Wednesday, 16 May 2012
Questions swirl around Jerry Brown's plan to cut state workers' hours
One day after Gov. Jerry Brown proposed sweeping changes to state government work schedules, many employees were still deciphering what it means for them.
Brown wants to move most of California's 214,000 workers to four-day workweeks and 9.5-hour shifts starting July 1. The change would reduce state workers' hours and pay by 5 percent each month and cut state payroll by about $839 million, $401 million of it from the deficit-ridden general fund. Many departments would be closed on Fridays, some on Mondays.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from reader emails and comments on sacbee.com:
>So now what?
Marty Morgenstern, the Brown administration's Labor and Economic Development Agency secretary, said the state will meet with departments and labor union officials to hammer out the particulars.
Look for those talks to heat up immediately, because Brown wants the new arrangements in place in time for the July 1 start of the 2012-13 fiscal year.
>Are the unions going for it?
It's difficult to make a blanket characterization: A dozen unions represent 181,000 state workers divided into 21 bargaining units who perform thousands of different jobs.
But it's clear that labor had a hand in shaping the proposal. For example, Brown's budget also calls for cutting back on outside contracts for services such as janitorial and security work and computer technology consultants.
By giving SEIU what it wants, it raises the likelihood that the 95,000-member union will go along with Brown's furlough plan and make it harder for the other smaller unions to resist.
>State workers are all under contract right now. Doesn't this violate those agreements?
Brown says he wants to honor the bargaining process, but that doesn't mean that the contracts would need to be reopened. The changes could be enacted through short side-letter agreements that focus on the scheduling changes and nothing else.
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