Local News

Feb 26, 2010 10:18 PM by Danielle Lerner

California judge rules state furloughs illegal, orders back pay

A court ruling could put more money in the hands of thousands of state workers.

An Alameda County judge ruled Thursday that Governor Schwarzenegger illegally furloughed more than 50,000 state employees.

The state must now pay all employees their full salaries and stop the three-day per month furloughs.

The governor implemented the plan last year to help ease California's cash crisis.

For state workers on the Central Coast, the ruling could not have come sooner.

After months of protesting local state workers and union members feel their voices have finally been heard.

"He should have worked with the local labor organizations," said Bruce Corsaw, a representative of SEIU Local 620. "He should have abided by the laws of this state."

"We've always thought that they were illegal," said Aaron Henkel of PECG, or Professional Engineers in California Government. "This just confirms from another judge that what Arnold did to the state employee was illegal."

The mandatory time off amounted to about a 15 percent pay cut for state workers.

It's also frustrated California residents at places like the DMV, which had to close its doors the first three Fridays of every month.

"This is the second time we've been here this week because the lineups were so long," said Elaine Archer, a DMV Customer. "There was no way we had time to get in and get her test taken."

However there is still a long road ahead.

A spokesman for the governor has already said the administration will appeal the decision.

"Eventually I think it will end up in the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court will make the final decision on if the furloughs were legal or illegal, and if the state employee is due back their back pay," said Henkel.

The ruling does not affect CSU faculty because the governor does not have direct control over those jobs.

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