No More Furlough Fridays

Rather than lay off workers due to budgetary constraints, the state decided last year to impose mandatory furloughs, which effectively meant a 15 percent pay cut. These furloughs were overturned yesterday by a Superior Court Judge, Frank Roesch, of Alameda County. Some 70,000 workers at 66 agencies will now be going back to work full time. They account for about one-third of state employees who have been subject to compulsory furloughs for the past year.

Agencies affected by Judge Roesch’s ruling include the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Parks and Recreation Department, the Public Utilities Commission, the Employment Development Department, and the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. In each case, the agencies rceive all or most of their funding from sources other than the state general fund.

What could potentially complicate matters further is the decision that workers are entitled to back pay for days on which they were furloughed. While he stands by his ruling, Judge Roesch has agreed to keep a stay on that decision while his ruling is appealed.

And appealed it will be. Governor Scharzenegger responded as bluntly as possible: “We don’t have enough money.” Meanwhile union officials described the ruling as “an important victory, not just for workers but also for members of the public who need the state services.” In other words, the lines at the DMV and other state services could be getting shorter very soon.
Read More at CBS 5.


  1. If they’re not being paid out of the general fund, furloughing them doesn’t add any money to the general fund and giving them back pay doesn’t take any money out of the general fund.

  2. Lesson Learned:  Arnie tried to spread the pain to all workers, rather than lay off thousands of them.  That approach, as accomodating as it was, didn’t work.  Henceforth, firing employees is the only answer.

    Corollary:  Using a furlough technique, versus an outright cut in hourly pay, is highly beneficial to the unions and their employees.  That’s because, when good times return, the unions can appeal to have the furlough terminated.  Restoring prior wages, however, would require several years of pay raises.

  3. How is this anything other than a Pyrrhic victory for the unions?  Now the state has no choice but to lay them off (which is fine with me).

    Actually, if the rest of the state unions are anything like the teachers union, it’s a win for union leadership.  They can keep their salaries while everyone else loses their jobs.  What I’ll never understand is why the rank-and-file union members put up with it.

    If the answer is they want layoffs because they keep their huge pensions, I’m going to puke.

  4. Things are really messed up and our politicians don’t give a damn!

    A judge that is paid with taxpayer money stops the one action that helps save money?

    The state’s budget is running ~$25 billion deficit, Santa Clara County ~$250 million, the City of San Jose ~$116 million. At what point in time does it become clearly obvious that cuts need to be made?

    The relationship between the unions and our elected officials is killing us; the leverage both have on each other comes at the expense of the taxpayer, in particular the middle class.

    Why should the taxpayer have to absorb any service cuts or tax increases until our government solves the problem that they created in the first place?

    Time to elect people who are willing to fall on their swords in an effort to change the status quo.

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