By Lewis Griswold – The Fresno Bee
Friday, Dec. 09, 2011
Tulare County and its largest union are at impasse about ending a one week per year furlough requirement for employees.
The county wants to drop the furlough, in place for three years as a money saver, but the union won’t agree, county spokesman Jed Chernabaeff said. Nine other bargaining units have already agreed, he said.
As a result, the one-week furlough program, the equivalent of a 1.9% annual pay cut, will stay in place for about 2,300 SEIU employees if the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday votes to make no changes to terms and conditions of employment, the county said.
Union president Greg Gomez said the county’s declaration of impasse and decision to keep the furlough program comes as a surprise because the county told the union last month it would lift the furlough.
The union recently filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the county over not following a provision in the last contract, which ended in August, to place employees at higher pay steps, he said.
The county said it can suspend furloughs because more money than expected was left over at the end of the 2010-11 fiscal year.