Striking Ventura County Employees Reject County Offer
Representing striking Ventura County employees, including employees of the county health care agency and some staff at Ventura County Medical Center, officials of Service Employees International Union Local 998 yesterday rejected a new contract offer from the county, a move that could prolong the strike through the end of the week, the Ventura County Star reports. The strike, which has been going on since last Wednesday, would have ended today at noon had the offer been accepted. The county's offer would have offered employees $19.8 million dollars for pension cost-of-living adjustments, but the union wants a "retroactive deal" that covers such adjustments back to 1979. The county says that would cost $108 million. While the two sides continue negotiating, the county has requested that workers "critical" to public health and safety remain on the job (Levin, Ventura County Star, 7/24). Last Wednesday, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Henry Walsh issued a temporary restraining order requiring 176 union members -- including a "sizeable chunk" of the medical center workers, whose absence would "jeopardize public health or safety" -- to remain on the job for the duration of the strike (California Healthline, 7/20). On Monday, however, Walsh "delayed" an additional county request to return another 215 workers "critical to public health and safety" to the job (Ventura County Star, 7/24).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.