Press Release: Fresno County workers mobilize Monday in a strike for respect

Press Release – Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012

Contacts:
Khanh T. Weinberg, (408) 678-3364
Jerry Jimenez, (408) 678-3391
James Geluso, (661) 321-4163

FRESNO – Thousands of Fresno County workers will strike for three days, starting 6 a.m. Monday.

Workers are striking because Fresno County managers walked away from negotiations and then imposed a final offer even as SEIU Local 521 represented workers were in the middle of voting on the county’s contract proposal.

“We would rather be doing our jobs, providing services to the community but the Board of Supervisors gave us no other choice,” said Raquel Vidal, a job specialist in CalWORKS.

Fresno County and a bargaining team elected by SEIU Local 521 members met 14 times, but the county made it abundantly clear it did not take the process seriously. From its initial package of 700 proposals, which the county said had to be accepted as a package, Fresno County’s “take it or leave it” attitude showed it had no interest in negotiating.

The county’s behavior was so egregious that the California Public Employment Relations Board took the unusual step of charging the county with failure to negotiate in good faith as required by law.

“We see this as an attack on working families, you don’t build up community by targeting its lowest-paid workers,” said Vidal, adding that workers have given up millions in pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs over the last several years. “All we are asking for is a fair contract.”

Workers will be on strike at more than a dozen locations, with three main sites at:

• Hall of Records/Plaza in Downtown Fresno, 2220 and 2281 Tulare St.
• Main Campus, 4499 E. Kings Canyon Road
• Heritage Complex, 3151 N. Millbrook Ave.

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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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