County Prepares for Labor Action


Date:                March 10, 2006

Release:            Immediately                             

Contact:           Dinah Phillips                                       

                        Public Information Officer



Santa Cruz County employees who are members of Local 415 of the Service Employees International Union voted to authorize a one day labor action against the County next week.


In the event of a strike, the County will utilize essential employees and management staff to  maintain essential services to the public. All county departments will be utilizing strike plans to minimize disruption to the public as much as possible. Information on office closures will be posted on the County’s web site next week and will also be available from regular departmental phone numbers. 


On September 12, 2005, the Santa Cruz Superior Court issued a Court Order identifying approximately 200 essential employees who perform services “the disruption of which would create a substantial and imminent threat to the public health or safety.” The list of essential employees includes staff needed attend to the most basic human and maintenance services in the County, including care for the children in Juvenile Hall, detainees in the County Jails, staff who respond to reports of child and senior abuse, contain and dispose of hazardous material spills, are responsible for waste water treatment plant operations, provide road clearance and maintenance and processing of  emergency aid. 


Employees who have been served as essential employees are personally liable for complying with the Court Order, and the County intends to take all necessary legal actions to ensure full compliance with the Order and continue to provide essential health and safety services to County residents.


Santa Cruz Courts are not affected by the strike and will be open as normal.


No negotiations between the County and SEIU are currently scheduled.


The County presented its last best and final offer during the last negotiating meeting. At that meeting the County offered the following terms:


2.5 % cost of living adjustment effective upon ratification by the union and the Board of Supervisors and another 2.5% increase in March 2007. The County also offered equity increases of 2.5% upon ratification of the agreement and another 2.5% in March 2007 for 17 specific County positions.


In addition, the County accepted the Union’s proposal for health care costs, retiree health care, and reached agreement on several other issues.


Under the Union’s proposed plan for health care costs, which the County has accepted, an employee in the Blue Shield HMO who are currently paying $44.88 per month will be paying $21.28 in 2006 and $23.40 in 2007.


The County believes that it has negotiated in good faith with the Union and that its last offer is fair. The County hopes that the Union will forego its plans to disrupt service to the public and will accept the County’s offer.