Tulare County workers to vote on new contract

For immediate release
July 11, 2012

Contact: James Geluso, (661) 321-4163

Tulare County workers to vote on new contract

Tentative agreement would partially restore justice

Tulare County workers will vote on a new contract for the first time in two years.

The agreement reached Tuesday between the SEIU 521 bargaining team and Tulare County would partially make up the losses incurred by workers when the county in 2011 refused to honor its agreement to restore steps that had been frozen. SEIU 521 is awaiting a legal decision from the Public Employment Relations Board on that issue.

“We are recommending the members vote yes on this agreement , and move on to continue to serve our community as best we can in these circumstances,” said Greg Gomez, chapter president of SEIU 521’s Tulare County Chapter. “We are glad that the county has come very far in honoring our original agreement on steps and promotions. We look forward for the PERB decision to reach total justice on this issue.”

The new agreement includes a continued wage freeze and no improvement in the health insurance payment formula, which has been a major issue with the employees for many years. However, there is language allowing for management and the union to attempt to improve the health insurance situation, and to investigate ways the county and the workers can take advantage of the Affordable Care Act, which just survived a Supreme Court threat last month.

“I am really happy that the county agreed to reopen for health care improvements; the costs for most of the members is so high they can’t even afford to purchase it,” said Ty Inman, a sufficiency support technician in Porterville and a member of the union’s bargaining team. “If we can learn enough about the best way to use the new healthcare law, we may have a win-win for both management and union.”

Members will vote beginning Thursday at county offices. The votes will be counted immediately after the last vote on Tuesday, July 17. If it is ratified by the members, it will then be presented to the Board of Supervisors on July 24.

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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, visitwww.seiu521.org

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