Schwarzenegger Makes Scapegoats Of State Workers

by Darrylc2 - Date: 2008-08-09 - Word Count: 400 Share This!

On July 31st, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an order to lay off 22,000 temporary California state workers, and to cut the salaries of 200,000 permanent state workers. Under the order, the permanent state workers would have their salaries cut to a level equal to the federal minimum wage, $6.55 ($1.50 less than the California minimum wage). For some workers, this would represent a 90% cut in pay (Source: "California Labor Federation Spotlight," August 1, 2008).

California State Controller, John Chaing, has refused to obey the governor's order and maintains that the state has sufficient funds to pay workers their full salaries through September. One union (SEIU), has filed a motion in Sacramento County Superior Court to stop the governor's order from going into effect ("California Labor Federation Spotlight," August 1, 2008).

The governor's proposed cuts in state worker's salaries is a direct byproduct of a budget impasse between the Republican governor and the Democratic controlled state legislature. Under Schwarzenegger's proposed 2008-2009 fiscal year budget, there would be an across the board cut of 10%, including deep cuts in education and healthcare for the poor (Governor's Budget 2008-2009).

Once again, we see an attempt by a politician to make public employees scapegoats for a bad economy. The reality is that these same employees are responsible for funding the education of our children, maintaining our highways, safeguarding our lives and property, and providing healthcare for the poor and the elderly. Rather than attacking state employees, the governor should ask wealthy individuals and big corporations to pay their fair share in taxes.

If allowed to go into effect, the governor's plan will create major hardships for state employees and their families. How will these employees and their families pay their bills or provide for their children's higher education? The last thing, it seems to me, a state would want to do in a declining economy is to drastically reduce the purchasing power of thousands of state employees. Such a plan will only result in less tax revenue for state and local government.

For those of you who live in California, please write the governor and your state legislators and let them know that you oppose the governor's action in eliminating 22,000 state positions and in cutting the salaries of state workers. Now is the time for union members and their supporters to speak on behalf of our union brothers and sisters who work for the state of California.

Related Tags: schwarzenegger, state workers, public employees

Darrylc2 is a Labor Representative with a public sector labor union. In addition to his union activities, he is actively involved in grassroots Democratic politics. He was a delegate to the Democratic Convention in 1992, and was named "Democrat of the Year" in 2005 by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.Darrylc2's Website: Information for Union (information

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