Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's Back

Yesterday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that state workers would once again be forced to take three days a month off without pay. The governor declared a fiscal emergency, which allows for the cut in pay and services, after the state treasurer announced that he would have to start issuing IOUs because of a cash shortage.

This would almost sound reasonable and necessary if it weren't for the fact that the involuntary furlough program ordered by the governor would last only until he was given a budget he could sign and for the fact that it primarily only affects workers whose unions didn't sign new agreements reducing pension benefits for their newest members.

From the Los Angeles Times:

More than 150,000 California state workers will again face unpaid furloughs, beginning in August, after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday declared a financial state of emergency and ordered them to take three days off per month.

Starting the second Friday in August, much of California's government, including Department of Motor Vehicles offices, will be shuttered three times a month at least until a state budget is in place. ...

The governor's order exempted tens of thousands of workers whose unions have struck tentative labor contracts with his administration. Those deals include cutbacks in pension benefits and other concessions.

Al Groh, executive director of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, said avoiding the new furloughs was a major reason his union made recent contract compromises.

"It's one less anxiety for our members," he said of the union's 1,800 state employees.

Groh said the new furlough order was Schwarzenegger's attempt to push more unions into similar givebacks.

"That's the way he does business," Groh said. "He leverages people very strongly."

Al Groh should get the award for "Understatement of the Year." He should also be in the running for "Spineless Union Leader of the Decade."

And the Governator?

Well, let's just say that he's in a class of his own.



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