Posted by the Business Journal Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 – 2:00 p.m.
Fresno County’s largest labor union began a three-day strike today with hundreds of workers walking off the job, the Associated Press reported.
The Service Employees International Union, which represents about one-third of the county’s 6,000 workers, said the walkout is a protest against recent pay cuts. Union worker pay was slashed 9 percent last month because of the current budget crisis. Many services, however, are still available, and the Fresno County Jail has been virtually unaffected.
“There has been no impact ay the Fresno County Jail as a result of the SEIU job action,” said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, in a statement. “All correctional officers reported for duty for the day shift. A small percentage of support staff participated in the strike and the only public impact thus far is the closure of the civil window in the lobby of the sheriff’s office.”
Sixteen of the county’s 34 libraries are open despite the strike, Fresno County Librarian Laurel Prysiazny said. SEIU employees and volunteers will help to keep the locations open.
Fresno County nurses are among those on strike, and the California Nurses Association released a statement that says the nurses have voluntarily agreed for the past five years to go without raises, and that little to no economic benefit will be derived from the proposed cuts.
“This strike is unfortunate but necessary, as the County left us no alternative by refusing to negotiate in good faith despite our request to do so,” the statement said in part.
Core programs remain in service, including food stamps, child support, Medi-Cal and CalWorks, as well as the public service counters offering marriage licenses and tax collection.