Schwarzenegger renews furloughs of state workers

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A California Department of Motor Vehicles customer looks at a closed sign posted on the door of a DMV branch July 10, 2009 in Corte Madera, California.

State employees would take three unpaid days a month under a new order Governor Schwarzenegger issued today. Schwarzenegger made the decision less than a month after furloughs he enacted last year expired.

Schwarzenegger's Press Secretary Aaron McLear says the governor decided to renew the furloughs to conserve cash—after the state controller warned earlier this week that California’s running out of money and may have to issue IOU’s to pay its bills.  

Last year’s order to force roughly 200-thousand state workers to take off three Fridays a month without pay saved California more than $1 billion. 

The new order will apply to a smaller number of employees than the previous one. Schwarzenegger exempted workers at departments that collect revenue, such as the State Franchise Tax Board. 

The furloughs also won’t apply workers at six unions that recently reached collective bargaining agreements with the administration. 

Six other unions that represent 150-thousand workers haven’t yet reached such agreements.  A representative of one of those unions accused the governor of leveraging the threat of furloughs in contract talks.   

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