This editorial appeared in The Sacramento Bee.
A Superior Court judge's decision Thursday backing the right of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to order furloughs for state employees should be a wake-up call to the public-employee unions that have been fighting the governor on this issue.
The decision should also send a message to rank-and-file state employees about the ill-considered strategy of their union bosses.
The union leaders' opposition to the governor's proposed furloughs has not been in the interest of their broader membership. The delay the opposition has caused has made the fiscal crisis worse, meaning even more cuts will eventually be required to balance the budget.
But even if the unions were to prevail in court, preventing furloughs would only mean requiring more layoffs as an alternative, a measure the governor has the unquestioned authority to order.
In the end, state workers would still be hurt, but the pain would be more focused on newer and lower-paid employees rather than senior workers with higher salaries. It is those senior employees, incidentally, who tend to control union affairs and politics.
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