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Most state workers will face more furloughs under new executive order by Schwarzenegger

July 28, 2010 | 12:48 pm
Most state workers will again face unpaid furloughs again in August under an executive order imposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said a union official who was briefed on the plan by the administration.

Roughly 200,000 state workers would be subject to the mandatory days off, though the governor is exempting the union bargaining units that have negotiated rollbacks of future pensions with his administration.

Previous furloughs, implemented to help ease California’s budget crisis, ended with the fiscal year that expired June 30. Courts have ruled that Schwarzenegger has the authority to impose the unpaid time off.

The new furlough order comes as California enters the 28th day of the new fiscal year without a budget and is an effort by Schwarzenegger to ramp up pressure on lawmakers to strike an accord.

The governor previously tried to slash workers’ pay to the minimum wage, but that effort has been stalled by state Controller John Chiang and the courts.

The furloughs will also help the state conserve cash; Chiang has said he may be forced to begin issuing IOUs by late August.

The new furloughs, according to the union official, who requested anonymity because the order was not yet public, would last for the duration of California’s budget standoff. It would take effect the second week of August.

Workers would be subjected to three unpaid mandatory days off each month, which is equivalent to a roughly 14% pay cut. State workers had been ordered to take three monthly furlough days since last summer. In his executive order, Schwarzenegger will exempt the six labor union bargaining units that have negotiated new tentative contracts with his administration, according to the union official.

Those tentative contracts, which the Legislature has yet to ratify, include protection from future furloughs, pay reductions to minimum wage during budget stalemates and cuts in retirement pension benefits.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento