An Alameda Superior Court judge has ordered the Schwarzenegger administration to stop furloughing thousands of state workers who are members of three big public sector unions, including Service Employees International Union Local 1000, offering them a huge legal victory as 2010 begins.
In three rulings released late Thursday, Judge Frank Roesch said the governor's reliance on the state's Emergency Services Act to order three furlough days a month, triggering pays cuts of almost 15 percent, was flawed and illegal.
The judge was silent on the issue of back pay. Union lawyers said they'll seek it.
SEIU attorney Felix De La Torre said he and the 95,000 members of his powerful statewide union were pleased and grateful for the ruling.
"I couldn't think of a better way for our union and its members to ring in 2010 after being under siege by the Schwarzenegger administration for over a year," De La Torre said.
Schwarzenegger press secretary Aaron McLear said the administration will appeal, and predicted furloughs will continue until the cases are resolved.
"In these tough economic times, there's no reason that state workers should be shielded from the same economic realities the rest of the state is facing," McLear said.
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