Gov. Jerry Brown hopes pay cuts for state workers will save $402 million… (Justin Sullivan, Getty…)
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown has brought down the hammer on two public-employee unions that have not agreed to wage cuts, issuing a furlough order for about 11,600 of their workers.
The order forces the employees to take one day off every month, cutting their pay by almost 5%. Those affected include engineers at the California Department of Transportation, and machine operators.
The furloughs are similar to the leave programs that have been negotiated between the Brown administration and 19 of the state's 21 bargaining units. But the final two units have not agreed to any deal.
Bruce Blanning, executive director of Professional Engineers in California Government, said negotiations were unsuccessful because the state didn't promise to stop contracting out some jobs.
"We can't agree to our members taking a pay cut if they outsource our jobs at twice the cost," he said.
Lynelle Jolley, a spokeswoman for the Department of Personnel Administration, said state officials are still open to negotiations, but "no sessions are currently scheduled."
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furlough orders led to a legal battle between the state and its employees. The resulting California Supreme Court decision requires governors to secure approval of unions or lawmakers before forcing days off.
The budget Brown signed on June 27 included legislative approval for furloughs if negotiations did not achieve pay cuts, which the governor hopes will save $402 million in the fiscal year that began this month.