From SEIU Local 1021:
More than 2,200 Sonoma County employees will strike today to protest unfair labor practices by County executives.
Workers have been at the bargaining table for more than four months. During that time, the County has failed to appoint someone with sufficient authority to negotiate a deal. Sonoma County workers represent social workers, child welfare workers, animal services officers and veterans affairs workers; they maintain our parks, roads and traffic signals.
“We love our jobs and love serving the public – but the County is acting illegally and we have to stand up for ourselves,” said Billy Harville, a child welfare services worker and president of the Sonoma County chapter of SEIU 1021. “We gave back during the recession, and since then wages have been frozen for most of us and our health care has increased by as much as 750%. We’ve asked the County to disclose their financial reasons for continuing to cut our take-home pay, but they’ve refused. They are not negotiating in good faith, and there comes a point when we have to take care of our own families. We hope the people we serve will stand with us through this difficult time.”
County workers have organized skeleton crews who will continue to provide essential services – but many county services will be affected.
Here is a schedule of events today:
7 AM: Picket Lines Begin
7 AM-9 AM: Press availability and picket lines at 575 Administration Dr.
12 NOON: Rally with SEIU 1021 members and community allies at 2550 Ventura Ave
“We are striking against our employer – not the public,” Harville said. “We are very concerned about how the people we serve will be affected, and we hope to be back on the job soon. But we need County administrators to explain why they continue to cut our pay while sitting on millions of dollars in reserves. Many of us are at the poverty line, and some of us have to rely on public assistance or food banks to get by.”
A recent piece by Sonoma County worker Joe Pease in Sunday’s Press Democrat gives more information on negotiations.http://www.pressdemocrat.com/opinion/closetohome/4751833-181/close-to-home-why-county
You can read more about who County workers are, what they do and what they are fighting for at www.StandUpSonomaCounty.org.