Skip to comments.CA: Thousands of state workers talking strike (They want their piece of the surplus)
Posted on 05/09/2006 9:29:40 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
SACRAMENTO Thousands of protesting employees from the state's largest union, working without a contract since June and pay increases since 2003, threatened Monday to strike if they do not get a deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars from deficit-plagued California. "I'm ready to strike" was the mantra of the day at a Capitol rally, both from union officials and members. A strike would affect government services of all kinds across the state.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's aides declined to comment on the 87,000-member union's strike-authorizing vote, scheduled for Monday. But administration officials said they are ready to begin negotiating with the group May 22, when the union said it was ready.
The union is waiting for both its own strike vote and Schwarzenegger to formally revise his proposed budget Friday for fiscal 2006-07, which begins July 1. There are no funds for state employee wage hikes in his current budget plan.
"This is about power and how much pressure can we put on the governor to do the right thing," said Cathy Hackett, vice president of Service Employees International Union Local 1000.
"We're here today to pressure the governor to include $400 million in his revised budget to fund our contract," she said.
Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson said the state "is willing, ready and able to meet with SEIU 1000 to reach a settlement and secure a contract." Early last year, union officials said, the governor demanded takeaways of as much as 14 percent in benefits and offered no wage increase, according to the union.
The last contract between the state and the union whose members range from librarians and cooks to tax collectors and teachers expired June 30. The last wage increase came July 1, 2003.
Since that time, union officials said the cost of living has increased by more than 10 percent.
Complicating the situation is what union officials described as Schwarzenegger's anti-union special election last year and the current election-year politics.
Union officials said most of its members are the lowest-paid of all state employees, with an average annual salary of $43,000. A third of the members on average earn $32,000 a year or less.
The situation has led to short staffing and declining services in such areas as veterans' homes and youth correctional facilities, the union said.
In addition, there are only five inspectors for 1,600 miles of levees and 1,400 miles of designated floodways in the state. And applicants for state disability benefits have to wait as long as a year for action on their claims.
"We are prepared to go to the mat for a fair contract," said Marc Bautista, vice president for organizing and representation. "I'm ready to strike."
Poor Babies..... That's nearly $21 an hour plus benefits incomparable in the private section worth about $20 and hour for a gross of $41 per hour... Poor babies./s
Yes, the Governator has an opportunity to emulate Reagan - - - and fire a whole bunch of illegal strikers. Permanently. Perhaps a lot of the vacated slots can be eliminated rather than restaffed. I suspect that most of them are far less critical than air traffic controllers.
Now THAT would make a dent in the California financial mess. Or would it?
"labor unions are leading the political assault to overwhelm the individualistic traditions that made our nation great and to impose socialistic planning and regulation. labor unions are socialisms shock troops."
I've no use for any of these job descriptions. They can take the rest of their lives off for all I care.
And the mess in CA gets messier!!! At this rate, CA will soon be the first communist state in the union. oh boy.
Secure lifetime jobs with generous benefits package and a pension at the end?
Gosh, we'll have a heck of a time filling those vacancies.
Go ahead and strike guys. Don't let the door hit you etc.
What are you talking about? Collectivist labor thugs are a NATIONAL problem. There is nothing unique to California about this.
In fact the first item on the national SEIU web site is a story featuring crying janitors in Miami.
As a Ca taxpayer, I wonder if I'm entitled to any of it. Probably not.
You are confused about what is important to our elected officials. It has nothing to do with what they provide in terms of necessary service. It's all about what votes they provide in return for pandering with taxpayer money.
I like Norm's idea of replacing all these guys with nickel an hour illegals...
And when has SEIU done that willingly in ANY OTHER state?