SACRAMENTO COUNTY: Strike Ends, Mediator Steps In
Sacramento County health care workers ceased a four day strike and returned to work last night after the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 146 and the county agreed to bring in a state mediator today, the Sacramento Bee reports. The mediator will help the two groups negotiate a contract for the 550 Local 146 members, who include cooks, dieticians, licensed vocational nurses, mental health workers, pharmacists and therapists. The union had rejected previous pay raise offers from the county, arguing that "inflation had outpaced cost-of-living raises by about 50% during the 1990s." Union negotiator Felix Huerta said, "I think we've shown the county that we're serious. We're hoping to be able to resolve the differences with the help of an independent third party." Huerta declined to say whether union members would resume striking if the mediation process failed. And the two groups do not seem to be any closer to a contract agreement, as labor relations chief Steve Lakich said the county "continue[s] to believe that the proposal we submitted to the union is fair and reasonable" (Davila, 9/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.