It seems that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has negotiated with Service Employees International Employees Union (SEIU) Local 1000, representing 95,000 state workers to eliminate two paid holidays, Lincoln’s Birthday and Columbus Day. However, if you think that’s going to help the budget, it will not because in lieu of the paid holidays, the state workers will get two “floating” personal days off with pay instead (read vacation)! Then there’s “Furlough Fridays”, going from two mandated days off per month to one day off.
According to the Sacramento Bee , in further talks the two days mandated to be taken off, popularly known as the “Furlough Fridays” (approximately a 10% cut in pay) for state workers has been changed to eight hours of unpaid “flex time”off per month. This is good, because it will not dock the pay of the state workers so much (only a 5% cut in pay, and it will keep the state offices open through out the work week. Closing the state offices on two set Fridays has been a terrible burden on the small businesses and particularly restaurants around the capitol area.
The bad news is there are still eleven more other state bargaining units left to negotiate with! Let’s hope the Gov. uses a little different logic in his negotiations when it comes to eliminating holidays. Let’s see how this turns out.
The most telling information to come out recently is that the State Legislators themselves are not suffering during the budget crisis. They are still getting their $116,000 annual salary, their $173 per day for food and lodging and $400 a month for auto expense. Why should they be in a hurry to balance a budget?