Published Feb. 10, 2012
Fresno County has reversed course and will come back to the bargaining table with workers from a union that walked off the job for three days in January.
The 4,100-member Service Employees International Union will meet with the county March 2-4 in Fresno to discuss contract and unfair labor practice disputes, both sides said Thursday.
The meeting comes after the union staged a strike in protest of pay cuts that averaged more than 9% — a reduction that union officials called unaffordable and unfairly negotiated.
County leaders said during the strike that they’re willing to entertain a written proposal from the union if serious concessions are offered. Union officials countered that concessions mean submitting to county demands, and they would prefer to sit down and talk with county negotiators.
A majority of the five-member county Board of Supervisors, which has say over employee pay, has stood firm on the need for employee concessions.
The California Public Employment Relations Board, which met privately last month in Sacramento with representatives of the union and county, set a formal hearing to take up the union’s complaints in March. The board reserves the authority to require the county to adjust employee wages. The decision, though, can be appealed.