The headline in today’s Bakersfield Californian, “Roughly 5,000 County Workers Could Strike over Health Cost”, does not tell the whole story. We could never have a successful strike if the issue was over the 1,215 employees that currently do not pay 20 percent of their healthcare premiums.
The real issue is an unethical and dishonest Board of Supervisors that we can no longer trust. Agreements and promises made by prior Boards of Supervisors mean nothing to the current Board. If they refuse to honor prior County commitments, can we trust anything they propose today? Can we trust that they won’t go after the newest employees’ 6 percent?
It is clear the board has no respect for general employees. They offered sheriff and fire personnel a salary increase to settle their contracts, but refuse to offer or even consider settlement proposals for general members.
They have shown how unethical they can be by agreeing to participate in both mediation and fact-finding, but rejected proposed settlements by both the mediator and fact-finder. SEIU offered to accept both the mediator and later the fact-finder’s recommendations.
The Board of Supervisors is clearly playing politics with the lives and families of the Kern County employees.
A strike is not being considered due to the threat of the Board implementing their “last, best and final offer.” It is the threat of what they will do to us next.