Thousands of Ventura County Union Workers to Strike Today After Rejecting County’s Final Contract Offer
Thousands of Ventura County workers represented by Service Employees International Union Local 998, including employees from the County Medical Center, will go on strike today after union officials rejected the county's final contract offer yesterday, the Ventura County Star reports. The union, whose 4,200 members make up more than 50% of the county's work force, agreed to a salary increase with the county last week following the June 27 expiration of its contract, but the two sides remain divided over a pension benefit plan (Levin, Ventura County Star, 7/18). The Los Angeles Times reports that the county, citing cost concerns, "declined to guarantee that by 2004 it would implement inflationary adjustments to employee pensions" and instead offered to commission a financial study of the fund and "revisit the issue in several months" -- a proposal rejected by the union (Talev, Los Angeles Times, 7/18). Union President Keith Filegar said that the strike, the union's first since 1986, would last at least two days, at which point the union will "reassess" the situation. Meanwhile, a judge this morning will hear a request from the county to issue temporary restraining orders preventing up to 250 essential employees, including 170 medical center workers, from striking (Ventura County Star, 7/18).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.