According to a news report in the Sacramento Bee, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened to sign an executive order today cutting the wages of more than 200,000 state employees to the federal minimum wage of $6.55. The order would provide that the balance of their wages would be paid once the state budget, due July 1, 2008, is passed.
The announcement caused quite a stir. Petitions were circulated, protests were planned and state Controller John Chiang announced that he would ignore the governor's order. "He will pay state workers the salaries that they have earned, and that's full salary," said Deputy Controller Hallye Jordan.
In addition to cutting salaries, including union and other contractually specified salaries, the order would require state agencies to stop authorizing overtime for most employees, impose a hard hiring freeze except for state jobs directly related to the preservation and protection of human life and safety, and suspend work for all retired annuitants, permanent intermittent employees, seasonal employees, temporary help workers, student assistants and some contractors.
As his deadline approached, the governor postponed the issuance of the order until at least Thursday.