Gov. Orders Minimum Wage for State Workers; Doctors Affected
Yesterday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) administration instructed state Controller John Chiang (D) to pay hourly state employees minimum wage until lawmakers pass a budget, the Sacramento Bee reports. If the order is implemented, about 200,000 state workers would start receiving wages of $7.25Â per hourÂ next month.
The state began its new fiscal year on Thursday without a budget to appropriate funds for payroll. As a result, the governor's Department of Personnel Administration instructed Chiang to withhold workers' pay except for the minimum amount mandated by federal law (Ortiz, Sacramento Bee, 7/2).
Salaried managers and supervisors are slated to earn $455 weekly until a budget is approved (Trujillo, Sacramento Business Journal, 7/1).
Meanwhile, certain state workers such as physicians and attorneys will go without pay entirely because federal law exempts them from minimum wage rules (Sacramento Bee, 7/2).
Once a budget is in place, state workers who experienced wage cuts would receive back pay (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/2).
Some Unions Exempt From Wage Cut
Six unions that represent about 37,000 state workers would not be subject to the pay reduction because they have agreed to contract concessions that exempt them from the governor's minimum wage order. The Legislature still must approve those agreements (Capitol Weekly, 7/1).
The unions that reached the tentative deals with Schwarzenegger are:
- The Union of American Physicians and Dentists;
- The International Union of Operating Engineers (California Healthline, 6/29);
- The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Bargaining Unit 19, which represents health and social service workers;
- The California Association of Highway Patrolmen;
- The California Association of Psychiatric Technicians; and
- The California Department of Forestry Firefighters Local 2881 (California Healthline, 6/17).
Chiang Says He Will Not Cut Pay
On Thursday, Chiang said he will not follow the governor's directive to reduce paychecks to minimum wage unless the court orders him to, calling the move an example of "political tricks" (Sacramento Bee, 7/2).
Schwarzenegger attempted the same order last year, but Chiang opposed it on the grounds that it is against federal law. The issue still is in litigation (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 7/1).
Furloughs Officially LiftedIn related news, the Department of Personnel Administration issued letters this week instructing the State Controller's Office to terminate the monthly furlough days that the governor imposed on state workers during the previous fiscal year (Ortiz, "The State Worker", Sacramento Bee, 7/1). 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.