State SEIU workers protest layoffs

August 4, 2008 4:06:52 PM PDT
Unionized state workers at the Sonoma Developmental Center planned to hold three rallies today and another Wednesday to protest Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's executive order to lay off state workers and cut wages until a state budget is passed.

The rallies are being held even though state Controller John Chiang said last week he will defy the order and the union has challenged it in court, said Daniel Solnit, organizer with the Service Employees International Union Local 1000. The lawsuit demands the workers be reinstated with back pay and is expected to be heard this week in Sacramento County Superior Court.

"Things could change in a moment. It's still unclear how it will play out. It's clear we are being used as pawns,' Solnit said.

SEIU represents about 3,000 state workers in the county and 500 at the Sonoma Developmental Center in Glen Ellen. The rallies were scheduled for 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. today at the center's main gate at 15000 Arnold Drive.

Workers from various state agencies will rally at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday at the state building in downtown Santa Rosa. Workers from the Department of Motor Vehicles, Employment Development Department, State Compensation Insurance Fund, Board of Equalization, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Alcoholic Beverage Control and Department of Rehabilitation will participate, Solnit said.

DMV workers also will continue an informational picket outside their office in Santa Rosa during lunch breaks today, Solnit said.

Solnit said the SEIU represents 93,000 state workers overall and that some face a wage cut to $6.55 an hour under Schwarzenegger's order.

The state Legislature failed to pass a budget by its July 1 deadline. The state faces a $17 billion deficit.


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