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CA Puts 200K Workers On Minimum Wage

From an outraged Sacramento Bee:

Governor puts 200,000 state workers on minimum wage

By Jon Ortiz
Friday, Jul. 2, 2010

Roughly 200,000 state workers will receive minimum wage paychecks next month under terms of an order issued Thursday by the Schwarzenegger administration.

According to a letter delivered to Controller John Chiang in late afternoon, July pay for most hourly state employees will be withheld to the minimum allowed by federal law – $7.25 an hour – and then restored once there’s a budget.

Rats! It’s only temporary. And, worse still, it probably won’t even happen:

Chiang, whose office cuts state paychecks, said Thursday that he won’t follow the order unless a court tells him to.

Mr. Chiang should be fired for insubordination and lose his own Cadillac pension from the ‘Golden State.’ That should help their deficit a little.

The letter from the governor’s Department of Personnel Administration instructs Chiang to withhold employees’ pay because the state started the 2010-11 fiscal year Thursday without a budget appropriating money for payroll. Hours earlier, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger officially ended 17 months of furloughs for state workers

But we won’t hear much about the ending of these furloughs. We will only hear about the threat that these poor hard-working public sector employees might only get minimum wage until a new budget is passed – when they will receive all of their back pay — probably with interest.

Chiang, who has appealed the lawsuit he lost for refusing to comply two years ago with similar instructions, called the minimum wage order "political tricks" that he will resist.

"Again, absent a final court ruling, I will continue to protect the state’s finances and pay full wages earned by state employees," Chiang said in a statement Thursday evening…

Schwarzenegger is invoking a 2003 state Supreme Court decision as grounds for the order. The ruling in White v. Davis held that without a state budget with money appropriated for payroll, wages can be withheld to the federal minimum. Back pay would be issued once a budget is enacted.

Note how far down this minor detail is buried.

The threat of minimum wage has prodded several unions into contract talks with Schwarzenegger. Last month six unions – representing doctors, highway patrol officers, firefighters and psychiatric technicians, equipment operators, and health and social service professionals – tentatively agreed to pacts lowering retirement benefits for new state hires and increasing what all their members will pay into their pensions.

Reducing the state’s cost for pension benefits has been a policy centerpiece for Schwarzenegger. In exchange for those concessions, he promised the six unions that they would be shielded from minimum wage.

In other words, Mr. Schwarzenegger has had to resort to this drastic action to try get some kind of relief from California’s runaway union contracts. But you would never know it, unless you read the whole article and are good at parsing.

When the administration issued similar pay instructions during a 2008 budget impasse, Chiang refused to comply over concerns that doing so would violate federal law. He also asserted that the decades-old computerized payroll system couldn’t handle changing pay for the 240,000 or so state workers affected by the governor’s instruction.

But you can bet this same “decades-old computerized payroll system” has no problem handling across the board pay increases.

The administration sued Chiang and eventually won in early 2009. By then a budget was in place, so the governor’s order was moot.

Chiang appealed the decision. Sacramento’s 3rd District Court of Appeal heard oral arguments June 21 and could issue a decision any day

Again, we have to ask why does Mr. Chiang still have a job anywhere in the California state government?

Meanwhile, if you ever wonder if there are any other reasons besides the unions as to why California is in the fiscal mess it is in, we have these glad tidings from the Associated Press:

Lawmakers pass $20M settlement for kidnapped girl

By DON THOMPSON (AP)

July 2, 2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California lawmakers approved a $20 million settlement Thursday with the family of Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped as a girl and held captive in a secret backyard for 18 years by a paroled sex offender

Dugard and her daughters, ages 15 and 12, filed claims in February, saying state officials with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation failed to do their jobs. Parole agents began supervising Garrido in 1999 but didn’t discover Dugard…

The money will be used to buy the family a home, ensure privacy, pay for education, replace lost income and cover what will likely be years of therapy, said retired San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Daniel Weinstein, who acted as the mediator in the case.

In addition, much of the money will be placed in long-term investments, he said

Weinstein praised the state for quickly accepting responsibility, and the Dugards for accepting a reasonable settlement at a time when the state faces a $19 billion budget deficit.

The money will come from the state’s hard-hit general fund, which pays for most state operations

Obviously, Mr. Obama’s ‘Pay Czar’ Mr. Feinberg was wrong. There is enough money in the world to pay everybody who’d like to have money.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, July 2nd, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “CA Puts 200K Workers On Minimum Wage”

  1. untrainable says:

    How does temporarily paying minimum wage do anything for the deficit? As you say, they will get their back pay when a new budget is passed “probably with interest”. So the state of CollyFornea will in the long run end up paying more out than they would have had they just gone ahead and paid on time.

    Smoke and mirrors to cover… what?

  2. proreason says:

    Of course this is grandstanding…..but there is an underlying truth.

    It really is us vs them.

    Either government workers get their impossible to fire 8 to 5 jobs with long lunches, multiple work breaks, gold-plated sick leave, platinum retirement benefits, doing non-productive, bean-counting, pretend-i’m-regulating work…….or Americans get jobs to feed their families. (note: military and public safety jobs excluded. All others included.)

    It’s that simple.

  3. NoNeoCommies says:

    Then there is the next schools waste/ripoff scandal from the “nothing to see here” crowd that scream for more money but never allow close inspection of how they spend it: http://cbs13.com/local/On.The.Money.2.1781953.html
    It seems millions are wasted on no bid roofing contracts.
    What else is happening that we haven’t yet heard of?

  4. Rusty Shackleford says:

    In DC, the report reads: “200K minimum wage jobs created in California”.

  5. Right of the People says:

    “Again, absent a final court ruling, I will continue to protect the state’s finances and pay full wages earned by state employees,” Chiang said in a statement Thursday evening…

    Reading the above statement if Chaing actually followed through and paid full wages to employees who “earned” them, that would solve their entire budget problem since I doubt if more than 1 out of 100 actually earn the money they’re paid.

  6. Liberals Demise says:

    Maybe Ah-Nulled should bend the Union officials over a table and rip deficit
    reductions out of their arse.

    Two really big problems taken care of with the use of one table.


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