Your Government in Action – State Fund Phone Number 1-888-WHAT!?

 California State Budget, California State Government, State Fund  Comments Off on Your Government in Action – State Fund Phone Number 1-888-WHAT!?
Sep 072011

I got this from the Work Comp Executive and almost fell out of my chair. The link is broken to the article on line, so I am re-posting the email in its’ entirety.

State Compensation Insurance Fund employees who choose to avail themselves of the carrier’s customer support toll free number (888) STATEFUND better hope the number isn’t symbolic of the support they would receive on the other end. What State Fund employees have discovered is that you don’t have to dial all 9 letters. 1-888-STATE FU will suffice.

The number appears on the customer support page of its website. And for employees facing upheaval under State Fund’s agency-wide consolidation plan, it seems emblematic of their future prospects. But there is no indication of subliminal messaging. No intentional flip off here.

“We have used this number in the past, but not state-wide. The number is easy to remember and our goal is to make it easy for customers to reach us,” State Fund spokeswoman Jennifer Vargen tells Workers’ Comp Executive. Vargen says that to her knowledge, no one has complained about the number.

According to state sources, 1 888 STATE FU is being greeted with some derisive chuckling from State Fund employees, who find it ironic that such a phone number is being put to state-wide use after State Fund’s announced consolidation.

Faced with a declining premium base, State Fund has begun the process of downsizing its operations, closing several offices and transferring employees to other geographic locations. Many employees are faced with lengthy commutes, difficult moves or finding new jobs in a perilous economy.

According to the musings of The State Worker blog, the phone number has become a running joke with State Fund employees. “Are you worried about your job? Just call 1 (888) STATE FU.”

When State Fund announced its consolidation, some employees were inclined to tell State Fund management the same thing. The Service Employees International Union, State Fund’s largest union, has accused management of engaging in de facto layoffs with its consolidation plan. Because many employees will not be able to make the change, they’ll just leave. When State Fund announced its plan at the end of last year, rank and file employees complained that they weren’t valued.

State Fund’s plan is expected to affect some 1,400 employees over three years, but earlier this year State Fund struck a deal with SEIU to lessen the impact to employees. Provisions of the deal include paid time off for employees relocating to take care of various aspects of the move. Employees who choose not to move will also receive paid time off to assist in their job searches.

Vargen says, overall, the moves are going very smoothly and all 2011 moves are on schedule to be completed by the end of the month.