Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered about 200,000 state workers to be compensated the federal minimum wage this month because the state Legislature has not passed a spending budget, but the state controller is refusing to comply.
Department of Personnel Administration Director Debbie Endsley sent the order in a letter to the state controller, who refused a similar order two many years ago. The matter is tied up in the appellate courts, leading the controller to say he will abide by whatever final ruling emerges, which could be many years down the road. He said he can’t follow the purchase now due to technical and legal issues.
Most state employees will be paid the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour for that July pay period.
Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said the alter ought to be reflected in state employees’ next paycheck. Workers will be paid in complete retroactively once a spending budget is passed.
“It’s a sad day when the boss wants to make his staff collateral damage inside a spending budget dispute,” mentioned Patty Velez, an environmental scientist and president from the California Association of Professional Scientists, a union that would be affected by the cuts.
The Republican governor has been frustrated by the Legislature’s failure to close California’s $19 billion budget deficit, even as the new fiscal year started Thursday.
Schwarzenegger’s order doesn’t affect the 37,000 workers, such as California Highway Patrol officers, who are in unions that recently negotiated new contracts using the administration. Those contracts included pay cuts and pension reforms that will save the state cash.
Asked whether the governor was sending a message to the unions that have not yet signed new contracts, McLear mentioned no.
“We’re sending a message towards the controller to adhere to the law,” he said.
Schwarzenegger made a comparable purchase two years ago, but it never took affect simply because state Controller John Chiang refused to comply. The courts later sided with Schwarzenegger, but the matter is on appeal.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered about 200,000 state workers to become compensated the federal minimum wage simply because the state Legislature has not passed a spending budget.
Department of Personnel Administration Director Debbie Endsley sent the purchase Thursday in a letter towards the state controller. Most state employees will be compensated the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour for the July spend period.
Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear says the alter should be reflected in state employees’ next paycheck. Workers will probably be paid in full retroactively once a budget is passed.
The Legislature has failed to take steps to close California’s $19 billion spending budget deficit, even as the new fiscal year started Thursday.
The instructions from the Department of Personnel Administration exclude roughly 37,000 state workers in six bargaining units that recently came to tentative labor agreements with Schwarzenegger, The Sacramento Bee newspaper reported.
Controller John Chiang said earlier Thursday that he wouldn’t comply with the minimum wage purchase, KCRA-TV said.
California Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, expressed his disdain late Thursday inside a statement, saying that that he’s disappointed within the governor’s actions.
“This isn’t a realistic proposal to save the state cash any much more than his budget plan, which kills 430,000 jobs, is a realistic proposal to close our deficit. Using working families as leverage isn’t the kind of leadership we need to obtain through this spending budget process,” Perez mentioned.
“It’s inevitable that this really is going to end up being ruled against the controller,” McLear said.
Chiang, a Democrat, is an elected statewide officer. His deputy press secretary, Jacob Roper, said Thursday that the controller’s office doesn’t intend to follow Schwarzenegger’s purchase, in component simply because the state’s computerized payroll system cannot handle the change.
“This is uncharted waters here,” Roper said. “No city, county or state has ever taken this action prior to.”
In a statement, Chiang mentioned it was not possible using the state’s current technology to spend some staff their complete salaries and others minimum wage. He also said his office and also the governor’s have been working on a system upgrade, however it will not be ready until October 2012.
Schwarzenegger’s purchase, if implemented, could cost the state billions of dollars simply because the action would violate employment law, Roper mentioned. He cited the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which he says entitles a worker to “double damages” if an employer cuts pay to minimum wage.
Salaried managers who aren’t paid on an hourly basis would see their spend cut to $455 per week.
Some from the state’s roughly 250,000 employees will be exempt, such as doctors and attorneys, because minimum wage laws do not apply to those professions. Under the order, they would not get compensated at all until a spending budget deal is struck, said Lynelle Jolley, spokeswoman for that Department of Personnel Administration.
“This all goes away if the Legislature passes a spending budget this month,” she mentioned.
Service Staff International Union 1000, the state’s largest employee union, declined to comment because union lawyers are still reviewing the matter. The union, which represents about 95,000 state workers, joined Chiang within the legal challenge two many years ago.
SEIU 1000 staff generally earn more than federal minimum wage, in component because California’s state minimum wage of $8 an hour is higher.