As reported by Reuters today, SEIU - California's largest State employees union (and friend of ACORN) voted on Saturday to approve a strike authorization measure to protest furloughs of state workers and pressure state officials to ratify its labor contract. It seems that the union is not happy that California is trying to balance its budget, and in attempting to balance said budget has required employees to take furloughs of three days per month, costing each state employee under such furlough 15% of their salary.
Meanwhile, as reported by The San Fransisco Chronicle's website SFGate on May 25, 2008, Since Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger took office in 2003, just eight state employees earned more than $200,000 a year working in the core state government, which excludes universities and the Legislature (the real money-makers). In April of this year, there were nearly a thousand earning more than $200,000 a year, according to records. Additionally, the number of state employees making six-figure salaries has more than doubled since 2003, to nearly 15,000. Meanwhile, the number of state workers has grown by 26,000 under Schwarzenegger after being cut by Davis, who was recalled from office in the midst of a severe budget crisis.
In other words, The Governator is simply asking the employees of the state of California to give back to the people everything he has given them thus far, and their thugs at SEIU aren't too happy about it. This is all incredibly ridiculous, and the employees and SEIU should be embarrassed by their own behavior and greed. After all, many of us who do not work for government and do not have union representation are being asked to have our hours cut by our employers. The majority of us accept this as part of the deal, so to speak.
As an example, in February my coworkers and I personally accepted a 20% "furlough" in the form of a four day work week in order to help keep the doors of our company open. We are intelligent enough to be grateful we have an employer who wished to keep us employed. His other option was to continue to reduce staff which would leave some of us fully unemployed (he had laid off four employees before the furlough). Additionally, just as would be the case for the state workers, we continue to receive our health insurance benefits, our vacation time, and our sick pay.
California State employees would be well served to remember that as employees of private companies (such as mine) continue to work less hours and / or be laid off, there will be less tax revenues. As tax revenues fall, more cuts will need to be made by the state, since unlike private companies, the government does not actually provide a product that can be sold in order to create an income.
So in closing, I'd like to remind California state employees and the SEIU of an old saying - "You can't have your cake and eat it too." Choose wisely, California. You're either going to give a little now, or you're really going to pay for it later.