FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 27, 2015
Contact: Tom Webster, firstname.lastname@example.org, (661) 412-3414
SEIU Members Address County’s Fiscal Emergency
Cuts without investment hurt Kern County
Bakersfield, Calif. – In response to Kern County’s declaration of fiscal emergency today, Service Employees International Union Local 521 released the following statement on behalf of Chief Elected Officer Luisa Blue:
“Kern County’s declaration of a fiscal emergency allows the county flexibility to tap into reserves, which may be needed, but we would caution the Board of Supervisors not adopt drastic cuts that could cripple vital community services. Several issues are colluding to affect the county’s budget situation, among them, pension costs and a decrease in projected tax revenues from falling oil prices.
“On the topic of pension, SEIU is committed to working with the county to explore ways to keep the county retirement system sustainable for future generations of workers. Studies show that ensuring retirement security produces significant economic benefits to communities.
“As for the drop in funding, temporary wage cuts and hiring freezes may be an obvious solution, but we know all too well that cuts alone are never the sole answer to economic problems. SEIU members are committed to this community and want to explore with the Board of Supervisors the option of increasing revenues as a long-term investment in Kern County.”
During the Board of Supervisors’ morning meeting, Kern County employees had also addressed the board.
“Cuts and freezes aren’t going to help our economy and the damage they do in the long term will be more than we save in the short term,” said David Camacho, an Animal Services Officer and a member of SEIU Local 521. “In times like these, we need to invest in our community and make sure the services we provide are there for the people of Kern County.”
Moriah Lee, a Human Services Technician II, said: “We have an opportunity to reorient our economy so that the services we offer don’t rely as heavily on the politics of countries half way around the world. We need to put our community first by working together to invest in services. If we do it right, it’s not just the best thing for the oil workers, it’s the best thing for everyone who calls this county home.”
# # #
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