Thursday, February 05, 2009

Furlough Friday


Well, today came and went, and no ruling from the appellate court. All state agencies that I'm familiar with sent out memos late this afternoon clarifying building closures and work hour changes. It's telling that the unions that appealed the furlough ruling have not asked for an injunction. Basically, that means that the unions are taking the Governator's layoff threat seriously.

**Update**

Looks like the Bee coverage about the unions not asking the court to halt the furloughs was incorrect. From the court docket:

Appellants Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) and California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS) petition this court for a writ of supersedeas "staying enforcement of the January 29, 2009 ruling, as amended on January 30, 2009, and all further proceedings thereon . . . , and staying enforcement of the Governor's Executive Order [S-16-08] to the extent it calls for reduction in the hours of work of state employed scientists and a reduction in the salaries of state employed scientists." PECG and CAPS further seek an immediate stay of the trial court's order and the Governor's Executive Order...
The court seemed receptive of the idea, but denied the request because the unions delayed filing the appeal until the last minute, and failed to include supporting arguments:
Here, the trial court's amended order was entered on January 30, 2009, yet appellants delayed filing the petition for writ of supersedeas until 4:00 p.m. on February 5, 2009, with the executive order to be implemented on February 6, 2009, and the petition fails to include "[a]ny other document from the trial court proceeding that is necessary for proper consideration of the petition." ...

Accordingly, the request for immediate stay is denied pending receipt of opposition and further order of this court. No extensions of time will be granted for filing of opposition to the petition.
Either this is pure incompetence on the part of the unions, or it's a political maneuver. Possibilities include:

- The unions were afraid of prevailing too soon, thus forcing the Governator's hand into issuing layoffs
- The unions want to give their members the appearance of toughness while they offer concessions behind the scenes
- The unions know their negotiating position is weak, so they want their members to feel some pain now so they're willing to compromise in the upcoming contract negotiations

I'll have more as the story unfolds.

21 comments :

Comrade Misean is Dope said...

"- The unions were afraid of prevailing too soon, thus forcing the Governator's hand into issuing layoffs
- The unions want to give their members the appearance of toughness while they offer concessions behind the scenes
- The unions know their negotiating position is weak, so they want their members to feel some pain now so they're willing to compromise in the upcoming contract negotiations"

Two and three for sure, with a 4th being the Hail Mary option...the courts might stop it long enough to make it not matter in the long run.

Nostrovia,

patient renter said...

Two and three for sure

That's what I was thinking.

I've been thinking a lot about the public versus private sector pain, and how they differ from each other.

In the private sector, when a company needs to make cuts, middle managed typically gets consolidated. Cutting low level workers means cutting production, or decreasing service, which is often not acceptable, so lower level workers are often not the first to go.

The same cannot be said for the public sector. Without the need to maintain productivity, service levels, profit levels, etc., public sector administrators are free to cut as many low level workers as they want while sparing themselves and their buddies. Teachers, police, general service employees, firefighters, etc, are all first on the chopping block, while their administrators manage to avoid cutting themselves. This is particularly evident with education, where school districts tend to be exceptionally top-heavy, yet the bulk of the cuts are likely to be with teachers themselves.

Why would administrators possibly cut themselves? Who could force this? It seems like a systematic flaw.

Max said...

Why would administrators possibly cut themselves? Who could force this? It seems like a systematic flaw.

And that's why the unions have evolved the way they have. Anther example: If you laid off one vice principle from every highschool in CA, you would save $1 billion. Not even part of the discussion.

Anonymous said...

So two of the more than 20 state employee unions are making a half-assed attempt to block the furloughs, and the largest and most powerful ones are completely silent.

Deflationary Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deflationary Jane said...

'Anther example: If you laid off one vice principle from every highschool in CA, you would save $1 billion. Not even part of the discussion.'

Oh it sure is among the many teachers I know >; )

No furlough here and working through lunch like most days. If we did get furloughed, I'd just work from home. You can find me working weekends etc and not getting OT, no compliants. Much better to stay as current as possible then take the days off and rather then have to run your behind ragged catching up. But that's me.

Plenty of people around that just see it as vacation days. Would I go the extra mile if I didn't work for the taxpayers? nope.

curious said...

Deflationary Jane

Are you a teacher? It sounds like you work for the government in some way. What is it that you do that keeps you so busy? I know teaching is very hard and they should be the last to see cuts.

patient renter said...

If you laid off one vice principle from every highschool in CA, you would save $1 billion. Not even part of the discussion.

I was thinking more about the administrators who work for the district. I recall my vice principals had it pretty rough, and were worked ragged. At least they're on the "front lines", so to speak. Contrast that with an administrator who makes significantly more and merely "oversees" school-program-X or special-committee-Y, having little or no actual interaction with an actual school. This is the fat, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Teaching is the best part-time job around. $70,000 to work for 8 months each year is a great lifestyle.

Bryan said...

Setting aside the fact that you're a teacher.

;)

patient renter said...

$70,000 to work for 8 months each year is a great lifestyle

Yea, I know a few teachers who wouldn't mind that.

Max said...

$70,000 to work for 8 months each year is a great lifestyle

Since most teachers I know work ~12 hours/day, here's the breakdown

8 months = .75 years = 39 weeks per year =1560 normal hours + 780 hours of overtime.

$25/hour isn't bad for a four year degree plus a minimum 18 month credential program plus on the job certification requirements plus required on the job training to "keep up" with new education requirements.

And, most teachers don't reach the $70k level until 10+ years in. Most teachers start in the mid-$40k range.

Curious said...

curious said...

Deflationary Jane

Are you a teacher? It sounds like you work for the government in some way. What is it that you do that keeps you so busy? I know teaching is very hard and they should be the last to see cuts.
1:19 PM


That was not posted by me, just FYI.

Marginal Utility said...

"Since most teachers I know work ~12 hours/day, here's the breakdown

8 months = .75 years = 39 weeks per year =1560 normal hours + 780 hours of overtime."

Sorry Max, 8 months is 2/3rds of a year =.666 or 34.5 weeks/year.

No teacher I know works 12 hour a day. Maybe 8 max. The teachers I know work hard for the 1st 2 years, create their test and hand outs, get tenure, then just reuse them over and over again. 7am to 4pm, 8 months a year with 2 weeks for xmass and 1 for easter isn't bad.
Starting teachers make 70K a year in the OC, after 10 years, they make 100K+. Don't forget to count their awesome benefits and 3% at 55 pensions. The pension alone is worth a min 10K/yr

100K divided by 1500 hours per year is $67 an hour.

Not bad for graduating with a 2.5 gpa from a state college. The Bio PHD from Berkeley at my office makes 65K/yr.

Best professions: #1 = Firefighter, #2 = Teacher

Max said...

You're right, 2/3rds of a year. However, the average teacher salary (including veterans) is $65K:

The average teacher salary last year was $65,808.

And you're wrong about the work hours. If you lived with a teacher, you'd understand.

Anonymous said...

Agree that firefighters have a slightly cushier job than teachers.

Bottom line, if you're into gourmet food and you have a skill or trade (carpentry, accounting) that you can do while sitting around on your butt, become a firefighter. If you like to babysit and to take long paid vacations every summer, become a teacher.

Rich said...

"Agree that firefighters have a slightly cushier job than teachers"

There's that little matter of having to put out fires now and again. But hey, a little smoke and flame never hurt anybody.

Don't know about you, but while I can live with the guy bagging my groceries not making a lot, I'd kinda like to pay my firefighter (and my teacher) a premium so that hopefully I can get the best for the job. Unfortunately, with teachers, more pay doesn't equate to a better teacher.

Check out Bill Gate's talk at TED (the infamous mosquito release)

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/bill_gates_unplugged.html

DJ- If only everyone on the tax dole did their utmost to NOT pad their per diem. Dunno about you, but I'm except, which for some means, golf afternoons, and for others means nights and weekends.

patient renter said...

Starting teachers make 70K a year in the OC

Good for them. Now maybe you can post something that's actually helpful, like what the average starting salary is across the state.

8 months

Just like the 70k figure, I have a pretty good idea from where you pulled the 8 months figure...

Aside from X-mas break, the teachers I know are at school in mid-August and don't get out until June, and it's by contract. 8 months? I'll see if you can figure it out.

As for the education scenario mentioned by Marginal Utility, let me turn that around. I currently make almost twice as much as a teacher friend who has a graduate degree from a UCLA, and her work ethic puts me to shame.

If you like to babysit...become a teacher

As with anything, not all teachers are alike. I'd imagine the same for firefighters, police, etc. But if you think sweeping generalizations help your argument, go for it.

Keith said...

And you're wrong about the work hours. If you lived with a teacher, you'd understand.

Aside from the other things pointed out, this is very important. I don't think people realize how much gets taken home.

Marginal Utility said...

"And you're wrong about the work hours. If you lived with a teacher, you'd understand"

My mom and sister in law were/are teachers. The salary info I get is from my SIL's salary. I know some rural/lower cost of living areas probably have lower salaries, but I'm talking about suburban upper middle class areas.

If you don't beleive teaching is a great job just see how many people apply for every open position availible. Here in OC, they had 1200 apps for 1 position. I submit that part of our budget mess is that state emplyees and their unions have squeezed the state for salaries and benfits that are much higer than the open market would bear. Just look at what teachers at private school make, 40-50K max.

PR - the 8 month figure came from Max, with the inservice days and continuing ED, I'd give them 9. The average salary is really irrelevant, it's like saying my condo in OC is nicer than yours in Sacramento because it is worth more. It doesn't take into account the cost of living, supply and demand, ... etc.

The whole point to these posts is that the state is broke, but paying employees much above the market wage because of the union/state mandated monopoly.

Here's a little story about NYC firefighers scamming the system

http://www.nypost.com/seven/02082009/news/regionalnews/raging_pension_fire_154091.htm

Marginal Utility said...
This comment has been removed by the author.