Thursday, January 29, 2009

California Governor threatens layoffs if state workers balk at furloughs

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will pursue layoffs to reduce salary costs if state workers don't accept twice-monthly furloughs.

The governor signed an executive order last month requiring 238,000 state workers to take two unpaid days off each month starting in February. The state also began warning state workers with the least seniority that their jobs were threatened.

Labor unions are fighting the governor's furlough order in Sacramento Superior Court, where a judge is expected to rule as soon as today whether Schwarzenegger's plan is constitutional. The governor said at the Sacramento Press Club that if he loses the case, he will pursue layoffs instead, which pose fewer legal problems.

Schwarzenegger already has proposed saving $150 million through layoffs and "efficiencies" in his January budget; the furloughs would save $1.3 billion on top of those job cuts. The governor also wants to drop two state holidays and eliminate overtime pay for those who work on the remaining holidays.

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