They finally had their day…attorneys for 6 public employee unions representing 200, 000 workers made arguments before a three judge panel.
For more than three hours the the state attorneys and union lawyers went round and around over what constitutes “imminent peril.” It is the definition of these words which go to the heart of Civil Service Commission’s adotion of an emergency rule change allowing two unpaid furloughs this fiscal year – one in May and one in June. The furloughs apply to CWA-representeed state workers and potentiall all local municial workers who are governed by civil service law.
Governor Corzine has proposed 12 furlough days next year…but that was not at issue today in court.
Anyway, there was no decision and no resolution as to whether or not the state had met the definition of imminent peril ( ag’s office claimed for guv that a nearly $3 billion budget gap is imminent peril-y enough )…but something else came out of this that caught my attention.
Corzine claims that the two furlough days for state workers will save $35 million. Not so, say the unions. According to CWA, New Jersey will actually lose money because some public employees draw their salaries through the federal government and others are fee-based.
In other words, each furlough day actually winds up with a savings for the state of only $4 million. And when we are dealing with a $32 Billion dollar budget it is probably fair to say that 8 mil ain’t all that much. Whicvh brings us to the larger question…did the Governor need to make a show of getting tough with the unions in some capacity in order to have some street cred in this year’s gubernatorial election?
like my friends at FOX…I report. you decide.