No More Furlough Fridays

March 6, 2009 7:26:11 PM PST
The doors to local DMV offices were locked Friday as part of the state's final "Furlough Friday." With a plan in place to fix the state budget, the state offices can stay open. The governor's announcement doesn't put an end to furlough days. Although state offices will remain open, employees still have to take unpaid time off every month.Nevertheless, the change does help some, who rely on state-workers. Kay Lim hasn't served too many customers Friday. Her restaurant, Angelo's Drive-In is located right across the street from the Fresno DMV. Last month, Governor Schwarzenegger ordered several state-run offices, including the DMV, to shut down every other Friday. Since then, Lim says business on those days has gone down about 20 to 30 percent. "Business has been slow. We noticed that and a lot of traffic has slowed down. They should not close on Friday," said Lim.

Fortunately for Lim, this is the third and last Friday state-run offices will be closed. The governor's office has put an end to furlough Fridays. Instead, about 238-thousand state employees will individually pick their furlough days, as government offices return to their normal schedule.

Service Employees International Union member, Hrair Masserlian said, "Those furloughs coupled with SEIU's agreement created an unattainable situation where there were other state workers in the state offices that weren't represented by SEIU and I can only imagine what type of confusion that caused in those departments."

The announcement is a relief to tax-payers, like Esther Gonzalez, who was disappointed after driving from Firebaugh to Fresno, just to pick up a booklet at the DMV. "So now, there goes my gas, there goes my time, there goes my thing and now I have to work really hard to study," said Gonzalez.

SEIU members will now only have to take off one day a month. Non-union employees will still have to take two days off a month. So, depending on the state-employee, they will still be losing between 5 and 10 percent of their annual salary.

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