Tulare BOS breaks its promise; workers vow: “We’ll be back!”

Greg Gomez, Region 5 Vice President and Tulare County chapter president, and Kristy Sermersheim, SEIU 521 Chief Elected Officer talking to the media before the Tulare BOS meeting.

Greg Gomez, Region 5 Vice President and Tulare County chapter president, and Kristy Sermersheim, SEIU 521 Chief Elected Officer talking to the media before the Tulare BOS meeting.

It turns out you can’t trust the promise of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors.

Two years ago, they promised wage cuts to the lowest-paid workers would only last two years. On Tuesday, they decided it wasn’t enough, and they imposed a one-sided proposal on workers.

Tulare County workers didn’t ask for an end to furloughs, for COLAs, or for anything else but what was promised. They even offered to freeze the wage cuts to help the county. But while Tulare County can afford out-of-town anti-worker lawyers, the county supervisors couldn’t find a way to honor the promise they knew would come due.

The workers agreed two years ago to go without merit increases for two years as a way to help the county through rough times. The current contract says the workers will get their increases when the contract expires, and it expires Sunday, July 31.

What next?

After the meeting, SEIU 521 Chief Elected Officer Kristy Sermersheim told the members that we will look at the legal options. It’s clear the county didn’t bargain in good faith. But the best solution is to get new supervisors.

Three members of the Board of Supervisors are up for election next year. It’s up to us to replace those three with elected officials who know how to negotiate, how to respect workers, and how to keep their promises.

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4 Responses to “Tulare BOS breaks its promise; workers vow: “We’ll be back!””

  1. Greg Gomez says:

    We need to wipe the slate clean and hire elected officials that listen!!!!

  2. Jay Donato says:

    New Supervisors sounds like a plan.

  3. Susan Winchester says:

    Did we not learn during the strike a few years ago that asking for too much at onughsce is a deal killer? Let’s start with stopping the furloughs. “…SEIU has submitted more than twenty proposals including such things as maintaining the furlough, the restoration of merit increases, flexible classification promotions, lump sum loyal employee bonus pay of 2% for employees at Step 5 and unpaid Union Business leave for up to one year…”

    • Greg Gomez says:

      Susan, the only thing I can tell you is that if you ask for something you may not get it or you may not get as much as what you ask for. However, if you don’t ask for it, you will NEVER get it. Our proposal asked for twenty items, the majority of which came with absolutely no price tag and were still rescinded. Things like a fair discplinary procedure, greater access to our members and allowing members to contribute to our political fund via paycheck donation. None of those had any cost associated with them, but they also don’t make the headlines and don’t sell papers. Nothing that we asked for was unreasonable and frankly, wasn’t anything we weren’t willing to bend on and work towards a mutual agreement with the county over. The point here being, the county wanted to shove yet another proposal down our throats in so far as telling us how to spend the money they were going to give back to us.


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