California workers stiffed again

furlough_gi.top.jpgMembers of the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians protested the three-a-month furloughs earlier this year. By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- California's state workers just can't catch a break.

For the past year and a half, 200,000 of them have been forced to take three unpaid furlough days a month -- losing as much as 14% of their pay.

The furlough order expired July 1, when workweeks and full salaries were restored.

But the reprieve was short: The state's workers are getting slapped back down.

On Wednesday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered state agencies to reinstitute "furlough Fridays" starting Aug. 1.

Schwarzenegger's executive order declared a state of emergency over a $19.1 billion budget shortfall that has left the state without a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

The furloughs will continue until a budget is passed and the state's finance department ensures California that has enough cash on hand for the year.

"Our cash situation leaves me no choice but to once again furlough state workers until the legislature produces a budget I can sign," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has tussled with the Democrat-led legislature over the best way to close the deficit. Republican lawmakers have proposed severe cuts to state social services such as welfare and Medicare, instead of hiking taxes. Democrats oppose the program cuts and instead want tax increases on industries like oil production.

Like the first set of furloughs, which were in effect from February 2009 through June 2010, fire and highway patrol workers are exempt. The new order also exempts "revenue generating agencies and quasi-public entities with non-general fund resources." The average salary of state workers was $65,484 last year.

But the bad news doesn't stop here. State Controller John Chiang has said he could be forced in August to start issuing IOUs to conserve funds.

And the same 200,000 workers forced to take furloughs already have been threatened with severe, though temporary, pay cuts. Earlier this month Schwarzenegger's administration moved to cut workers' salaries to minimum wage -- $7.25 an hour. The workers would receive back pay when a budget is passed.

But Chiang has refused to make the pay cuts, sparking a slew of legal disputes. As the fight makes its way through the courts, workers are left uncertain.

Has your job been furloughed? We want to hear from you. E-mail your story to julianne.pepitone@turner.com and you could be part of an upcoming article. For the CNNMoney.com Comment Policy, click here. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,122.01 15.31 0.09%
Nasdaq 4,569.62 -1.02 -0.02%
S&P 500 2,000.12 0.10 0.00%
Treasuries 2.36 -0.03 -1.25%
Data as of 7:15pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.20 -0.13 -0.80%
Apple Inc 102.13 1.24 1.23%
Facebook Inc 74.63 -1.33 -1.75%
Yahoo! Inc 38.18 0.39 1.03%
Pfizer Inc 29.49 0.28 0.96%
Data as of 4:02pm ET

Sections

As Elon Musk cancels the latest launch of a SpaceX rocket, he's also got some "horrible nightmares" to contend with. More

Former Fed chief Ben Bernanke believes the 2008 financial crisis was the worst in global history, topping even the Great Depression. More

Tech fans are already excited about the launch of Apple's iPhone 6 next month. There's now a report suggesting that the iWatch could be coming too. Wall Street is pleased. More

Utah State professor Michael Glauser cycled 4,000 miles this summer, visiting 100 entrepreneurs across the country. Here's a snapshot of how they grew their businesses. More

Top performers are likely to clean up relative to their average-performing peers, according to companies surveyed about their variable-pay programs. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.