Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Staff and Wire Reports
Created: 01/14/2010 09:39:56 PM PST

The Schwarzenegger administration filed an appeal Wednesday in a lawsuit over his furloughs of state workers, contesting a decision by the state controller to restore pay for prison guards.

Last year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered some 200,000 state employees to take three days off a month without pay, cutting their paychecks by 14 percent to help close the state’s budget gap.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association sued, arguing that guards are losing three days’ pay each month but can never take the time off because prisons operate around the clock.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch sided with the 30,000-member union last month.

On Tuesday, state Controller John Chiang said he intends to restore guards’ full pay to comply with that ruling. The guards’ court victory does not affect about two dozen other union lawsuits opposing the furloughs.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said the administration will impose layoffs and end guards’ extra pay and pension benefits if an appeals court doesn’t quickly block the decisions by Roesch and Chiang. The state filed the appeal in the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

Gordon Hinkle, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said the cuts would include “drastic reductions across all CDCR programs affecting all staff areas.”

Aside from the layoffs, the state could save about $200 million each year by ending the pension contribution and guards’ incentive payments for working nights and weekends, and for things like seniority, for keeping physically fit, for being bilingual and for having a college education, said Department of Personnel Administration spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley.

The administration can act unilaterally because the union has been operating without a negotiated contract since 2007, Jolley said.

“This is certainly an administration that is good at threats and threatening people, so obviously there is concern,” said Lance Corcoran, California Correctional Peace Officers Association spokesman. “When people work there is an expectation that the employer is going to compensate them. I think all Californians understand that. What comes next is anyone’s guess.

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