State's largest employee union OKs strike

SACRAMENTO A spokesman for the governor said Monday it would be a shame for thousands of state workers to go on strike when unemployment in the state is so high.

"We hope they don't strike. They voted to allow themselves to walk away from their jobs, but we hope they continue to show up for work and provide the valuable services Californians depend on," said the governor's spokesman Aaron McClear.

Close to 75 percent of the 95,000 members of the Service Employees International Union Local 1000 who voted last week authorized the union to call for job actions, up to and including a strike.

Union officials say their members are angry the governor is forcing them to take three unpaid furlough days a month, which amounts to a 15 percent pay cut. Those furloughs are set to continue until June 2010.

The SEIU represents white collar and clerical workers, teachers, librarians and nurses hired directly by the state. It includes DMV clerks, state tax board auditors, and healthcare professionals in public hospitals.

City News Service contributed to this story.

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