Furlough leads to foreclosure for CA worker


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The national unemployment rate inched toward 10 percent, a new 26 year high. But, these numbers don't reflect the number of people who've been cut back to part-time or forced into furloughs.

A closed DMV is one of the most visible symbols of the state worker furloughs. There are faces and real-life impacts behind the closed doors, that the public hasn't seen.

DMV worker Angela Ramirez detailed for us her financial struggles caused by the three, unpaid furlough days a month.

She was showing us her list of bills and how much is left until she gets paid at the end of this month, when an unwelcomed visitor dropped by -- another bill collector.

"It's letting me know that I'm in foreclosure and to contact them as soon as possible," said

That's just reality of living with what amounts to be a 14 percent cut in pay.

"It's just disturbing. It's hard and these are the conditions I'm dealing with everyday," said Ramirez.

Franchise Tax Board worker Renee Lee is also in foreclosure. Her home of 18 years will be auctioned off in a matter of days, and she and her 5-year-old granddaughter will have nowhere to go.

"I might be one of those people on the street saying: 'I was a state worker. I'll work for food,' just to get by. I shouldn't have to do that. I've been a loyal employee for 30 years," said Lee.

But California's tax receipts are way down in this recession, and the furloughs, as was other cost cutting measures, were a way to save the state $1.3 billion.

But the Schwarzenegger administration says the alternative was layoffs.

"I would also note over the past 12 months, about 740,000 Californians have had a 100 percent furlough. They've lost their jobs completely and so the Governor chose to go the furlough route to achieve savings," said H.D. Palmer from the California Finance Department.

The furloughs are in effect until June. Both Ramirez and Lee don't think they can hang on until then.

"I'm living a nightmare. I want to wake up," said Lee.

"It's a humbling situation," said Ramirez.

ACLU is the largest employer union in California. Workers say some workers are actually living in their cars and then showering at work.

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