Fighting furloughs by protesting movies

FRESNO, Calif.

State employees only found out Thursday they'd be reporting to work Friday after a court put furloughs on hold. After their unexpected work day was done, many came to the movie theater at River Park to fight furloughs by targeting a movie with a cameo by Gov. Schwarzenegger.

"Give this job to my friend here, he loves playing in the jungle," the governor says in The Expendables.

In the movie, Schwarzenegger gives a boost to Sylvester Stallone's job situation. In reality, about 150,000 state employees are pointing fingers at him for their job struggles. They're calling themselves "The Expendables" and rallying against the governor's plan for more furlough Fridays.

"Our workers for 18 months have been on furloughs and we've got people who've lost their homes, cars," said Jeff Fowler, an SEIU delegate and a state employee with the Department of Transportation. "They've maxed out their credit cards and now the governor's coming after us again."

Schwarzenegger wants to reinstitute mandatory days off three times a month for certain state employees to help fix a massive budget deficit.

Many of the same employees took the same 15% pay cut from Feb. 2009 until June of this year. Gov. Schwarzenegger's office says the state saved nearly $150 million on salaries every month with furloughs, but a state appeals court rejected the plan Thursday.

On Friday, the DMV and other state offices opened against the governor's wishes. Customers waited about one-fifth as long for service at the DMV office on Blackstone and Sierra in north Fresno, in part because nobody -- not even the employees -- knew the office would be open.

"I figured on coming Monday because I thought they were going to be closed," said Ray Villa after he finished changing over a care registration for his son. "But I watched the news last night and it said they were going to be open, so I came in."

"It was great," said Mark Levy. "I walked in, walked right out. Took me about five minutes to get done what I had to get done."

The governor's office told Action News they filed the appeal Friday afternoon. They're expecting a decision quickly enough to institute three furlough days this month bthe state just needs to save the money.

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