ABC News: Thousands of Fresno County workers go on strike

Posted by ABC News Monday, Jan. 23, 2012

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Thousands of Fresno County workers walked off the job Monday morning, protesting what they call unfair contract talks. A number of Fresno County services are impacted by the walk out, and the striking workers are making their voices heard.

Many of the striking workers said they had no choice but to join the picket lines after their take-home pay was cut between $200 and $400 per month.

Hundreds of union employees in Fresno County walked off their jobs on Monday morning to take a stand against pay cuts. Workers say those cuts range from 9 to 16 percent.

“We’re out here to provide, and make sure other people have food and houses, and we are getting ready to lose ours, and the county has no qualms about it. We made our budget,” said Eligibility Worker Heather Wells, “We made our budget by eliminating programs and moving people around.”

Chanting catchy slogans and making noise, employees say Fresno County officials should return to the bargaining table and reach a fair agreement. But top leaders in Fresno County say they tried.

All over Fresno, workers marched together. At Dakota and HWY 41, the CHP had to shorten picket lines after traffic was backed up during the morning commute.

Fresno County officials declared an impasse in late 2011. The county claims the union refused to make any meaningful concessions. Union workers say the county ignored their offers.

Monday is the first day of a three day strike. If you are going to any Fresno County offices where the striking workers are employed, you can expect longer line for the next few days.

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PRESS RELEASE

Most Libraries unaffected by SEIU strike

Fresno County Librarian Laurel Prysiazny announced today that with the support of SEIU employees who reported to work and the generosity of community volunteers, 16 libraries opened on the first day of the strike this morning. There are 34 libraries in Fresno County.

The following branches are currently scheduled to be open from 9 am to 5 pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday:

– Central Library – Auberry – Caruthers – Clovis Regional – Fig Garden Regional – Fowler – Kerman – Pinedale – Politi – Reedley – Riverdale – Sanger – Sunnyside Regional – West Fresno – Woodward Park Regional

“Providing quality service at all times is our priority. The staff and community response has been overwhelming and much appreciated,” said Prysiazny. “With everyone pulling together as a team, we are continuing to meet the community’s need for job search help, research assistance and educational resources during the SEIU strike.”

Volunteers will continue to be accepted during additional days of the strike. Library experience is not required. Anyone wishing to volunteer should contact Roberta Barton at: 600-6274, roberta.barton@fresnolibrary.org; or Susan Mann at: 600-6224, susan.mann@fresnolibrary.org. Volunteers should leave a message with their contact information (phone number and e-mail address), dates and times available, and their preferred branch assignment.

An updated listing of open branches is available on the Library website at www.fresnolibrary.org or by calling 600-7323.

(Copyright ©2012 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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