Tuesday, August 19, 2008

California guv orders wage cuts, layoffs

By Caleb T. Maupin

California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took a look at the economic crisis. He noticed that the state of California was lacking in funds. He responded with an executive order: cut over 200,000 state employees to minimum wage and fire 10,500 temporaries.

Workers who have made salaries and hourly wages much higher, and who have committed no personal wrongdoing, will be reduced to $6.55 an hour, the federal minimum wage.

Outcry has been heard from many different sectors of society. John Chiang, the state controller, who was expected to carry out this crime, was quoted in the Aug. 5 Sacramento Bee as saying, “We are not in a cash crisis.” Chiang has spoken out sharply against this massive pay cut, which would affect over 200,000 people’s wages. He has even gone as far as to say he would refuse to enact it, which caused Schwarzenegger to threaten legal action against Chiang.

The Service Employees International Union has already taken legal action. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the SEIU has filed complaints with the Public Employee Relations Board, as well as suing the governor over his additional plan to lay off 10,300 temporary employees.

The unions are focusing on the fact that Schwarzenegger failed to use proper procedures in order to make the pay cuts. “The governor did an end run around the labor process and the government code,” SEIU attorney Paul Harris said Aug. 1. (Associated Press) Unions are fighting against this wage cut.

This attempted cut is a prime example of how capitalist politicians will be trying to force the working class to bear the brunt of the economic crisis. Anger is rising all over the state at the governor’s outrageous proposal.

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