Pay Cut for Most State Workers to $7.25 ..or Less

As many of you know my husband works for CALTRANS.  For the past year, almost all state workers have had mandatory “Furlough Fridays”–they are forced to take unpaid Fridays three times per month. For us, it wasn’t a hardship so much as a joy to have my husband home but for others it sent them spinning into bankruptcy or simply struggling to squeeze out enough to pay the bills. It cut a little more than 1/7 of the average worker’s salary or 13.8% or the equivalent of about 7 weeks of pay per year.

Yesterday, nearly simultaneously, the furloughs were lifted and (what the right hand giveth, the left hand taketh away–with a vengeance) Governor Schwarzenegger ordered all workers to be put on Federal minimum wage–which is seventy-five cents less per hour than California minimum wage. Yes, that is right.  California State workers now make less than California minimum wage. Actually, that is not strictly true. Some workers, managers and salaried employees, will be making $455 a week. Others, like some doctors and lawyers, get zip.  Yep, the Federal Law mandates that Doctors and lawyers don’t have a minimum wage so they get nothing.

Last fall, the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education put out a policy brief on furloughs that stated, “The reduction in spending will have a multiplier effect in the economies of cities and counties with large numbers of state workers, resulting in a loss of private sector jobs and a potential increase in home foreclosures.”  Taking Sacramento County as an example, the furloughs was projected to lose around 4100 private jobs in that area alone.  In fact, the brief concluded that “…[d]rawing on standard economic theory and empirical research we find that the furloughs are a particularly inefficient method of addressing the budget deficit.”

I think we are going to find that addressing California’s budget deficit on the backs of state employee’s yet again by reducing their pay to below California minimum wage is also going to be “particularly inefficient.”   Humboldt County, for instance, has what the North Coast Journal calls  “our relatively high number of local and state government workers.”  These public sector jobs support private sector jobs as the public employees spend their salaries.  How much are they going to have to spend when their wages are cut so significantly?  How many public employees will be forced into foreclosure by these cuts?  And how many private sector employees are going to lose jobs and houses as a result?

Hopefully, the budget impasse will be solved before Humboldt County is affected and before too many lives are damaged more.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

14 comments

  • K at the bookstore

    But the ruling, if upheld, won’t actually save the state money in the long run: State workers who experience pay cuts would be reimbursed once a state budget is in place. Most state employees are paid monthly at the end of the month, so if a budget is in place before the end of July, they would not receive a reduced paycheck.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/02/BA8U1E8QJQ.DTL&tsp=1#ixzz0sZgBNz74

  • K at the bookstore

    But the ruling, if upheld, won’t actually save the state money in the long run: State workers who experience pay cuts would be reimbursed once a state budget is in place. Most state employees are paid monthly at the end of the month, so if a budget is in place before the end of July, they would not receive a reduced paycheck.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/02/BA8U1E8QJQ.DTL&tsp=1#ixzz0sZgBNz74

  • Not only were the furloughs not likely to save money but the unions are suing to regain the furlough money so in fact, the state could lose money ( though causing much suffering in the process).

    The wage cuts are different–they aren’t even intended to really save money. They seem to be intended as a bargaining tool–agree to the Governor’s proposals or suffer.The workers will eventually be repaid but not until after they have been forced into what, in some cases, are some awful situations. So the public workers suffer, the private sector may lose more jobs, and the state doesn’t save money. Seems like a lose lose proposition to me.

  • Not only were the furloughs not likely to save money but the unions are suing to regain the furlough money so in fact, the state could lose money ( though causing much suffering in the process).

    The wage cuts are different–they aren’t even intended to really save money. They seem to be intended as a bargaining tool–agree to the Governor’s proposals or suffer.The workers will eventually be repaid but not until after they have been forced into what, in some cases, are some awful situations. So the public workers suffer, the private sector may lose more jobs, and the state doesn’t save money. Seems like a lose lose proposition to me.

  • If I understand correctly, the state controller has refused to honor the courts ruling to cut pay checks at federal minimum wage. Also, the controller stated that the state computer systems were/are unable to cut checks at at reduced rate–the sytem won’t be updated until 2012

  • If I understand correctly, the state controller has refused to honor the courts ruling to cut pay checks at federal minimum wage. Also, the controller stated that the state computer systems were/are unable to cut checks at at reduced rate–the sytem won’t be updated until 2012

  • The fight is getting fierce.

    “This is not a simple software problem. Reducing pay and then restoring it in a timely manner once a budget is enacted cannot be done without gross violations of law unless and until the State completes its overhaul of the state payroll system and payroll laws are changed” according to Chiang the state controller “I will move quickly to ask the courts to definitively resolve the issue of whether our current payroll system is capable of complying with the minimum-wage order in a way that protects taxpayers from billions of dollars in fines and penalties.”

    While Chiang continues that battle, state employee unions are also gearing up their legal machinery to fight the new minimum-wage order.

    “If (Schwarzenegger) tries to cut everybody’s pay to minimum wage, there probably would be a number of legal challenges,” said Bruce Blanning, executive director of the Professional Engineers in California Government. “Our view is that when people do their job, they should get paid.”

    Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/07/03/2866778/court-sides-with-schwarzenegger.html#ixzz0sdPQXboH

  • The fight is getting fierce.

    “This is not a simple software problem. Reducing pay and then restoring it in a timely manner once a budget is enacted cannot be done without gross violations of law unless and until the State completes its overhaul of the state payroll system and payroll laws are changed” according to Chiang the state controller “I will move quickly to ask the courts to definitively resolve the issue of whether our current payroll system is capable of complying with the minimum-wage order in a way that protects taxpayers from billions of dollars in fines and penalties.”

    While Chiang continues that battle, state employee unions are also gearing up their legal machinery to fight the new minimum-wage order.

    “If (Schwarzenegger) tries to cut everybody’s pay to minimum wage, there probably would be a number of legal challenges,” said Bruce Blanning, executive director of the Professional Engineers in California Government. “Our view is that when people do their job, they should get paid.”

    Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/07/03/2866778/court-sides-with-schwarzenegger.html#ixzz0sdPQXboH

  • Confidential to Black Flag–I’m not sure what happened I tried to rescue your comment from spam and it disappeared.

  • Confidential to Black Flag–I’m not sure what happened I tried to rescue your comment from spam and it disappeared.

  • I don’t remember but did I hear any comments on our gov. proposal to eliminate welfare and medical care or children which would save 1.2 billion and loses 3.4 billion in federal matching funds. Meanwhile the corporations are stilling getting tax breaks. all this because of 13 republicans that due to prop. 13 control the state legislature.

    • I don’t think I wrote a post about it but in personal life for awhile I ranted at everyone about how the as yet unimplemented tax break for corporations would almost exactly save those programs for women and children. It wouldn’t even take away something the corporations already had, it would just keep them from getting something new and save some wonderful programs.

  • I don’t remember but did I hear any comments on our gov. proposal to eliminate welfare and medical care or children which would save 1.2 billion and loses 3.4 billion in federal matching funds. Meanwhile the corporations are stilling getting tax breaks. all this because of 13 republicans that due to prop. 13 control the state legislature.

    • I don’t think I wrote a post about it but in personal life for awhile I ranted at everyone about how the as yet unimplemented tax break for corporations would almost exactly save those programs for women and children. It wouldn’t even take away something the corporations already had, it would just keep them from getting something new and save some wonderful programs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *