A statement from Regina Kane, president of the Kern County Chapter of SEIU Local 521:
Some individuals would have you believe SEIU 521 did not want to work toward a fair contract. That assertion is untrue. SEIU was always willing to work with County BOS and CAO’s office. The members proved that again this week, by voting to accept a mediator’s settlement.
Make no mistake, this is a bad deal. It allows the county to backslide on its promises, and it represents a pay cut up to 23 percent, with the largest cut coming out of the paychecks of the lowest paid public servants.
Remember, this is the third time a settlement has been proposed, but the first time the BOS accepted it. If Ray Watson, Jon McQuiston, Mike Maggard, Don Maben and Michael Rubio had been willing to negotiate with the employees who serve the public, we could have had a settlement two years ago. The supervisors instead chose to reject every reasonable suggestion made.
This bargaining process continued for two long and unnecessary years. SEIU, the public employees who serve the community, voted to accept a financial burden in order to serve the public. We narrowly voted to accept the mediator’s settlement and to continue doing the jobs we were hired to do.