Furlough Fridays Lead to Strike Talk for State Workers

AAA hopes to save members from wait at DMV

Friday, Jul 10, 2009  |  Updated 11:53 AM PDT
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DMV Set to Close Friday as Budget Woes Continue

Damian Trujillo

This man says that state furloughs are costing him hundreds of dollars a month out of his paycheck.

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DMV Set to Close Friday as Budget Woes Continue

DMV and several other state agencies will be closed on Friday to deal with the state's ongoing budget crisis.
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Anyone who has ever been to the DMV knows what a miserable experience it can be to wait in long lines, fill out fields of forms, and what’s worse, there are no seats to wait in. Starting Friday going to the DMV will become an even more exasperating experience.
 
Most California government offices, including the DMV, will be closed three Fridays a month starting today. The closures are a part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Furlough Friday" plan, which aims to balance California’s $26.3 billion deficit.

DMV workers, along with other state employees in the SEIU local union are planning a demonstration against the furloughs at 11 a.m. Friday.  

In all some 95,000 state workers have been without a contract since June and call the additional forced Friday off the last straw and they are now talking about striking.

The Sacramento Bee is reporting state employees could call for a strike vote as early as next Monday.

The  newspaper has a nice question and answer article on what the furloughs mean to you.

It was only weeks ago that lawmakers, finance officials and the governor were warning that California was headed over a financial cliff.

Without a balanced budget by June 30, they said the state was at risk of running out of money and its government would grind to a halt. Then the calendar changed, and nothing much changed: The sky didn't fall when the new fiscal year started July 1, even though California remained without a balanced budget.

The state's deficit has only grown since then, but the only thing that has come to a standstill are the negotiations over closing California's $26.3 billion deficit.

Issuing IOUs to thousands of state vendors is preserving billions of dollars and buying state lawmakers time to find a compromise. On Thursday, analysts and state fiscal experts said lawmakers actually can procrastinate for perhaps six more weeks, and even a bit longer.

Back to the DMV closures:  those offices will undoubtedly be even more crowded on the days they are open. But never fear, the American Automobile Association is here to help save members from the pain of the DMV.
 
AAA offers full DMV services to its members Monday through Friday.
 
“We have the staff to do it and are very glad to service our members,” said AAA spokesperson Cynthia Harris.
 
AAA hopes offering these services will help combat the stress the DMV will receive from the closures. To find the AAA office nearest to you visit their Web site

Lauren Salisbury contributed to this article.

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