Saturday, July 03, 2010

Governor Puts 200,000 State Workers on Minimum Wage

The Governor of my home state, Arnold Schwarzenegger, issued an order on Thursday that reduces about 200,000 California state workers’ wages to minimum wage. The pay reductions are going into effect this month. Many experts are predicting that this move is a tactic to put pressure on unions that have not agreed to pay and pension concessions.

According to a letter delivered to Controller John Chiang in late afternoon, July pay for most hourly state employees will be withheld to the minimum allowed by federal law – $7.25 an hour – and then restored once there's a budget.

Chiang, whose office cuts state paychecks, said Thursday that he won't follow the order unless a court tells him to.

The letter from the governor's Department of Personnel Administration instructs Chiang to withhold employees' pay because the state started the 2010-11 fiscal year without a budget appropriating money for payroll. Hours earlier, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger officially ended 17 months of furloughs for state workers.

The minimum-wage order exempts roughly 37,000 state workers in the six bargaining units that have tentatively agreed to labor deals.

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