Budget reality forces tough decisions
By Yvonne R. Walker
President, SEIU Local 1000
Once again, California is faced with tough times. Because tax revenues are not as high as expected, the state is experiencing a $16 billion budget shortfall.
The May budget revise contains many painful cuts, not only to state workers, but to Californians in general.
Gov. Brown has reached out and asked SEIU Local 1000 and other unions for help in developing ideas and ways to address this problem. Gov. Brown is working to achieve a specific dollar amount in savings as it relates to state employees.
As a result, SEIU Local 1000 presented a series of possible solutions to the governor. These included eliminating retired annuitants from the state payroll, reducing outsourcing by cutting private vendor contracts, and, if necessary, implementing a four-day, 40-hour work week.
We have always said that state employees are reasonable people. We understand that these are tough economic times and that, given the opportunity, we think we can come up with solutions. It is important to note that we now have this opportunity to have a seat at the table to offer solutions. If we are part of the solution, we will keep as many of our members working as possible during these tough economic times.
Anything that gets done must be done at the negotiating table. Our elected bargaining teams are committed to do the best job they can in offering real solutions, while at the same time minimizing the impact to state employees.
Even though our first instinct is to say, "No," it is important that we stay engaged and continue to identify reasonable solutions as part of a long-term effort to reduce pressure on state employees whenever California is in budget trouble. Please continue to share your cost-savings ideas by talking to your steward, your SEIU Local 1000 organizer, or by filling out this form.
What is your solution to the budget crisis?
As we continue to work with Gov. Brown to find responsible solutions to the budget crisis, it's important to offer suggestions on how the state can operate with greater cost effectiveness.