Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oregon Governor seeks more days on furlough from workers

Governor Ted Kulongoski has asked unionized state workers to agree to 26 unpaid furlough days, up from an earlier request of eight days.

The governor wants workers to take two furlough days during this budget year, which ends June 30, and 24 furlough days during the 2009-11 budget cycle, said SEIU executive director Leslie Frane. State negotiators laid out this new demand during contract talks Monday with SEIU.

Kulongoski wants the workers to take two furlough days by June 30, and then 24 days, one a month, during the 2009-11 budget cycle, said Leslie Frane, director of Service Employees International Union Local 503.

“We are profoundly dis­appointed that instead of working with us to find the best way to continue to provide quality services to Oregonians in a time of optimal need, the state has instead opted for a politically expedient slash-and-burn approach to bargaining,” Frane said.

The counterproposal from state negotiators also calls for a total wage freeze during the next two years, Frane said. State workers would receive neither step increases nor cost-of-living increases.

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