Appellate Court Stays Prior Rule, Suspends Governor’s Furloughs
On Friday, state workers are expected to report to work after the First District Court of Appeals ruled that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) furlough order would remain suspended temporarily, the Sacramento Bee reports (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 8/13).
The Thursday ruling upholds an earlier decision by Alameda Superior Court Judge Steven Brick. In his ruling, Brick questioned the legality of Schwarzenegger's furlough program and issued a temporary restraining order to cancel the furloughs until a court hearing on Sept. 13 (Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 8/13).
A spokesperson for the governor said Schwarzenegger plans to appeal the decision on Friday to the California Supreme Court. The governor has argued that the furloughs are necessary to preserve funding for health and safety programs during the state's budget crisis.
If the state Supreme Court rules in favor of the governor's appeal, the furlough program could resume next Friday.
Furloughs and Labor Unions
The governor's furlough order would have required more than 144,000 state employees to take three unpaid days off monthly (Sacramento Bee, 8/13).
The furloughs would not have affected state employees who either work for an exempted agency or belong to one of six state worker unions that previously reached a labor deal with Schwarzenegger. The Union of American Physicians and Dentists, which represents 1,800 state employees, is among the groups that would have been exempt from the furloughs (California Healthline, 8/11).
However, the furloughs would have affected many workers represented by Service Employees International Union Local 1000. Felix De La Torre, senior staff attorney for SEIU Local 1000, praised Thursday's appellate court ruling because he said it "means many state workers will have the ability to put food on the table and buy medicine" (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/13).
Assembly OKs Labor Union Agreements
In related news, the Assembly on Thursday approved contracts with three state labor unions, including the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians.
The contracts would require new workers to:
- Work five years longer to receive full benefits;
- Contribute more toward their retirement; and
- Take one unpaid day off monthly.
The Senate is slated to review the bargaining agreements next week (Bussewitz, AP/Contra Costa Times, 8/12).
On Thursday, Capitol Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on the appellate court's decision to uphold the suspension of Schwarzenegger's furlough order (Lieszkovszky, "KXJZ News," Capitol Public Radio, 8/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.