Saturday, August 02, 2008

Executive Order S-09-08, Day Two

Will state workers strike?

It's hard to say for sure. OK, partly because I have developed a habit of ignoring the deluge of emails I get daily from the union.

From what I understand, going out on strike is a terminatable offense.

This was discussed in a meeting in our office on Wednesday, bracing us for what was to come and how it would directly affect our office.

What we were told was that if the union moves to strike, management would be working with Labor Relations to try to get things resolved and figured out. Then he went on to say that we were expected to come to work on the days we were expected to come to work.

If state workers went on strike, would the state really terminate all those employees?

loki has brought up a 100% state worker strike. All I can say to that is that I think it would be a beautiful thing.

I think the average person has no idea how many state workers affect their day. Having state work grind to a complete halt, even if only for a day, would be a beautiful illustration of how many people really depend on state employees in their daily lives.

Suspending our disbelief for a moment, let's imagine that 100% of all state employees came down with the stomach flu on the same day. Would they all be terminated? My gut response is probably not. That would be pretty damn stupid. On the surface, you can look at the issue of having to replace all those employees: where would you get these people from? How would you go about doing it? Who would be doing the work while hiring and training was taking place?

As a state worker, I can tell you that there are even larger issues. The volume of historical and procedural knowledge that would be lost is phenomenal. There may be agencies were work could not commence even after replacements were hired simply because nobody would know how to do it.

Unfortunately, not everybody "gets" that. As our governor has shown a remarkable capacity for making decisions that others feel are reckless, woefully misinformed and ultimately useless, my brain tells me that, if state workers went on strike or had an organized sick out, all of them, even if we had 100% on board, would get shitcanned.

Right? Reasonable? Intelligent? Well, hell no. But when has that ever dissuaded anyone?

Where are the cuts?

Numbers available from the State Controller indicated the potential for over 10,000 layoffs in Sacramento County alone. Final layoff totals may not be available for some time, yet, as the exemption negotiation process moves forward.

According to the Sacramento Bee, one of the agencies hit hardest, so far, is State and Consumer Services Agency. Its Department of Consumer Affairs issues licenses in over 255 professions and has approximately 2.4 Million licensees. 2,859 people were laid off yesterday. Many of these proctor examinations for people seeking professional licensure.

Remember what I said Thursday? "..if you have or are attempting to get a professional license in the state of California, you can expect the amount of time it's going to take to process your application, renewal or license change to at least double, possibly triple."

Word to the wise: if you have business to conduct with the state, get it done sooner, rather than later. Unless the budget is signed and vacated positions filled in short order, the longer this goes on, the deeper the backlog will be.

Is This Going to Work?

Much like economic sanctions or a trade embargo, legislators are not the group being hit hardest by the Executive Order. The people of the state are.

It is not the fault of state workers that the legislators cannot agree on a budget. Yet we are the ones being punished for their failure to do so.

It is not the fault of the people of California that the legislators cannot agree on a budget. Yet we are the ones being punished for their failure to do so.

Why are we not punishing the legislators for failing to uphold their duty to the people of California? Why are we not holding them accountable when, year after year, the budget deadline goes whizzing by without a signed budget? Why are legislators allowed to leave on vacation without first completing their duties?

State workers: Would your manager allow you to leave for vacation if you had an assignment due that was not yet complete?

Mine wouldn't.

So far, I have had the following suggested to me as ways to "encourage" legislators to complete the budget on time:

1. California Highway Patrol enforces a lockdown of the state capitol. Legislators and the governor stay until the budget is signed.

2. Starting July 1st, if there is no signed budget, the financial accounts of legislators are frozen, their houses and sealed and their cars are impounded. Legislators would become, essentially, homeless until such time as the budget is signed.

3. They sure as hell don't take their summer vacation until the budget is signed (wait, isn't that already the law?)

Hi State Workers!

The Verbosery got a lot of hits yesterday. I guess being the second hit on google will do that for a blog. I noticed a lot of you were coming in from state agencies, including some of you who bypassed the Websense block.

Anybody feel up to sharing? What has this Executive Order cost your department? What has it meant to you, personally? What do you think would be a better way to encourage legislators to pass a budget?

dolphyngyrl at gmail dot com or leave a comment.

In Other News:

Coming up later today, news on The Dog, The Package, and The Contest Drawing.

1 comment:

Wine Dog said...

I feel as if I should write this in French, because in France, they would have already gone on strike. I like the idea of the CHP keeping the legislators there until the budgets is worked out. The Govenator was very reckless with the EO...kind of like Reagan and the Air Traffic Controllers. That's worked out nicely over time....not so much.