County workers may go on strike
December 4, 2003
About 55 percent of the El Dorado County work force has been requesting better wages and benefits since August but negotiations have not been fruitful.
A few dozen of the more than 1,000 employees, mostly clerical workers, plan to picket outside the County Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday because they don’t have a contract.
“We’re asking that our members be caught up in wages and not continue to go backwards in their ability to support themselves and families in the appropriate manner,” said Heidi Weiland, executive director of the El Dorado County Employees’ Association Local 1.
The county has been irresponsible by pursuing community enhancement projects instead of planning for increased health care costs, which were anticipated, Weiland said. Now it wants employees to pay a larger portion of the health care cost, she added.
“We have outstanding employees in the county and I hope everything comes to a resolution in the near future,” said Dave Solaro, the supervisor who represents the Tahoe portion of the county. Solaro said his comments on the matter have to be limited because contract negotiations are ongoing.
Since their contract expired in October, employees have worked under a rolling contract renewed every 24 hours. The second of two impasse meetings, where the county and the union each present its best and last offer, is scheduled today at the county transportation building in South Lake Tahoe.
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Local 1 says it’s not optimistic about reaching an agreement. If the parties reach an impasse, the next step is for a state mediator to try to resolve the disagreement. If that fails, the union says it has approval from its Board of Directors to go on strike.
“We don’t know what will happen on Friday,” Weiland said. “We’d all be thrilled if we reached some resolution. The goal is come to this without doing a strike. A strike isn’t it good for everybody.”
– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org