Saturday, May 9, 2009

Watch California

The news this weekend has a fight brewing between the White House and the state of California. It is a fight that could have a major impact on Delaware state employees, teachers, and school employees.

California lawmakers are attempting wage cuts for home health workers (in CA they are state employees). The White House is saying 'hold on you took American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA also known as "stimulus plan") money we don't think you can do that'.

ARRA included language regarding "maintenance of effort" for state programs. It is not clear if a state can accept ARRA money and cut salaries.

Some conservative media outlets are portraying this issue as Obama doing a favor for his union buddies. In this case they are referring to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which represents the health care workers.

However, the purpose of ARRA was to keep the economy from totally stalling out in this deep recession. The President realizes that any state slashing salaries is going to worsen the economic situation. If you took ARRA money, you are expected to go with the program: Maintain the core public services that underpin our economy and support the employees who deliver those services.

Public employee unions in Delaware will be all over this issue like a seagull on a snail.


  1. Tim - Thanks so much for finding this, as only a "wonk" would. This is potentially great information for our salary cut fight.


    I've been following this story too…

    What seems to be frequently left out or underemphasized is that most of these home health care workers are not making a livable wage

    From what I can tell from the following 2 sources…these workers make between $9-$12 per hour

    Any wages cuts would probably, force these workers to enroll in state services, thus increasing the burden on the state budget anyway

    Whether there are wage cuts or not, the state will face budget stress

    We’re (US) in a rough spot now, but if the state is going to be strained either way, why not at least protect those who are working in those crucial public service jobs?

  3. Timothy, I also thank you for posting this. "The President realizes that any state slashing salaries is going to worsen the economic situation." Seems someone is thinking with some degree of clarity.