Politics & Government

Judge rules Schwarzenegger illegally dropped state workers' holidays

With Columbus Day just 10 days away, a Sacramento Superior Court judge has ruled that the Schwarzenegger administration illegally dropped the second Monday in October and Lincoln's Birthday from the state's paid holidays calendar.

But state employees may have to work Oct. 11 — the day on which Columbus Day would normally be observed. Legal wrangling could delay any remedy ordered by Judge Timothy Frawley for the three unions that won the decision. His ruling doesn't become final for 60 days.

"It's really up to the discretion of the administration," said Steven Bassoff, an attorney representing the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians in the lawsuit. "They should do the right thing and give (employees) the day off."

Aaron McLear, spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said that the administration will "appeal the decision as soon as possible" and will tell employees that Oct. 11 is a regular business day.

He characterized the yearlong legal fight as an example of union excess, since state workers still get 12 paid holidays each year. The unions fought — and won — by arguing that the issue is a matter of state labor contract law.

Frawley's ruling affects about 105,000 state workers represented by unions that were party to the lawsuit: SEIU Local 1000, California Association of Professional Scientists and the psychiatric technicians.

The unions agreed that lawmakers and the governor changed state law last year to eliminate Columbus Day and Lincoln's Birthday as paid holidays. They also acknowledged their contracts expired long before that.

To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.