FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: James Geluso
(661) 321-4163 | James.Geluso@seiu521.org
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Vote reinforces workers’ demand for real negotiation, not ultimatums
Members of SEIU Local 521’s Kern County Chapter, in a three-day vote this week, overwhelmingly rejected the latest contract package offered by the Board of Supervisors.
At the same time, members showed clear support for their elected bargaining team’s authority to call a strike if necessary.
The offer was a pay cut that falls disproportionately on the county’s lowest-paid and longest-serving workers. The county also continued to refuse any provisions that would improve working conditions, including provisions that would codify existing policies or standardize policies across departments.
“County workers have spoken again, and the bargaining team hears them loud and clear,” said Regina Kane, a mental health nurse for the county and president of the Kern County Chapter. “We have not received any financial information from the county supervisors or administration as to what the county revenue or expenditures really are. We have been told to sacrifice the price of our medical coverage and promised retirement benefits for a made-up financial crisis so the supervisors can call themselves pension reformers, in keeping with the current political fashion.”
Local 521 on Thursday afternoon notified Kern County of the election results and requested a formal fact-finding process. The workers, the county supervisors and the public need a clear understanding of the impact that the politicians’ proposal will have on the county’s budget, the retirement fund, the community and county employees.
The Service Employees International Union is an organization of 2.1 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide. SEIU is dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society. For more information, visit www.seiu521.org