Ventura County Employees Represented by SEIU Local 998 Plan to Extend Strike
"Scores of county services ... slowed or stopped" yesterday in Ventura County as its "largest employee union" continued to strike because of a dispute over a pension benefit plan, the Ventura County Star reports. Leaders for Service Employees International Union Local 998 -- whose members include workers at the County Medical Center -- said they will extend their planned two-day strike that began Wednesday by another two-and-a-half days. SEIU Executive Director Barry Hammitt said workers will return at noon on Tuesday after a rally at the county Board of Supervisors meeting. According to county officials, nearly 1,900 people, about half of SEIU's 4,200 members, did not report to work Thursday or Wednesday, although SEIU officials "insisted" the figure was closer to 3,000 workers. Strikers rallied at several sites but "things turned unruly" at County Medical Center when strikers "delayed an oxygen truck for 15 minutes." Union chiefs said "they won't allow [such an incident] to happen again" (Levin, Ventura County Star, 7/20). Ventura County Superior Court Judge Henry Walsh issued a temporary restraining order early Wednesday morning ordering 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 (Levin, Ventura County Star, 7/19).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.