Press Release: Fresno County Supervisor needs a fact-checker

For immediate release – Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012

Contact:
James Geluso, (661) 301-3963
Khanh Weinberg, (408) 921-0098

Fresno County Supervisor needs a fact-checker

FRESNO–Supervisor Phil Larson has been making inaccurate statements to the media, and as an elected official, he should have either a better fact-checker or higher level of integrity.

To set the record straight: Larson on Monday claimed that SEIU 521 members, the workers of Fresno County, received a 31 percent raise over the last six years. This is just not true.

In 2006, Fresno County supervisors and SEIU 521 agreed on a five-year contract. During this time, workers would receive annual raises that were in line with the Consumer Price Index of the previous years. The raises ranged from 2 percent to 3.5 percent. Even assuming compounding, the raises could total only 19 percent. However, at the same time, workers gave up substantial concessions including creation of a second tier of retirement benefits.

However, those base salary raises were undermined each year by cuts. Workers have seen their paychecks eroded by increased healthcare premiums. And they were further eroded by furloughs.

In the end, nobody received anything close to what Larson claimed.

Larson has repeated this claim on the radio and on television.

Other allegations by Larson that are not reality-based include: SEIU 521 members refused to make a proposal – FALSE. SEIU 521 “bussed in” picketers to join our strike – FALSE.

In the interest of accuracy and fairness, we hope the media will report Larson’s statements in the future with more scrutiny.

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The Service Employees International Union is an organization of 2.1 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide. SEIU is dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society. For more information, visit www.seiu521.org

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