updated 9/8/2008 7:54:12 PM ET 2008-09-08T23:54:12

The union representing California's prison guards said Monday it was starting a recall attempt against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who took office after the previous governor was recalled in 2003.

Mike Jimenez, president of the 30,000-member California Correctional Peace Officers Association, said Schwarzenegger has been a failure since replacing recalled Gov. Gray Davis.

He said the union was seeking a recall vote because its members have gone two years without a new labor contract and because Schwarzenegger didn't exempt its members from an executive order intended to cut pay for tens of thousands of state employees as a way to deal with the state's budget crisis.

This year's record-long budget impasse, with lawmakers at odds over how to close a $15.2 billion deficit, only adds to the union's disillusion over Schwarzenegger, Jimenez said.

The union must collect the signatures of more than a million registered voters to qualify the measure, according to the California Secretary of State's office

Union spokesman Lance Corcoran said a recall measure would likely end up on a special-election ballot next year rather than on the upcoming November ballot. 

If the issue makes a special election ballot, a simple majority vote is needed for the recall to succeed.

Schwarzenegger's executive order to reduce pay for some 175,000 state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour has not taken effect because the state controller has refused to comply.

The governor said the recall attempt is just a tactic to increase wages for the union beyond what the state can afford. He vowed to not capitulate.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


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