The Fresno Bee: Little change as third, final day of Fresno County labor strike winds down

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By Kurtis Alexander – The Fresno Bee
Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 | 03:08 PM Modified Wed, Jan 25, 2012 06:01 PM

The final day of Fresno County’s three-day worker strike brought similar numbers of employees to picket lines across the county today, and public services remained compromised.

The nearly 2,000 workers off the job has forced the county to close health and social service centers, curtail programs such as family counseling and abused child placements and suspend library hours.
County officials said the Sheriff’s Office and other public safety services are operating as normal.
The walk-off comes in protest of salary cuts by the county’s largest labor union, the 4,100-member Service Employee International Union, and the 75-member California Nurses Association.
The strike is scheduled to end at 10 p.m. today.

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE
Customers including Anahi Miranda, far left, arrive at the County of Fresno Department of Employment and Temporary Assistance in Kerman to find the doors still locked and offices closed on Wednesday afternoon, the third and final day of a strike by Fresno County workers.
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Neither the unions nor county management has shown any sign of backing down and renegotiating contracts.
The state labor board has ordered the parties to a settlement conference Thursday and Friday, but the talks are non-binding and no resolution is guaranteed.
County residents today showed growing frustration with the walk-off.
“They’re jeopardizing other people’s families,” said Michael Hernandez, who went to a county social service office in Kerman, only to find it closed because of the strike.
He was there to correct a problem with welfare benefits for his wife and children.

The reporter can be reached at kalexander@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6679.

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