California prison guards call for a strike vote
July 15, 2009
By KAREN VELIE
After learning of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to slash prison guard’s salaries by another 10 percent, the union has authorized a strike vote, according to Paco Villa’s Correction Blog.
Union members question how the governor can determine which department’s wages he plans to cut through executive order and without legislative approval. Of primary concern are allegations that the governor has decided to leave officers, supervisors, and staff with the California Highway Patrol, a group that supported Schwarzenegger in the last election, out of the set of state employees receiving pay cuts, according to several union member.
While many state employees have received pay cuts, CHP employees have continued to receive pay raises, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The California Correctional Peace Officer Association (CCPOA) backed Phill Angelides in the last election. Critics of the governor’s economic plans claim pay cuts are unevenly split between government workers who supported the governor’s election and those who supported his opponent.
Plans to add another mandatory monthly furlough day, for a total of four, as well as an additional five percent pay cut planned for next July, would bring the total salary reduction for prison guards to approximately 25 percent. In March, the governor, through executive order, implemented two mandatory furlough days per month (a 10 percent reduction in pay) along with an additional furlough day this month (a five percent reduction in pay).
In 1978, prison guards waged a massive sickout protesting issues regarding wages, benefits, and guard’s requests to be recognition as peace officers. At the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo County, only three guards crossed the picket line to join supervisors in running the prison.
Officials initiated a system wide lockdown. Though quiet at first, inmates eventually created floods by blocking toilets, broke windows, and started riots.
Within a few days, than Governor Jerry Brown conceded to the guards’ demands.
Read more at Calfornia Progress Report