Ventura County Workers Vote to End Strike After County Agrees to Review Proposed Pension Changes
Thousands of Ventura County employees, including hospital staff and social workers, returned to work today, after voting yesterday to end an eight-day strike over retirement benefits, the Los Angeles Times reports (Talev, Los Angeles Times, 7/26). Members of Service Employees International Union Local 998 voted yesterday to end the strike after the county agreed to study a union proposal to restructure the county's pension system over 30 years. Under the union's proposal, payments would not begin until 2004 and union members and the county would share the plan's nearly $2 million annual cost (Levin, Ventura County Star, 7/26). However, if the county and the union fail to reach an agreement, workers said they would return to the picket lines. Last week, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Henry Walsh issued an injunction ordering 176 employees, including many who work at the county medical center, to remain on the job. The county had attempted to get an injunction to order an additional 203 health care employees back to work, but at a hearing yesterday Walsh "refused" the request, saying the issue was "moot" because of the union's vote. However, Walsh did order the 203 workers to give 24 hours notice before striking in the future (Los Angeles Times, 7/26). Walsh also said that the original 176 workers would have to return to stay on the job if another strike is authorized. If the strike had continued past Aug. 1, workers risked losing their medical benefits (Ventura County Star, 7/26).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.