine Cal HFA employees represented by Professional Engineers in California Government won't received the back pay, Flores said, because their union is continuing to fight furloughs in court.

The decision by the Lottery and Cal HFA to pay furlough back wages means that four of five off-budget agencies that settled furlough litigation with SEIU Local 100 and the state attorney's union have now said publicly that they are extending the back-pay provisions of the settlements to all their affected employees and retirees.

Click here to read about similar decisions made by leaders at the state's Prison Industry Authority and the First 5 California Commission. The post includes more background on the union settlements that set the precedent for the payments now extended to all employees.

The fifth off-budget agency, the California Earthquake Authority, hasn't yet responded to our inquiry whether it will follow the other four off-budget agencies, but we expect it will.

The agency's attitude about furloughs is well known: During one heated courtroom debate, CEA's lawyer said of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration and furloughs that "These guys are making it up as they go along,"

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.

February 10, 2012
Poll: Is the SEIU Local 1000 furlough settlement an unfair deal?

The State Worker continues to hear from state employees who are complaining that a recent furlough lawsuit settlement between SEIU Local 1000 and the Brown administration isunfair.

The complaints run along two tracks. One comes from managers and supervisors in the five "off-budget" agencies named in the settlement. They're not represented by SEIU or any other unions and aren't part of the furlough agreement.

Callers have pointed out that when a union reaches a contract agreement at the bargaining table that the managers and supervisors attached to those covered workers usually receive similar terms.

The exempt employees calling and emailing us about the furlough settlement think the same should apply here to the furlough back pay agreement. Of course, that decision is up to the Brown administration and/or the agencies.

The other complaint comes from state worker blog users who think that settlement provisions that awarded back pay to rank-and-file workers in five "off budget" agencies unfairly and arbitrarily single out a select few employees for a special benefit.

It's a twist on the complaints we heard when employees working for constitutional officers avoided furlough. Ditto when the courts decided State Compensation Fund Employees were illegally furloughed awarded them back pay.

SEIU has said that it got the most it could from a losing legal hand.

What do you think?

February 9, 2012
State worker criticizes SEIU's decision to settle furlough cases

We've heard from several state workers who aren't happy that SEIU Local 1000 settled its furlough litigation in exchange for back wages for 700 or so of its members working in "off-budget" agencies.

Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker has said that the union's legal team advised that broader litigation wasn't likely to win, so the union cut its losses and took what it could get from a settlement.

Paul Warrick, an associate governmental program analyst, sent an email to The State Worker that hits the tone of the complaints we've heard. We're publishing his email here, unedited and with his permission. He's speaking for himself, not his employer, colleagues or Local 1000:

Big whoop! Someone (or SEIU) should have pursued the larger Federal issue of equal pay for equal work. Everyone who receives a state payroll check should have been furloughed or no one should have been furloughed. Furloughs were happenstance. If you just happened to be an Office Technician, Staff Services Analyst, etc. in the wrong agency (based on funding source or other criteria), you got furloughed while your neighbor who was also an OT or SSA, but worked for another agency didn't get furloughed. It's just ridiculous.

Paul Warrick DSS

February 9, 2012
Column Extra: See the court documents filed by CCPOA, CSLEA, to drop furlough lawsuits

With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, some of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published.

Today's State Worker column breaks down which unions are in and which are out of the court fight over furloughs. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association are the latest to lay down arms.

CCPOA spokesman JeVaughn Baker said that the weight of several court decisions favoring the state pushed the union to stop its litigation: "We decided it's in the best interest of the association to focus on other issues."

SEIU Local 1000 and California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment also recently dropped their furlough litigation.

Meanwhile, the state's engineers and scientists are Alameda Superior Court No. RG10630312
Original petition: CCPOA v. Schwarzenegger (requires Java)

CSLEA's request for dismissal, Alameda Superior Court No. RG10507081
Original petition: CSLEA v. Schwarzenegger

CCPOA's request for dismissal: 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Original Complaint: Newton v. Schwarzenegger

February 6, 2012
Unions representing California state engineers, scientists, continue furlough fight

While two unions have settled the last remnants of their legal battles against state worker furloughs, two others continue to fight.

Professional Engineers in California Government and California Association of Professional Scientists filed opening arguments against furloughs in Alameda Superior Court on Friday. The unions are asking the court to set aside the furlough orders "to the extent that they were unlawful and the employees represented by Petitioners should be made whole for unauthorized reductions in their compensation."

Their arguments include two new twists.

February 6, 2012
SEIU Local 1000 asks courts to dismiss furlough lawsuits

100602 yolo county gavel.jpgAs part of its agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration, SEIU Local 1000 has filed requests for dismissal of five furlough lawsuits in Alameda, Sacramento and San Francisco superior courts.

Click here for background on the furlough litigation between the union and Brown.

The following links open Local 1000's applications to have the cases dismissed. If you want more information about each, click on the county in the list below to open the court's document viewer, plug in the case number, and download the complaints.

Alameda Case No. RG10494800
Alameda Case No. RG10507922
Alameda Case No. RG094567750
Sacramento Case No. 34-2009-80000150-CU-WM-GDS
San Francisco CPF09509782

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

February 3, 2012
California state attorneys, Jerry Brown settle furlough litigation

The union representing the state's legal professionals and Gov. Jerry Brown's administration have agreed to settle their furlough fight.

The deal returns wages lost to furlough to about 24 members of California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment. In exchange, the union is dropping its last two furlough lawsuits.

The agreement affects only CASE members in five departments that don't receive legislative budget appropriation: First 5 California, the Prison Industry Authority, the California Earthquake Authority, the California Housing Finance Agency and the California State Lottery.

SEIU Local 1000 recently agreed to a similar settlement.

The CASE rationale, which you can read below or by clicking here, can be summed up in five words: "Take what you can get."
CASE memo to members

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

January 31, 2012
Furlough lawsuit deal affects only SEIU workers, drops further litigation

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpg

Correction, 2:57 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the Office of Administrative Hearings is one of the five departments included in the SEIU settlement.

Roughly 700 state workers covered by SEIU Local 1000 will receive back wages from an furlough lawsuit agreement between the union and Gov. Jerry Brown's administration.

The deal, which we first reported this afternoon, also dumps four much larger furlough lawsuits the union was pressing in Northern California trial courts.

Only Local 1000 employees at First 5 California, the Prison Industry Authority, the California Earthquake Authority, the California Housing Finance Agency and the California State Lottery will receive back pay without interest for days that they were forced to take off without pay in 2009 and 2010. State workers represented by other bargaining units and managers in those organizations aren't part of the settlement, said Lynelle Jolley, spokeswoman for the state Department of Personnel Administration.

The agreement is a good deal for the state on two fronts:

• It costs taxpayers nothing, since all five departments are completely self-funded -- which was the basis of the argument that their employees shouldn't have been put on furlough in the first place.

• SEIU also agreed to drop four other furlough lawsuits pending in Alameda, Sacramento and San Francisco courts, Jolley said. Those lawsuits had the potential to cost the state tens of millions of dollars in back wages and interest for roughly 80,000 of the 95,000 workers the local represents. The litigation argued that for a variety of reasons furlough policy itself was illegal, not merely its application to a select departments.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

January 31, 2012
Special fund furlough litigation settled; more details to come

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgEmployees in five departments will receive back pay for wages lost to furloughs according to a settlement reached between labor and Gov. Jerry Brown's administration.

The deal includes workers at First 5 California, the Prison Industry Authority, the California Earthquake Authority, the California Housing Finance Agency and the California State Lottery, according to sources familiar with the agreement who spoke on condition of anonymity because the affected employees hadn't been told as of this morning.

The number of employees affected and the amount of money they'll receive aren't yet known, although one source said that the back pay will not include interest. The departments are all relatively small.

We expect more details later today as the unions and the departments divulge them to their employees.

The settlement lays to rest union litigation that argued that it was illegal to furlough employees in departments that received a significant portion of their budgets from outside the state's beleaguered general fund.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

December 23, 2011
The State Worker's Top 10 of 2011: No. 9 -- Furlough fears

countdown 9.JPGThis is the second installment in a series of posts counting down the most-read State Worker blog items and columns of 2011.

We started fielding a few calls, emails and Facebook messages in late September from state workers wondering if furloughs might return. The reason: A provision in SEIU Local 1000's contract requiring employees take 12 unpaid leave days over 12 months would expire at the end of October. So would a corresponding no-furlough guarantee.

The state workers who contacted us wanted to know: Would Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature bring back furloughs once the leave program ended?

This Oct. 25 post explained why that wouldn't happen: "More state workers to return to full hours and pay"

December 6, 2011
Furlough lawsuit court hearing postponed

An Alameda Superior Court judge has pushed back a hearing to debate whether employees in five or six "special fund" departments were illegally furloughed.

Judge Frank Roesch originally scheduled Yvonne Walker and SEIU Local 1000 v. Schwarzenegger for hearing at the end of this month, with the first deadline for filing documents with the court set for Friday.

Click here for background on the case, which concerns employees at First 5 California, the Prison Industry Authority, the California Earthquake Authority, the California Housing Finance Agency and the Office of Administrative Hearings. Local 1000 is hoping to add the California State Lottery Commission to the list.

Local 1000 and the Department of Personnel Administration requested more time. Judge Patrick Zika granted it on Monday. The hearing is now scheduled for Feb. 16 The administration's brief in defense of the furlough policy is due Jan. 23. The union has until Feb. 2 to file its response.
Alameda furlough litigation continuance

December 5, 2011
Special fund furlough lawsuit revived in Oakland court

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgA remnant of the "special funds" furlough litigation pressed by SEIU Local 1000 is set for a court hearing later this month.

The matter, Service Employees International Union Local 1000 and Yvonne Walker v. Arnold Schwarzenegger, revisits the union's argument that furloughs were illegally applied to departments that receive money outside of the general fund.

Local 1000 initially won that argument for 63 departments, but San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal in July overturned that ruling. It made exceptions for five departments that it said deserved further argument in the lower court: First 5 California, the Prison Industry Authority, the California Earthquake Authority, the California Housing Finance Agency and the Office of Administrative Hearing. Click here for more background.

The local asked the California Supreme Court to consider the case. It refused.

The case covering those five departments -- and a sixth that the union wants to bring into the case, the California State Lottery Commission -- gets its first court hearing on Dec. 29 at 3:45 p.m. in Alameda Superior Court in Oakland. The state has until Friday to file its arguments with the court. The union has until Dec. 23 to file a response.

We expect the Department of Administration, which handles furlough litigation for the state, to ask for a continuance, given the relatively short time between Alameda Superior Judge Frank Roesch's Nov. 22 order and the Friday deadline for the state's filing.
Walker and SEIU Local 1000 v. Schwarzennegger


November 14, 2011
So what's up with the SEIU Local 1000 furlough case?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgAn attorney with SEIU Local 1000 says the union will continue to press litigation against "special fund" furloughs, even though the courts have slimmed down the case to covering employees in just a handful of state departments.

Local 1000 had identified 63 "special fund" departments that it said shouldn't have been included in the Legislature's furlough authorization. The union won that argument in Alameda Superior Court, but San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal in July overturned that ruling. It made exceptions for five departments that it said deserved further argument in the lower court. (For more background, click here.)

SEIU appealed to theCalifornia Supreme Court, which refused take up the matter.

The union said it would keep fighting for its members in those five departments -- First 5 California, the Prison Industry Authority, the California Earthquake Authority, the California Housing Finance Agency and the Office of Administrative Hearings -- even though the remanded case now covers relatively few of its 95,000 employees.

The State Worker caught up with SEIU Local 1000 attorney Felix De La Torre to ask about the status of the case. Is the union still planning to continue the fight? If so, what's the hold up? Here's part of an email De La Torre fowarded to us last week, which is his response to an SEIU member who asked the same question:

November 7, 2011
Read state's order ending SEIU, exempt workers' unpaid leave

As we mentioned last month, November is the first pay period that exempt employees and workers covered by SEIU Local 1000 return to full hours and pay (which will show up on the Dec. 1 paycheck.)

We're still receiving a trickle of email and phone calls from employees who either haven't heard or don't believe it. So we're posting the highly technical proof: the Nov. 1 pay letter from the Department of Personnel Administration to the State Controller's Office. The key sentence:

The State Controller's Office will process an employment history mass update to delete
the Personal Leave Program (PLP) ... for rank-and-file employees in bargaining units 1, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21, as well as excluded, exempt, and statutory employees.

Here's the pay letter:

October 4, 2011
CCPOA loses furlough argument in appellate court

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgAnother union furlough argument fell Monday when San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal told a trial court to change a favorable ruling to an unfavorable one against the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which had claimed the policy as carried out for its members was an illegal pay cut.

The appellate court's decision in Brown v. Superior Court of Alameda County was a blow to the union whose 32,000 or so members stood to collectively gain millions of dollars -- no one is sure exactly how much -- in back pay and interest had the decision gone the other way. CCPOA says that it is deciding its next move in a case that stretches back more than two years.

CCPOA did win that argument in Alameda County Superior Court, claiming that "self-directed" furloughs -- which cut a prison officer's pay but deferred his or her corresponding time off -- violated state laws, including its minimum wage statute.

The appellate court action bogged down while attorneys for the union and then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger argued over whether the trial court decision could be appealed and while other litigation that examined furlough authority and furlough process took the legal limelight.

September 30, 2011
Blog back: Those other 'special funds' departments

Blog backs review your thoughtful and provocative online comments, amplify points, answer questions, correct our mistakes and humbly accept your warranted criticism.

Sharp-eyed blog user WilliesCons had a question about our post that the California Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgSupreme Court had refused to take a "special funds" furlough case that SEIU Local 1000 had won at the trial court level and then lost when the government appealed. Weren't there some departments that the 1st District Court of Appeal said might still be in play for a successful "special funds" argument?

September 22, 2011
California Supreme Court refuses to hear SEIU furlough case

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgThe California Supreme Court has refused a union request to consider whether furloughing employees in so-called "special fund" departments was illegal.

The court refused the petition for review by SEIU Local 1000 on Wednesday. The union had hoped to have another crack at litigation that it won in Alameda Superior Court nearly two years ago and then lost last July in San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal.

The high court's refusal to look at SEIU's case underscores that the special funds argument against furloughs is essentially dead, as legal observers have been telling The State Worker for quite some time.

Click here for the court docket that lays out the events leading up to the Supreme Court's refusal to review the case.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

September 22, 2011
San Francisco court could rule on key furlough cases any time

100602 yolo county gavel.jpgSeveral State Worker blog users have asked about the status of two furlough cases in San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal. The short answer: The court could issue rulings in either case any day now.

August 30, 2011
Constitutional officers lose furlough appeal

Less than a week after lawyers debated whether employees of constitutional officers should have been furloughed like state workers elsewhere, Sacramento's 3rd District Court of Appeal said that there's no special status for the constitutionals' staff.

The unanimous ruling by Justices Vance Raye, George Nicholson, Ronald Robie, released this afternoon, doesn't affect the pay of the roughly 16,000 employees who work in departments and agencies headed by officials elected via statewide vote, including the lieutenant governor, the secretary of state, the treasurer, the controller, the attorney general, the superintendent of public instruction, the insurance commissioner and the Board of Equalization.

None went along with then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto order in February 2009. They argued that as independently elected executives that they had authority to control their staffing. The administration sued in Sacramento Superior Court and won. The constitutionals appealed the decision and kept their employees on full hours and pay.

August 25, 2011
The latest on the constitutional officer employee furlough fight

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgThree justices from Sacramento's 3rd District Court of Appeal took turns on Wednesday, grilling an attorney who argued that they should overturn a lower court's ruling that constitutional officers' employees should have been furloughed along with other state workers.

Meanwhile, the panel lobbed legal softballs to a Brown administration lawyer who contended that the constitutional furlough issue had substantially changed since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger first sued the constitutionals in February 2009 to force them to comply with his furlough order.

August 15, 2011
Last 'special funds' furlough appeal set for September hearing

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgSan Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal has set Sept. 1 at 9 a.m. to hear oral arguments in California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment v. Schwarzenegger.

The case is the last chance for the appellate court to confirm one of three rulings by an Alameda Superior Court judge that state workers in so-called "special fund" departments were illegally furloughed.

Click here to see the court's case calendar.

July 20, 2011
The latest on CCPOA's furlough case in S.F. appellate court

100602 yolo county gavel.jpgPrompted by our recent posts on the "special fund" furlough cases in the state's 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco, several blog users have called and emailed for the status on the fourth -- and legally distinct -- furlough case, CCPOA v. Schwarzenegger.

This gets a bit complicated, so hold on ...

July 18, 2011
Appellate court delays furlough arguments until September

100602 yolo county gavel.jpgA hearing in the last undecided "special fund" furlough case in San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal has been delayed until September.

California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment v. Schwarzenegger was set for hearing on Aug. 3. There's no specific date set for the September debate. The court will do that later, according to a notice published just a few minutes ago.

The case appeals the third of three key furlough decisions issued in 2009 by Alameda Judge Frank Roesch that found furloughing workers in so-called "special fund" departments was illegal. His decisions against the state in the first two cases have been either partially or entirely overturned.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

July 15, 2011
Hearing date set for third 'special funds' furlough case

San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal has set Aug. 3 at 9 a.m. to hear arguments in California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment v. Schwarzenegger.

This is the third of three key lawsuits in which Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch decided that employees in so-called "special fund" departments had been illegally furloughed.

Three-judge panels in the same appellate court have entirely or partially overturned Roesch decisions in the other two cases. This link gives you background and court documents on SEIU Local 1000's 92-percent loss last week. Click here for our report on the 1st District Court's decision in Union of American Physicians and Dentists v. Schwarzenegger.

From where we sit, CASE is pushing a legal boulder uphill, given the first two special fund lawsuit decisions.

June 17, 2011
Furlough case back in appellate court; ruling to follow

100602 yolo county gavel.jpgYour humble blogger was away from work the last few days, so we're just now catching up with a backlog of events and e-mails, including this week's oral arguments in SEIU Local 1000 v. Brown before San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal.

The court heard both sides and now has up to 90 days from Wednesday's hearing to render a decision. You can view the court's case docket here.

The case (formerly SEIU Local 1000 v. Schwarzenegger) continues debate over whether employees in so-called "special fund" departments were illegally furloughed. This May 27 item and its companion June 3 post can give you more context and court documents.

At stake: millions of dollars in wages lost to furloughs plus interest for tens of thousands of state employees in those special fund departments.

The Union of American Physicians and Dentists made a similar argument in another case, won in the lower court but then lost on appeal with a different panel of justices in the 1st District Court.

A third special funds case on appeal, California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment v. Brown, also is with the 1st District Court. There's no oral argument date set yet. Click here to see the court's calendar for that case.

The best that state workers can hope for at this point is conflicting appellate court decisions. If at least one of the 1st District Court panels upholds the lower court's ruling, the California Supreme Court would almost certainly have to specifically address the special funds argument that it avoided in the seminal PECG v. Schwarzenegger decision last October.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

June 3, 2011
Furlough appeal focuses on defining 'special fund department'

So what's a "special fund department," anyway?

That's a key question that San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal wants answered as the June 15 date for oral arguments in SEIU v. Schwarzenegger approaches.

As we reported last week, the court asked the Gov. Jerry Brown's administration and SEIU Local 1000, to answer a series of questions. Several focused on figures provided by Veronica Chung-Ng, a finance employee who found that 30 of 69 departments SEIU orginally Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgdeclared were "special fund" actually received no general fund money. She also found that 62 of the 69 had money that the general fund could borrow.

A few blog users have asked if we could dredge up Chung-Ng's data. We combed though a few dozen blog posts with links to court documents and finally turned up this item, which contains a link to the court filing with the Chung-Ng declaration and spreadsheet.

Here's how to find the court document (you'll need Java to download the file):

Click here to open the file on the court document server.
The Chung-Ng declaration and list of departments are contained in the 12 pages under file No. 16249126 in the list on left margin of the page. The spreadsheet that breaks down department funding starts on page 8.

May 26, 2011
Court grills both sides in 'special funds' furlough debate

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgIf you're a furlough lawsuit junkie (and you know who you are) the latest twist in SEIU Local 1000 v. Schwarzenegger is tailor-made for you.

Last week, San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal revived debate in a case that appeared was headed for a ruling. It's one of three lower court decisions that the Schwarzenegger administration lost and appealed -- and now carried on by Gov. Jerry Brown -- to overturn a trial court decision that so-called "special fund" departments should have been exempt from furloughs.

The governor has already won one of the appeals, but if the unions win at least one of the other two, it's likely the whole thing will go to the state Supreme Court. Hundreds of millions of dollars in back pay and interest are at stake.

Last week the 1st District Court vacated an earlier order that put SEIU on a path for a ruling. It ordered attorneys for the union and the state to gear up for oral arguments that must address a total of 17 legal questions. Many probe how to define a "special fund" department. Others go to earlier administration arguments about gubernatorial furlough authority.

On Monday the court set June 15 at 9:30 a.m. for the debate.

Here are the questions it put to both sides:

May 17, 2011
Appeals court reverses 'special fund' furlough decision

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgState workers paid with federal money or other sources outside of the general fund were legally furloughed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, according to a court ruling issued late Monday.

The decision published by San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal reverses a lower court decision that parsed the legality of furloughs by the source of an employee's pay and deals a blow to a key union argument against the policy.

Union of American Physicians and Dentists v. Brown (formerly UAPD v. Schwarzenegger) was one of three parallel cases that successfully argued in trial court in 2009 that the furlough policy was illegal. Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch reasoned that Schwarzenegger's blanket furloughs failed to take into account the "varying needs of the different state agencies" as required by state law and that closing special fund departments three days per month illegally interfered with their "respective missions."

May 5, 2011
Appeals court affirms State Fund furlough decision

San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court ruling that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger illegally furloughed State Compensation Insurance Fund employees.

Department of Personnel Administration spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley said that she couldn't comment on either the decision or whether the Brown administration would continue to press the state's case, since attorneys still needed to review the ruling.

CASE v. Edmund G. Brown et al. started in San Francisco Superior Court as CASE v. Arnold Schwarzenegger et al. A little more than two years ago, Judge Peter Busch ruled that furloughing State Fund legal staff violated a law that protects the fund from "staff cutbacks."

Click here to read the appellate court's decision.

The appellate court also dismissed an appeal in a similar case involving State Fund employees covered by SEIU Local 1000, which leaves standing the lower court's decision in favor of the union.

March 28, 2011
Lawyers argue 'special funds' furlough case in San Francisco

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpg
Editor's note, 4:08 p.m.: The broken link on this post has been repaired, and the item is updated with more information from the court hearing this morning.

Attorneys for labor and the government met in San Francisco this morning to argue whether state workers in so-called "special fund" departments should have been exempt from furloughs that were put in place during Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration.

The 1st District Court of Appeal heard arguments but didn't hand down its ruling today, said Lynelle Jolley, spokeswoman for the Department of Personnel Administration.

The court has 90 days to make a decision. In this case, it could rule for one side or the other or return the matter to the Alameda trial court for further argument and a ruling there.

March 22, 2011
Unions withdraw furlough order injunction request

Editor's note, 1 p.m.: This post has been edited to clarify that the unions are continuing to fight furloughs in court.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgSix state employee groups that had renewed their furlough court fight last month have decided to drop the preliminary injunction that sought to stop furloughs, although they are continuing the litigation against the policy itself.

California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment this morning told their members of the coordinated decision to withdraw a motion for preliminary injunction in Alameda Superior Court. The lawsuit sought to stop furloughs for state workers in unions without contracts that had been ordered by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last summer.

As we reported earlier this month, the renewed lawsuit had named Gov. Jerry Brown as defendant, since he took over after Schwarzenegger was termed out.

"In light of the fact that all of the bargaining units have now secured tentative agreements, and in light of the administration's decision to end furloughs on April 1, 2011 for all units regardless of whether the MOUs have been ratified by that date, the plaintiffs determined that there would be nothing to enjoin on April 8, 2011," said the letter from the CASE board of directors.

Officials with CASE, Professional Engineers in California Government, California Correctional Peace Officers Association, California Association of Professional Scientists, International Union of Operating Engineers and Association of California State Supervisors all agreed to drop the lawsuit, according to the CASE memo.

That settles the fight over stopping the last furlough order, but the battle over the furlough policy will continue, the CASE board said:

"This action in no way affects or limits our ability to seek damages/back pay for members of Bargaining Unit 2 who were furloughed. The trial on the merits of our challenge to furloughs remains on calendar, and is presently set to begin this July. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of all pending litigation as events develop."

Click here to read the CASE e-mail. Here's the court filing:
Notice of Withdrawal

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

March 3, 2011
Unions ask Alameda Superior Court judge to stop furloughs

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgEditor's note: This post has been changed to clarify the impact of furloughs on employee pay for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Five of six state employee unions without contracts whose members are furloughed three days per month have asked an Alameda Superior Court judge to stop the policy.

Professional Engineers in California Government, California Association of Professional Scientists, California Correctional Peace Officers' Association and California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges, and Hearing Officers in State Employment are the union plaintiffs in the lawsuit now before Judge Steven Brick.

The Association of California State Supervisors, which speaks on behalf of management-level exempt workers, is also a party to the lawsuit.

California Statewide Law Enforcement Association didn't join the other unions in the litigation, which names Gov. Jerry Brown as defendant.

A hearing is set for Friday, April 8, at 9 a.m. in Alameda Superior Court.

February 23, 2011
UPDATE: More about the postponed furlough hearing

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgAs we reported this morning, a furlough case hearing originally scheduled for 9:30 a.m. today before the 1st District Court of Appeal was put off until next month.

We now know why. Lynelle Jolley, spokeswoman for the Department of Personnel Administration, said that one of the justices who was supposed to hear the case was ill.

Look for a new date for oral arguments in Service Employees International Union Local 1000 et al. v. Schwarzenegger et al to be set for late next month.

February 23, 2011
Appellate court delays 'special funds' furlough hearing

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgSan Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal has delayed oral arguments that were scheduled for this morning to debate one of the "special fund" furlough cases still active from former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration.

The case, Service Employees International Union Local 1000 et al. v. Schwarzenegger et al., was set for oral arguments at 9:30 a.m. The court decided on its own to push back the date. It didn't give a reason for the postponement.

Here's the Tuesday entry on the docket on 1st District Court's website:

On the court's own motion, oral argument is continued to the March calendar, date and time to be advised.

Click here for more background on the case.

February 17, 2011
POLL: Should state workers take furloughs if the taxes don't pass?

January 31, 2011
'Special funds' furlough hearing set for February

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgAn appeals court has set a Feb. 23 hearing to debate whether state workers in so-called "special fund" departments have been illegally furloughed.

SEIU v. Schwarzenegger involves three Alameda Superior Court decisions that determined furloughs for special-fund departments were irrational, arbitrary and interfered with those departments' ability to legally function. The rulings, which were consolidated when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appealed his loss to San Francisco's 1st District Court, affected employees covered by SEIU Local 1000, the Union of American Physicians and Dentists and California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment.

The case went on hold while the California Supreme Court took up PECG v. Schwarzenegger, which involved the larger question of whether the governor could unilaterally impose furloughs. (No, the court said on Oct. 4, but the Legislature can and did by approving a budget that assumed furlough savings.)

Then the 1st District Court told the SEIU parties to submit new arguments in light of PECG. They did, so now we have a hearing date. Whether it will go off isn't clear. The Brown administration has asked for hearing delays in other labor litigation, including another furlough case (involving State Compensation Insurance Fund employees) with the 1st District Court. The court granted the delay in that matter.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

January 21, 2011
Scientists talk about contract, furloughs with new DPA director

Negotiators for the California Association of Professional Scientists met with DPA Director Ron Yank on Thursday and pressed for an immediate end to furloughs, according to an e-mail sent to union members on Thursday:

Yank responded by confirming the Governor's initial position in these negotiations, which are outlined in the current fiscal year budget (2010-11), and Governor Brown's budget proposal for the next fiscal year (2011-12).

The current budget -- the last one under Governor Schwarzenegger -- authorizes continued mandatory furloughs of three days per month in order to achieve budget savings for bargaining units without a contract. The current budget expires on June 30, 2011, so mandatory furloughs will continue until one of three things happen: Governor Brown orders them stopped; there is an agreement between CAPS and Governor Brown to end them; or a court intervenes and orders them halted.

Yank "pledged to negotiate in good faith," CAPS reports. Click here to read the entire union e-mail.

January 20, 2011
Brown, constitutionals ask for more time in furlough lawsuit

Correction, Jan. 20, 11:30 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that attorney David Tyra signed the letter submitted to the 3rd District Court of Appeal.

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgCiting "the unique circumstances" of transition to a new administration, attorneys representing Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris have asked an appellate court to push back deadlines for submitting briefs in what has been a running feud over furloughs between the executive branch and other statewide-elected officials.

The request asks the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento to add at least 30 days to the Jan. 26 date that the first documents are due. The court had said on Jan. 11 that it wouldn't grant any extensions.

January 14, 2011
UPDATE: Judge rules against prison officers in furlough lawsuit

110114 Newton v. Schwarzenegger ruling
Update, 1:49 p.m.: This story has been updated with a response from CCPOA.

A judge in San Francisco has struck down a class action lawsuit over correctional officer furloughs that alleged the policy violates federal labor laws. The case is the first furlough litigation orally argued by state attorneys since Gov. Jerry Brown took office on Jan. 3.

"We are disappointed in the court's ruling today and will be reviewing the decision to determine what steps to take next." said Ryan Sherman, spokesman for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which backed the lawsuit.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker comes just one day after arguments in Newton v. Schwarzenegger. The union's attorneys argued that "self-directed" furloughs of correctional officers violated the Fair Labors Standards Act. The case applied only to members of Bargaining Unit 6.

CCPOA said that cutting employee pay but deferring the furlough time off violates the law because employees aren't paid in full for hours worked within a given pay cycle, that time worked on an unpaid furlough day should be calculated in figuring overtime and that the state hasn't kept adequate payroll records.

In essence, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs didn't make the case to support their claims or misinterpreted the policy as forcing employees to work for free. "The furlough program, while perhaps convoluted in execution, ensures that plaintiffs are compensated for all hours worked during the pay period," Walker wrote. "Because plaintiffs are compensated for all hours worked, and because that compensation exceeds federal minimum standards, plaintiffs claim of violation of FSLA fails."

And federal law, Walker said, authorizes only the secretary of labor to sue for recordkeeping violations, so "plaintiffs here lack standing to raise a separate claim relating to alleged recordkeeping violations."

Click here for a previous post with more details and documents about the lawsuit. We've embedded Walker's decision above.

January 13, 2011
Federal court hears furlough debate; informal labor talks begin

Attorneys representing the state and the California's prison officers' union argued the legality of furloughs in San Francisco's U.S. District Court this morning. The court didn't issue a ruling and might not for several weeks.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association filed the class action lawsuit, Newton v. Schwarzenegger, contending that its members' furloughs -- which deduct pay now but defer the corresponding time off -- violate the Fair Labor Standards Act. Click here for more background and court briefs.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 110105 Ron Yank.JPGMeanwhile, The State Worker has heard from several sources that the Department of Personnel Administration is scheduling or has already engaged in informal labor contract talks with the six bargaining units still without agreements. DPA Director Ron Yank also has been meeting and greeting leaders of the other bargaining units.

Yank's goal: Get contracts negotiated with all six units by the end of February/beginning of March.

PHOTO: Ron Yank, 2007 / Courtesy Carroll Burdick & McDonough LLP

January 13, 2011
Federal furlough case set for hearing today

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgNewton v. Schwarzenegger is set for hearing in San Francisco's U.S. District Court today at 10 a.m.

The class-action case, which applies only to members of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, is challenging furloughs as a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The arguments in this December 2009 complaint include:

  • Cutting pay but deferring the furlough time off violates the law because employees aren't paid in full for hours worked within a given pay cycle.
  • Time worked on an unpaid furlough day should be calculated in figuring overtime.
  • The state hasn't kept adequate payroll records.

The state says in its last brief that CCPOA doesn't have standing to file suit, that there's no material fact establishing that employees haven't been compensated for all hours worked and that the assigning the eventual time off is a form of compensation under federal law.

There's a slew of documents in the case. CCPOA has posted a few on its website, but the rest are only available online through the court's electronic document system, and you have to register and then pay document fees.

Or you can look at the last two briefs that lay out each side's arguments via The State Worker's Scribd embeds:

January 10, 2011
New budget plan, old furlough policy

We noticed that Gov. Jerry Brown didn't utter the F-word -- "furloughs" -- during his 45-minute budget press conference today.

So we asked the Department of Personnel Administration whether there were any changes to announce. Are furloughs still on, just as they were under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger?

"We haven't been given any direction to the contrary," DPA spokeswoman Lynelle Jolleysaid this afternoon in an e-mail.

Click here for a December State Worker column that discusses of why Brown won't end furloughs for unions without contracts.

January 3, 2011
Schwarzenegger records last moment in office

Thumbnail image for 110103 Schwarzenegger video.JPGNow-former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger posted a Twitter video this morning of his last moment in office -- literally. The 10-second post shows him shutting off the lights, cigar in mouth, with what appears to be the state seal under his arm. A cinematic end to the actor-turned-governor's seven years in office.

Click here to open the video on Twitter.

PHOTO: Screen capture, Twitter.com

December 28, 2010
Litigation over third furlough order sent back to trial court

100609 gavel.jpgThe 1st District Court of Appeal has lifted an decision that stopped union challenges to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's last furlough order, referring the matter to Alameda Superior Court for more litigation as that court "may deem appropriate."

The matter landed in the appellate court after Judge Steven. A. Brick's Aug. 8 ruling that Schwarzenegger couldn't relaunch three-days-per-month furloughs for roughly 144,000 state workers because the order violated state laws.

The governor quickly asked the appellate court to put a hold on the lower court's decision and allow furloughs to proceed. The appellate court denied that request, but the California Supreme Court, which by then was knee deep in furlough litigation, took the case and then allowed furloughs to resume.

On Oct. 4 the high court ruled that Schwarzenegger's 2009 furloughs were illegal but that the Legislature tacitly approved them in subsequent budget legislation. It didn't rule on the latest furlough case, however, and in November returned the matter to the 1st District Court of Appeal.

Now the appellate court has passed the case -- which is actually a consolidation of lawsuits by Professional Engineers in California Government, SEIU Local 1000 and six other employee groups -- back down to the Alameda court. (Click here for a list of all the parties involved.)

It's not clear whether either side should take heart from the appellate court's action, but you can be certain that there's more litigation ahead.

Just don't count on SEIU Local 1000 to be part of the proceedings. Its new contract accepted the last round of furloughs from August through October.

Here's the appellate court's instructions to the trial court:

In light of (1) the California Supreme Court's decision in Professional Engineers in California Government v. Schwarzenegger (S183411, October 4, 2010), (2) the enactment of the Budget Act of 2010, (3) the motion filed by plaintiffs in the California Supreme Court on October 26, 2010, and (4) any other potentially relevant development, the temporary restraining order that is the subject of the appeal in this action is vacated and the matter is remanded to the superior court for such further proceedings as the superior court may deem appropriate in light of these intervening developments.

Click here to read the appellate court docket, which shows the up-and-down history of the case.

December 16, 2010
Schwarzenegger files brief over doctors' and dentists' furloughs

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgThe Schwarzenegger administration has filed its last reply in UAPD v. Schwarzenegger, which is before San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hopes the justices will invalidate Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch's ruling that Schwarzenegger illegally furloughed employees in so-called "special fund" departments.

Administration attorney David Tyra's filing repeats an argument that he has made in this and similar cases, namely that the California Supreme Court's PECG v. Schwarzenegger ruling covers the issues raised in the UAPD case.

Since neither the high court decision nor legislation parsed special fund department furloughs and general fund department furloughs, Tyra contends, the Supreme Court's ruling and the Legislature's actions were a de facto approval of (mostly) across-the-board furloughs.

UAPD has argued that the Supreme Court's PECG ruling only settled the question of who has the authority to furlough (the Legislature does), but didn't address the process of furlough. The union wants the appellate court to uphold the Roesch decision.

Click here for an earlier post with a link to UAPD's brief. This link opens the appellate court's docket. We've posted the administration's Dec. 14 filing below. The court has not set a date for hearing this case.

UAPD v. Schwarzenegger Appellants' Supplemental Reply Brief

December 16, 2010
The State Worker reviews the year's top posts: No. 9

This is the next in a series of posts looking back at the most-read State Worker blog posts and columns.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger usually let surrogates handle the dirty work of talking about furloughs, but on a few occasions he addressed the controversial policy himself.

countdown 9.JPGBut at an Aug. 3 appearance before the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Fresno, someone (probably a state worker) asked the governor, "Why did the state workers have to bear the brunt of fiscal mismanagement? When do we get our money back? When will the furloughs end?"

Schwarzenegger cut loose with a lengthy extemporaneous statement about furloughs that included his assertion that state workers "don't take on an extra burden," especially compared with private-sector employees who have lost their jobs.

Our post that afternoon included a transcript and audio clip of what Schwarzenegger said. It quickly drew hundreds of comments. Click here to read Schwarzenegger: "We're not taking anything away from any state employee."

December 14, 2010
Attorneys' union: Return 'special fund' case to trial court

Editor's note, 2 p.m.: We have added a Scribd version of the Dec. 7 CASE court filing to the end of this post.

California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment filed a letter brief last week with San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal.The union's aim: convince the justices to return a so-called "special funds" case to the trial court with "directions to reconsider its ruling in light of the (California) Supreme Court's decision."

CASE attorney Patrick Whalen's 13-page letter is a response to a Nov. 22 brief filed by the Schwarzenegger administration that argues for killing the case.

Whalen contends that the high court's ruling in PECG v. Schwarzenegger, which said the state Legislature tacitly approved furloughs by assuming payroll savings from the policy in its budget actions, left open many questions that need to be hashed out in the lower court.

CASE makes these arguments:

December 8, 2010
Schwarzenegger's attorney files furlough appeal argument

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgEditor's note, 1:05 p.m.: This post now includes a link to Schwarzenegger's Nov. 29 brief filed with the 1st District Court of Appeal.

An attorney representing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger argued in a letter Tuesday to an appellate court that State Compensation Fund employees were legally furloughed last year.

David Tyra, the governor's hired legal gun to handle the multitude of litigation sparked by furloughs, contends that a lower court's ruling in CASE v. Schwarzenegger doesn't hold up in light of an October decision by the California Supreme Court.

The lawyers for California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment have until Dec. 23 to file a rebuttal.

The matter has traveled up and down the court system. You have to understand its history to understand Tyra's argument.

December 2, 2010
Catch up on the latest furlough litigation news

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgLots of ground to cover here: three unions, three lawsuits, four court filings and plenty of links to prior State Worker posts for background. Hang on.

CCPOA v. Schwarzenegger
The Schwarzenegger administration filed this brief on Tuesday in response to CCPOA's Nov. 19 filing to San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the prison officers' union are battling over an Alameda judge's decision that "self-directed" furloughs are illegal.

The big question with this furlough case and the other two we'll mention is this: Given the California Supreme Court's October furlough decision that the Legislature tacitly approved furloughs through budget legislation, is the lower court litigation still worth considering?

Click here and then here for more background on CCPOA v. Schwarzenegger. Both posts have plenty of history and links to earlier key court documents.

There's no oral argument date set for this case.

November 22, 2010
UPDATE: CCPOA files appellate brief in 'self-directed' furlough case

Editor's update, 8 p.m.: This post now includes a Scribd download of the CCPOA brief filed with the 1st District Court of Appeal.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association filed a 42-page brief on Friday, arguing that the California Supreme Court's furlough ruling last month didn't wipe out an Alameda judge's earlier ruling that "self-directed" furloughs are illegal.

"The governor says that the (Supreme Court's) ruling is a big blanket that you can throw over all furloughs," said Gregg Adam, one of the attorneys with San Francisco law firm Carroll, Burdick & McDonough, which represents CCPOA. "Obviously, we disagree."

Self-directed furloughs deduct an employee's pay at the furlough rate of roughly 15 percent per month, but the time off is deferred. The 32,000 or so correctional officers represented by CCPOA continue to work under self-directed furloughs. They're among the roughly 63,000 state workers represented by unions without current labor pacts.

Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled that self-directed furloughs are illegal. Schwarzenegger appealed the ruling to San Francisco's 1st District Court, where it was on hold until the state Supreme Court ruled on furloughs last month.

The appellate court then asked the governor and the prison officers' union to update their arguments in light of the high court's decision. Schwarzenegger opened with a Nov. 9 filing (click here to read more about it).

CCPOA's response includes these arguments:

November 22, 2010
SEIU files 'special fund' furlough brief in San Francisco

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgSEIU Local 1000 filed a supplemental brief in San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal last Friday. It's a response to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Nov. 8 filing that argues the California Supreme Court's furlough decision knocked out an Alameda judge's ruling that forcing unpaid days off on so-called "special fund" departments is illegal.

Local 1000 attorney Felix De La Torre's 19-page letter brief makes several arguments:

November 16, 2010
CASE: Labor picture grim, legal picture unclear for members

The board of California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment painted a bleak labor picture in an e-mail sent to its 3,700 or so members last week.

It also updated the status of key furlough litigation involving constitutional department employees, the union's State Compensation Insurance Fund members and so-called "special fund" departments. The punchline for all of that litigation: The implications from last month's state Supreme Court furlough decision are still rippling through the court system, and its impact isn't yet clear.

Regarding contract talks, CASE told members that it's highly unlikely that a deal can be done with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even if it happened, the Legislature's schedule and the ratification process would delay any new terms taking effect for several months.

Then there's this grim analysis:

November 10, 2010
Governor's lawyer argues to kill 'special fund' furlough rulings

A state appeals court should reverse a lower court's ruling that state workers in "special fund" departments were illegally furloughed, an attorney for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger argues in documents filed this week in San Francisco.

Attorney David Tyra contends in two mirror-image briefs submitted to the 1st District Court of Appeal that last month's furlough decision by the California Supreme Court "fully disposes of the issues" raised in SEIU Local 1000 v. Schwarzenegger et al. and UAPD v. Schwarzenegger et al..

Nearly a year ago, Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled in both cases that furloughing employees in departments funded entirely or in part with money outside the general fund was an "arbitrary, capricious and unlawful" act. He then ordered those workers returned to full hours and pay. Schwarzenegger immediately appealed, which kept furloughs in place.

Then the state Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 4 that the Legislature had tacitly approved Schwarzenegger's furloughs, which made the policy legal. On Oct. 7, the 1st District Court issued a letter to both state and union attorneys about the SEIU and UAPD cases:

Dear Counsel: As you are undoubtedly aware, on October 4 the Supreme Court filed its opinion in Professional Engineers in California Government v. Schwarzenegger, S183411. Should you conclude that the opinion does not resolve all issues in this appeal, the Court has directed me to inform you that additional briefing addressing the impact of the Supreme Court's decision may be submitted according to the following schedule. Appellants may file an initial supplemental brief no later than November 8, 2010. Respondent may file its brief on or before November 19, 2010. Appellants may file a reply brief no later than November 30, 2010.

That same day, the appellate court set a briefing schedule for California Correctional Peace Officers Association v. Schwarzenegger, another Roesch furlough ruling appealed by the governor. Click here for our recent post about that appeal.

The 1st District Court hasn't yet set a date for oral arguments in any of the cases.

What follows is Tyra's 10-page SEIU brief , which essentially says that applying the guidelines set down by the Supreme Court's ruling undercuts the Roesch decisions. (This link opens a virtually identical Tyra brief addressing the UAPD case.)

Plaintiff's brief in SEIU Local 1000 v.Schwarzenegger

November 9, 2010
Schwarzenegger argues CCPOA furlough lawsuit win invalid

An attorney for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that the California Supreme Court's Oct. 4 furlough decision has invalidated a lower court's furlough lawsuit ruling in favor of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

David Tyra, the administration's lead furlough lawsuit lawyer, argued in papers filed on Monday that the high court's decision settles all of the issues raised in CCPOA v. Schwarzenegger, et al..

CCPOA successfully argued to Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch that "self-directed" furloughs of prison staff and other state workers at 24/7 facilities violated labor law that stipulates compensation must be paid within a given pay cycle. The union maintained the policy is illegal because workers under self-directed furloughs may lose their pay but not take the time off for weeks, months or years.

The law also requires payment rendered in cash, but unredeemed furlough time after June 2012 would have no value, and that was illegal too, CCPOA said. After losing the case and appealing Roesch's ruling to San Francisco's 1st District Court, the administration extended the furlough redemption time indefinitely. It also said that furloughs violated provisions of the Labor Code.

Three days after the state Supreme Court issued its decision that the Legislature tacitly approved Schwarzenegger's furloughs through language tucked into a February 2009 budget bill, the 1st District Court asked the administration and CCPOA to submit arguments on how the Supreme Court's ruling impacted CCPOA v. Schwarzenegger.

Tyra filed his 15-page letter on Monday. His argument, in sum: The Supreme Court said that the Legislature OK'd the governor's furloughs as they existed, making all of CCPOA's arguments moot. The Labor Code argument doesn't hold up, either, because that law doesn't apply to state employers and employees.

The union has until Nov. 19 to respond. The governor may file a reply brief no later than Nov. 30. The court hasn't set a date for oral arguments.

Click here to read the Tyra brief. He also filed a brief in the 1st District Court for Service Employees International Union Local 1000 et al. v. Schwarzenegger et al., which concerns the legality of furloughing "special fund" department employees. We'll have that posted this afternoon, so check back.

November 4, 2010
High court's furlough decision now final

100609 gavel.jpgThe California Supreme Court's decision in Professional Engineers in California Government v. Schwarzenegger is now final.

A month ago, the court unanimously ruled that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't have authority to force state workers to take time off without pay. But, the court said, the Legislature does have that power and tacitly conferred it on Schwarzenegger with budgets that approved the policy.

Since the ruling didn't take effect until now, the administration continued furloughs. The Legislature then approved a 2010-11 budget explicitly and retroactively deputizing the governor to furlough employees whose unions don't have contracts.

Click here to see the court's notice of remittitur on the docket, which signals the official close of the case.

IMAGE: www.yolocourts.ca.gov

November 1, 2010
Caltrans director says department's performance 'extraordinary'

101029 McKim.jpgIn a recent message to department staff, Caltrans Director Cindy McKim praises them for cranking out their work despite furloughs and staffing cuts. The comments appeared in a "Director's Corner" piece for the October edition of Caltrans News. Here's the top of the column:

In 2009-10, Caltrans once again posted impressive achievements toward our goal of improving mobility across California. We delivered 99.3 percent of projects included in our contracts for delivery, obligated all available federal dollars, paved 3,936 miles of highway, and authorized 1,664 state and local construction projects for available federal funds. All of these achievements are remarkable. But with the fact that we did this in the face of furloughs, understaffing, and operating expense reductions, the achievement is elevated from remarkable to extraordinary!

Click here to read the rest.

The Caltrans employee who flagged the item for The State Worker sent it with this comment: "Please look at this. We are working our butts off and no one seems to know. I appreciate the message from our Director, but she's preaching to the choir."

McKim's message and the e-mailer's insight prompted us to think about "attaboys" from management. We want to know what you think. Take our poll:

PHOTO: Cindy McKim / www.dot.ca.gov

October 29, 2010
Caltrans reels in furlough memo

caltrans logo.gifCaltrans has issued a correction to Thursday's memo that had indicated employees represented by SEIU Local 1000 would be subject to furlough until union members ratify a new contract.

"The Department of Administration (DPA) has indicated that for employees in bargaining units with a new contract or one in the works (applicable to Caltrans include (sic) BUs 1,4, 11, 12, 14, 15, and 21) and excluded employees, furloughs are over," wrote Caltrans Deputy Director Cris Rojas, in this e-mail sent to employees just after noon today. "We very much regret the confusion over this issue."

Rojas' e-mail corrects one sent by Caltrans Chief Deputy Director Malcolm Dougherty that had said workers covered by Local 1000 could be furloughed until the union ratifies its new labor deal with the Schwarzenegger administration. The deadline for submitting ballots is Nov. 8 with a tally likely announced that evening or the next day.

After the Dougherty e-mail hit, confused department employees fired off angry e-mails to The State Workers, upset that Caltrans was contradicting what the union and the Department of Personnel Administration had said: October is the last furlough month for the 95,000 employees the local represents. Click here for what we reported about the mixup.

Caltrans employees in bargaining units without contracts are still subject to furloughs, Rojas' e-mail says.

Worth noting: If voting members reject the deal, the Schwarzenegger administration would have plenty of time to direct departments to continue furloughs for employees represented by the local, since the cutoff date for payroll changes is Nov. 18.

A "no" vote by the majority of SEIU members who cast ballots also would mean the union and the (Schwarzenegger? Brown? Whitman?) administration would have to return to the bargaining table.

October 29, 2010
Q&A: Am I on furlough again next month?

Confusion reigns.

From the top of Caltrans down to rank-and-file employees, there appears to be some disagreement about the state's furlough policy next month and thereafter, particularly the status of workers represented by SEIU Local 1000.

Here's the deal, which we'll explain in more detail in a moment:

If your bargaining unit has a current contract or is in the midst of a ratification vote on a new contract, three-days-per-month furloughs are over for you. If you're a manager, supervisor or other non-union employee, you're off the three-day furlough plan, too.

Now, about that confusion.

October 25, 2010
So what will the constitutionals do about furloughs now?

We've been asking constitutional officers for reaction to new furlough instructions from the Department of Personnel Administration, acting on budget bills that allow the administration to furlough state workers.

The instructions, part of a set of Personal Management Liaison memos issued late Thursday afternoon, say that rank-and-file state employees in unions without contracts will continue furloughs of three days per month in November. That includes folks working for the lieutenant governor, the secretary of state, the treasurer, the attorney general, the controller, the superintendent of public instruction and the insurance commissioner.

(The Board of Equalization also is a constitutional agency, but it's among the eight departments and agencies whose employees are exempt from furloughs regardless of contract status.)

October 14, 2010
Column Extra: Read the Department of Social Services memos

101014 john wagner.jpgSpace constraints limit our State Worker column on Thursdays to roughly 425 words, so much of what we learn in the ramp-up to writing never sees print. Column Extras give State Worker blog users more information -- the notes, the quotes and the documents that inform the weekly feature.

Our column in today's fiber/cyber Bee looks at one small sliver of state government, the Department of Social Services, and how a well-intentioned Monday e-mail from Director John Wagner illustrates confusion, even at the highest levels, over how the 2010-11 budget and state employee furloughs.

Click here to read Wagner's Monday memo to the troops. Here's the text of the e-mail issued on Wednesday to reel in the incorrect info.

October 13, 2010
Scientists' and engineers' unions respond to new furlough plan

Two unions have responded to the news we broke in this blog post Tuesday that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to extend three-day-per-month furloughs for state workers in bargaining units without contracts. Furloughs for those employees will start in November and run through June 30, 2011.

The California Association of Professional Scientists sent this memo to its 2,700 or so members this morning.

The key paragraph:

October 12, 2010
Schwarzenegger administration tells unions furloughs are on

Two union sources have told The State Worker that, as we reported earlier today, the Schwarzenegger administration has told labor leaders that furloughs will continue for bargaining units without contracts through June 30, 2011.

The administration informed the unions this afternoon. It doesn't know yet whether the policy will be formalized via executive order or some other means, one union source told us, and it's not clear when the formal announcement will be made.

The 2010-11 budget contains language that allows the governor to use "reductions in employee compensation achieved through the collective bargaining process or through existing administrative actions for represented employees and a proportionate reduction for nonrepresented employees (utilizing existing authority of the administration to adjust compensation for nonrepresented employees) in the total amounts of $896,000,000 from General Fund items and $661,000,000 from items relating to other funds."

The words, "existing administrative actions," is legislative code for furloughs for unionized workers in BUs that don't have a contract.

October 12, 2010
What's ahead for unionized workers without contracts

As the dust settles from last week's Supreme Court furlough decision, the SEIU Local 1000 tentative agreement and the 2010-11 budget legislation, the impact of the interwoven events is becoming more clear.

In this post we'll share some answers to questions about what this means to state workers whose unions don't have a contract.

October 11, 2010
More questions and answers about the SEIU tentative contract

Several dozen blog users have sent the following questions our way, in one form or another, about the SEIU Local 1000 tentative agreement:

Will the terms of the SEIU agreement affect all of its members? Including its members at the agencies that have never been affected by furloughs? (Mainly constitutional agencies.)

The SEIU tentative agreements affect everyone in each bargaining unit, regardless of where they work. If voting members ratify the deal, it's "Hello, 12 unpaid days off," for employees working under constitutional officers, at State Compensation Insurance Fund and other currently furlough-free departments, just like everyone else.

Our guess -- and this is just a guess -- is that it's unlikely that workers covered by the TA and who work in constitutional agencies and departments will have to take any make-up furlough time. Why? Because the governor used his line-item veto power to cut the constitutionals' budget by amounts equal to the payroll savings from furloughs. Reaching back to impose furlough makeups -- or imposing them now -- would be a sort of budgetary double-jeopardy.

However, we've asked the Department of Personnel Administration its position. We'll let you know what they say.

If the contract is effective July 1, 2010 then how will we make up the 3 percent increase in our pension payments for July, August, September, October, and November? Will they pro rate the increases for those months over a period of time?

The increased pension payments start the pay period after the deal is ratified. The rate won't be prorated to make up for lower contributions at the start of the 2010-11 fiscal year.

October 8, 2010
Q&A: The budget bill and the SEIU tentative agreement

Thursday's news rush (the new SEIU labor deal, the governor's latest executive order, the 800-page budget bill , an avalanche of e-mails and phone calls and our responsibility to blog and write this story for today's Bee) has given way to a slightly less frenetic "Furlough Friday" (so far at least).

So let's take a few minutes to tackle some of the most common questions sent our way about the budget bill and the SEIU contract:

October 5, 2010
Chat follow-up: Furlough Friday (?), the budget, Columbus Day

Thumbnail image for 101001 caht logo.JPG* As we noted in our web chat this morning, the Schwarzenegger administration hasn't called off the "Furlough Friday" scheduled for this week, despite Monday's ruling by the California Supreme Court that furloughs have to be approved by the Legislature.

Here's what an e-mail from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's spokesman Aaron McLear said: "The (Supreme Court's) order does not go into effect for 30 days so it does not affect Friday's (scheduled) furlough day."

That could change, however. Lawmakers could pass a budget between now and Friday that doesn't include anticipated savings from an Oct. 8 furlough day.

* Or it might. According to this report in today's Bee by Capitol Bureau colleague Kevin Yamamura, the budget deal under consideration includes roughly $900 million in cuts to employee compensation.

We've also heard, contrary to what we said during today's chat, that Schwarzenegger is prepared to sign a new budget within a day of the Legislature passing it. (It usually takes about a week for a bill to reach the governor's desk after passage.) If the Legislature passes a budget Thursday as currently planned, the governor could sign it Friday.

* Several chat users asked whether Columbus Day -- which is observed on Oct. 11 this year -- is a paid day off for state workers, given the recent ruling in Sacramento Superior Court that forcing employees in some bargaining units to work that day and Lincoln's Birthday violated their contracts.

As we noted during the chat, next Monday is a regular workday because the court's order doesn't take effect for 60 days. The administration could have decided to recognize the holiday, union attorney Gerald James told The State Worker, but it didn't. The Department of Personnel Administration addresses the issue on its website, which you can access by clicking here.

October 5, 2010
State Worker live chat, radio interview set for this morning

101001 caht logo.JPG

The State Worker blog is hosting an hour-long chat this morning to discuss the California Supreme Court's Monday morning furlough ruling. You can join the live session here from 11 a.m. to noon. If you miss the session you can replay it later, since we'll archive it here.

Before that, at 10 a.m., we'll spend a few minutes with Jeffrey Callison on Capitol Public Radio's "Insight" on KXJZ (90.9 FM). Click here for the show's page with a link to the streamed webcast.

October 4, 2010
California Supreme Court ruling on furloughs
The California Supreme Court has just issued its decision in Professional Engineers in California Government, et al. v. Schwarzenegger, et al.

Read the furlough decision here.
October 4, 2010
How the state Supreme Court reached its furlough ruling

100602 yolo county gavel.jpgWe don't know yet what the California Supreme Court will say about furloughs this morning, but we do have a sense of how the court reached its decision.

Here's a quick sketch of how the court writes its rulings:

October 1, 2010
State Worker furlough chat set for Tuesday

101001 caht logo.JPG

Next week, The State Worker blog will host an hour-long chat about the California Supreme Court's much-anticipated Monday morning furlough ruling. You can plug into the live session right here on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to noon. We'll take questions and ask some of our own during what is sure to be a lively 60 minutes.

(Yes, we know it's not an ideal time, but we'll be tied up Monday with the court news. Another chat has been scheduled for the noon hour on Tuesday. We figured Wednesday was too late. So we picked the least-bad time for our event.)

If you can't join the conversation live, you can replay it later on this blog, since The Bee archives chats.

IMAGE: sacbee.com/live

October 1, 2010
Poll: How will the California Supreme Court rule on furloughs?

As reported this morning, the California Supreme Court will issue its decision in
Professional Engineers in California Government, et al. v. Schwarzenegger, et al. on Monday morning. We suspect it's going to be an anxious weekend for many state workers affected by the court's ruling.

Here's a two-part poll about the upcoming ruling. Tell us what you think:

October 1, 2010
UPDATED: California Supreme Court to issue furlough ruling Monday

The California Supreme Court has just announced that it will publish its decision in the state worker furlough matter, Professional Engineers in California Government, et al. v. Schwarzenegger, et al. on Monday at 10 a.m. There's no tip in the announcement what the court has decided.

The ruling will affect more than 200,000 state employees forced to take unpaid days off by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger since February 2009. State workers absorbed 46 furlough days through June 30 of this year, cutting approximately $3 billion from state payroll costs. About half of that was general fund savings.

In August, after state budget talks deadlocked, Schwarzenegger restarted the "Furlough Friday" policy, which closes the government the second, third and fourth Fridays of the month until a 2010-11 budget deal is done.

SEIU Local 1000, which represents 95,000 state employees and unions for state attorneys and state engineers all sued the governor over the order nearly two years ago and lost in Sacramento Superior Court. The state Supreme Court last summer decided to take the three cases as one and ordered a quick schedule that culminated in a Sept. 8 hearing in San Francisco.

The court had 90 days after the hearing to render its decision, but legal experts figured a ruling would come much sooner, given the high-profile nature of the case and its potential impact on the state's budget.

There are roughly 40 furlough lawsuits in various lower courts around the state, but legal experts say Monday's ruling could settle them.

The state Supreme Court also took a fourth furlough case involving employees at the State Compensation Insurance Fund. It hasn't yet been scheduled for a hearing.

Click here to read the California Supreme Court's notice.

October 1, 2010
California Supreme Court to issue furlough ruling on Monday

The California Supreme Court has just announced that it will publish its decision in the state worker furlough matter, Professional Engineers in California Government, et el. v. Schwarzenegger, et al. on Monday at 10 a.m. There's no tip in the announcement what the court has decided.

Click here to read the court's notice.

September 10, 2010
From the notebook: Roussos analyzes Supreme Court hearing

"From the notebook" posts give State Worker blog users insights, notes and quotes that went into news stories that we write.

We quoted Athena Roussos, an Elk Grove-based appellate attorney who has argued before the California Supreme Court, in this story about the California Supreme Court hearing in the PECG v. Schwarzenegger furlough case.

Roussos said plenty more about the hearing when we spoke on Wednesday afternoon. Here are some of her thoughts after viewing the oral arguments:

September 10, 2010
State Fund furlough remedy isn't settled

As we noted in Thursday's State Worker column, there may be some thorny legal issues about the remedy for more than 200,000 state workers if the California Supreme Court rules that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger illegally furloughed them.

That got us thinking about the State Compensation Insurance Fund's 7,900 employees. Two trial courts concluded that furloughing them violated state insurance code barring "staff cutbacks" (a unique law that applies only to State Fund employees) and ordered back pay with interest. We wondered in July 2009, "How do you compensate everyone for their furlough hours?"

The post raised simple questions of fairness. Turns out, according to Controller John Chiang's attorney, Robin Johansen, that there may be a "raft" of complex legal hurdles, too.

(Worth noting: Johansen's concern that paying state workers back wages for furloughs even though they didn't work might be a "gift of public funds" might not apply to State Fund, since it operates on money paid by policyholders, not tax revenues.)

So we called State Fund spokewoman Jennifer Vargen on Wednesday and asked how the fund settled the back pay question.

"That has not yet been resolved here at State Fund," Vargen said.

What?

"Many employees are aware that we may be asked to put in vacation hours, depending on how the furlough rulings go," Vargen said.

Employees who worked on their furlough days and received back pay plus 7 percent are fine. It's the employees who took the pay hit and the time off who may wind up paying back the court-ordered remedy, Vargen said.

September 9, 2010
Chat replay: Jon Ortiz talks furloughs

September 8, 2010
Live chat replay
September 8, 2010
The Bee to host live chats this morning and Thursday

While we're in San Francisco this morning to cover oral arguments at the California Supreme Court in the PECG v. Schwarzenegger furlough case, The Bee has arranged to stream the 9 a.m hearing live and provide users a chance to simultaneously interact with Bee columnist Dan Walters.

Clicking here opens the live coverage/chat page. This link explains the rules of the road for participants.

If you can't join the discussion live, you can view it later on the same site.

On a related note, The State Worker will host a chat on the same web page on Thursday. We'll start at noon and go for an hour. We hope you can join us.

September 7, 2010
Wednesday state Supreme Court hearing looms

Wednesday's California Supreme Court hearing is dead ahead, set for Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. and scheduled to run for 90 minutes. Here's a previous post with details about how you can watch the oral arguments in Professional Engineers in California Government v. Schwarzenegger on TV or the Internet.

It's been a long road to this key moment. Looking back at the 1,900 posts on this blog since it started a little over two years ago, references to the state Supreme Court taking and furloughs case go back to early 2009. We're talking about 60 items on The State Worker.

We'll be attending the hearing. Between now and then, we'll be looking through past stories and court filings leading up to the case and writing a bit for tomorrow's Bee. If you want to do the same, here are some links. Many of the blog posts link to court filings or other pertinent info:

September 3, 2010
Supreme Court furlough hearings to be broadcast on web, TV

The California Supreme Court has announced it will broadcast Wednesday's 9 a.m. oral arguments in Professional Engineers in California Government v. Schwarzenegger.

The California Channel will air events live on cable television and on its website, www.calchannel.com. We expect the hearing will run about 90 minutes.

The justices will hear debate over whether Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger illegally furloughed state workers. The case has repercussions for roughly 40 furlough lawsuits in lower courts around the state.

The court will rule within 90 days, although legal experts we've interviewed expect a published decision much sooner. Click here to read more about what to expect during the state Supreme Court hearing and after it.

Hat tip to blog user M for flagging this.

September 2, 2010
Plan collapses to name building after state Supreme Court justice

State Worker blog users who missed the news will be interested in this report about a resolution that aimed to name a building after retiring state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George. It failed, and its failure is tied to the union's furlough litigation that will be argued next week in George's court.

Hat tip to Torey Van Oot at our sister blog, Capitol Alert, for picking off the resolution's saga in the blizzard of legislation that lawmakers pushed through this week before the end of their session on Tuesday.

August 27, 2010
Judge's tentative ruling on minimum wage issues becomes final

Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgAttorneys representing Controller John Chiang and the Department of Personnel Administration met in Sacramento Superior Court on Thursday to debate several highly technical minimum wage issues. The two sides are moving toward a full hearing on whether the controller can refuse to comply with DPA's instruction to withhold state workers' pay to the federal minimum allowed during the budget impasse.

Nothing that Judge Patrick Marlette heard changed his mind. The tentative ruling he issued on Wednesday stands as the his final decision. It sets the framework for the legal issues that are in play as the two sides now fully engage in the minimum wage compliance debate.

Next up: Another status hearing on Sept. 23. Look for the governor's side to push for a quick hearing date, while Chiang's lawyers will likely argue for a later date so that they can have more time to prepare.

August 26, 2010
Read CalPERS / CalSTRS furlough filing to Supreme Court

As we reported here, CalPERS and CalSTRS have filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate to the state Supreme Court, seeking to block Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's July 28 furlough order.
Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpg
Click here to download the 126-page brief.

August 26, 2010
More furlough, minimum wage lawsuits filed

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgLet's catch up on lawsuit news.

Professional Engineers in California Government andCalifornia Association of Professional Scientists have filed a lawsuit in Sacramento to stop Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest furlough order. CalPERS and CalSTRS have jointly filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate with the state Supreme Court with the same aim. Here's an internal memo sent Monday to CalPERS employees from fund CEO Anne Stausboll that lays out the details:

August 25, 2010
Judge issues tentative ruling on minimum wage issues

Judge Patrick Marlette has published his tentative ruling on several legal criticisms of the Department of Personnel Administration's pay letter that ordered state worker pay withheld to the federal minimums allowed until lawmakers craft a budget.

It's a complicated document that assumes an understanding of the issues raised by State Controller John Chiang and the rebuttals offered by DPA. To sum up, DPA wins some arguments and some issues were left open to more litigation, which keeps alive some of Chiang's objections to the order.

Example: Chiang said that state workers' pay should be withheld at the California minimum wage rate instead of the federal minimum ordered by DPA. Marlette sided with DPA.

Example: Chiang contended that executing the minimum wage order would lead to Fair Labor Standards Act violations. Marlette left that question open to more litigation.

The two sides will meet in court Thursday at 1:30 p.m. to argue points and set deadlines for filing more papers. Marlette could also also set a hearing date to debate whether Chiang's office has the capacity to execute the minimum wage order. None of the items addressed in Marlette's tentative ruling today will keep the court from considering that issue.

Want to get deeply into today's ruling? Here's how:

Click here to open Chiang's cross-complaint.
Click here to open DPA's rebuttal.
Click here to open Marlette's tentative ruling. You'll need to cross reference the first two documents to understand the judge's decisions.

August 25, 2010
State worker says furloughs violate 'long standing principle'

In the interest of this blog's function as a forum, The State Worker occasionally publishes e-mails from blog users. Here's one from Caltrans supervisor Bob Dougherty that we're posting unedited and with his permission.

The e-mail, which touches on a number of subjects, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's newest furlough policy, represents Dougherty's personal opinion, not that of his employer or colleagues.

August 20, 2010
The state's 'Furlough Friday' schedule

Well, it's the first "Furlough Friday" under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest executive order, the first of three days this month that approximately 144,000 state workers will take off without pay.

Obviously, state hospitals, state prisons and other essential 24/7 facilities are open. The DMV is closed, but the Employment Development Department is open to take unemployment claims.

The governor's July 28 order exempts several departments and entire groups of employees. Staff working for statewide officials such as Attorney General Jerry Brown and Controller John Chiang are continuing to work for full pay, too, since none of the constitutional officers is complying with Schwarzenegger's furlough mandate.

Others are working, such as state correctional officers, but will still have their pay reduced with the understanding that at some point they'll take the commensurate time off. Many managers and superviso