SLO County seeks court order to stop some workers from striking

November 22, 2018

San Luis Obispo County officials filed a complaint against the county’s primary employee union and are requesting that California’s labor relations agency seek a court order to stop public health and safety workers from striking. [Cal Coast Times]

On Nov. 16, the San Luis Obispo County Employees’ Association (SLOCEA) notified the county it plans to strike as soon as Dec. 4 unless the county meets its demands. SLOCEA represents approximately 1,775 of the county’s 2,800 employees.

SLOCEA is demanding the county renegotiate terms for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 and provide union members with 2.5 percent pay increases. The county offered .5 percent raises effective July 2018, followed by 2 percent raises effective July 2019.

On Wednesday, the county filed an unfair labor practice charge against SLOCE with the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). The charge alleges SLOCEA provided inadequate notice of a pending strike and is threatening an illegal strike because the notice covers all employees, including those who provide essential public health and safety services.

Employees who perform services that, if halted, would cause a substantial or imminent risk to public health and safety are prohibited by law from participating in a strike, the county says. In the complaint filed with PERB, the county is seeking to bar 161 essential employees from striking and to place an additional 11 essential employees on-call during a strike.

“The county is not trying to prevent a strike, but we need to be sure that any strike doesn’t jeopardize the health and safety of county residents,” County Administrative Officer Wade Horton said. “We hope that PERB will help the parties resolve these issues so that a court process against SLOCEA will not be necessary.”

PERB has already begun investigating the county’s charges, according to the county. County officials hope PERB’s investigation will prompt SLOCEA to identify the dates of the planned strike and agree on the public safety positions that need to be exempted from the strike.

If these issues are not resolved, PERB may file a lawsuit in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court next week, requiring proper strike notice and preventing essential public health and safety personnel from striking.


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nazbol gang

LOL! The whole point of a strike is that the bosses can’t stop it and they are forced to negotiate. If a court order can stop a strike then it isn’t a strike or the workers aren’t doing it right. This also shows SLO’s true colors. What’s Harmon’s opinion here, she dresses her self up as a socialist, she should be vocal in solidarity with the workers here. Alas, she’s probably at a secret money grab meeting with corrupt pot dealers and developers.


Boldguy

How did this discussion go off the rails?

Government workers are simply over paid, since our politicians don’t have the will to cut wages and even more so, escalating pension costs, they elect to slow down wage growth!!!

The workers threaten to strike, good luck with that, each position would have numerous applicants to fill those cushy positions!!!

It seems like every time there’s a opening for a fire fighter there’s a hundred applicants, once they’re hired and pass their probation period they start whining about being over worked and underpaid, more of a mantra than a reality!!!

Great quote Francesca, “My grandfather was the VP of the Train Dispatcher’s Union at a time when EVERYTHING moved by train”, as Ayn Rand pointed out in her novel Atlas Shrugged before it happened, if you let the unions run the railroads they will become irreverent, they did and it did:(


Gordo

If only we had a mechanism that would determine fair and equitable cost of living allowances for county workers based on 5 or 6 comparable counties. Such a mechanism would alleviate strikes and make negotiations a simple exercise..


At least that was the intent behind the prevailing wage ordinance passed by county voters in the 1970’s and reaffirmed by voters at the ballot box a second time when the Board of Supervisors tried to dismantle it.


The County administration has always played games with their worker’s contract negotiations and tried to undermine the prevailing wage ordinance. The county begins by contracting with outside labor negotiators for millions each year (instead of having the Human Resources Department handle negotiations) to try and screw their workers out of what the ordinance and its comparable county formula says they are due.


Then the same County Administration and BOS gives the guy who runs the dog pound a 14% raise in one year! The County administration says it was because the head dog catcher is a veterinarian, even though he isn’t practicing medicine on the pooches.


So when the roads are closed because road crews are not out to clear debris and mud, when civil suits, wage garnishments and restraining orders go unprocessed, when your building permit sits in limbo or you can’t get your business license because no one is there to issue it, when you can’t enjoy the lakes and parks because they are closed and you can’t catch a flight out of the airport because staff has gone on strike, blame the Board of Supervisors and their staff for failing to follow the prevailing wage ordinance.


Francesca Bolognini

So, you are unaware that an elected official will take your calls, answer your letters, emails? Never signed a petition, perhaps? I will admit that it does not always work, but you might be surprised how often it does. Especially if you are one of many who state the same position. Political attitudes have often been altered this way.


I am always astounded by those who think that the answer to wages that fail to provide a living are improved by creating more jobs that are also underpaid. My experience of higher bottom wages is that people can afford to spend money who are most likely to do so and those who provide services and goods, like myself, are the benefactors. But perhaps it doesn’t work that way for you. Perhaps you are so wealthy that you can funnel all your excess cash and special tax breaks to some offshore account and say too bad to the rest of us.


I, for one, prefer to see that those who provide my first responder and essential civil services to be rewarded well for doing so. Not interested in taking advantage of the overabundance of underpaid folks to fill those positions. Not interested in the underqualified flooding into those positions to get off more cheaply. The underpaid should be paid a living wage to begin with. They will most likely spend it here, as will those seeking a raise, which you have already admitted is “rational”.


If you have a family to feed, cloth and educate, just when is it “convenient” to leave your job? Only when there is another that pays at least as well. With fewer and fewer jobs that support one person, that is becoming a joke.


As for what happened to the air Traffic Controllers, do you think that made aviation safer or the quality of travel better? Do you think they did not “earn” what they were asking for? If so, you are seriously unaware of the demands of the job.


Regarding corruption, the less we participate, the more exists. “Talking points”? My grandfather was the VP of the Train Dispatcher’s Union at a time when EVERYTHING moved by train. My grandparents participated at a very high level of government. I have pictures of them with Presidents, etc. Yet they lived a modest life in a small, modest apartment that I shared with them in Chicago for a few years as a child. It had murphy beds. To try to classify all unions as corrupt would be extremely disingenuous, and totally incorrect. I would save your comments on strong unions for the people in places like Michigan. Perhaps they would like to hear how much better off they have become without them. As for “talking points” yours sound like Fox News and bear no resemblance to my actual life experience.


nazbol gang

Well said. My grandfather was president of the flax growers union in his area. He and others built farms out of the arid desert soil and built a modest but secure and prosperous life because of mans ability to freely organize labor power.


The Ayn Randians forget how we got here, desperately clinging to their failed joke ideology.


pi-on

Actually, the Randians are presently pointing out the failure of socialism in Venezuela where instead of taking over the trains, the government took over the oil industry, redistributed the operating $$ from that industry which resulted in lower and lower $$ profits to take from. And when that ran out blamed others for their problems. Now there is mass starvation and emigration from that place to neighboring countries.


If you’ve ever read Atlas Shrugged this is exactly how the story plays out so the reality of what is really going on is pretty much the exact opposite of your comment.


pi-on

“I will admit that it does not always work, but you might be surprised how often it does.”


Please point to a number of episodes where it worked. I’d really like to know about this strange occurrence you speak of.


“I am always astounded by those who think that the answer to wages that fail to provide a living are improved by creating more jobs that are also underpaid.”


I never said that. In fact, that doesn’t even make sense. Please keep putting words in my mouth that I’ve never said nor would defend. In other words, stop with the strawmen arguments. It is unbecoming of you.


“But perhaps it doesn’t work that way for you. Perhaps you are so wealthy that you can funnel all your excess cash and special tax breaks to some offshore account and say too bad to the rest of us.”


I’m not wealthy at all. I have no idea why you would write such a thing.


“Not interested in taking advantage of the overabundance of underpaid folks to fill those positions. Not interested in the underqualified flooding into those positions to get off more cheaply.”


I see quite a few Cuesta College students taking the EMT courses. Would they be under-qualified to you? Sigh.



    Please understand this

-If there are more applicants than positions than the wage for that position usually goes down and if there are fewer applicants than jobs available the wage goes up.


It is called: SUPPLY AND DEMAND


In fact, that is happening RIGHT NOW if you care to take a honest look at the employment market in the U.S.


“If you have a family to feed, cloth and educate, just when is it “convenient” to leave your job? Only when there is another that pays at least as well. “


I’ve done it (with a family to fully support as well). I left a decent paying job for a LOWER paying job due to the former job having an abusive culture to its field employees. My entire life savings was gone in a year but I kept my self-respect and would do it again today if need be.


“To try to classify all unions as corrupt would be extremely disingenuous, and totally incorrect.”


You are correct in this. I didn’t mean to imply that all unions were corrupt, however many prominent unions were in partnership with the mob at the time of the unions greatest strength, it is well documented if you are honest enough to look.


“As for “talking points” yours sound like Fox News and bear no resemblance to my actual life experience.”


I don’t have cable TV and a friend informed me that Oreilly had been off the air for some time. If that doesn’t tell you how much I follow Fox News I don’t know what would.


I actually listen to NPR and do give to them when I can. Sadly, you have a stereotype from speaking with too many people who agree with you and won’t challenge you. I’m sorry for that.


shelworth

To those thinking about striking, look up what happened to the Air Traffic Controllers on August 5th, 1981…


nazbol gang

Yea, the first thing Reagan did was attack the unions and ushered in the age of neo-liberalism. He also opened up the borders to mass immigration, raised taxes, financialized the economy, started the process of mass de-industrialization and the destruction of the middle class, etc etc etc. Reagan destroyed conservatism. What have they conserved? Globalism and Israel??


pi-on

Incorrect. Reagan is known for lowering taxes across the board to stimulate the economy, not for raising them. He deregulated a number of industries in the U.S. and due to the strong economy that was produced, actually increased the number of people who became middle class. You must be getting him mixed up with Jimmy Carter and the associated ‘malaise’ period.


The mess with the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) was Reagan reacting to their threats, he didn’t instigate it as far everything I’ve read on the subject.


Francesca Bolognini

The public elects those who set the wages. We may also make our wishes known to said officials by phone, letter and email. Perhaps, since you feel the request is “rational”, you could make that known to those who determine such things and avoid the strike altogether, if enough people join you. Our government was meant to be participatory, as you know. The employees would have no voice without collective power. Stronger unions mean stronger middle class, which in turn creates a much better economy. Trust me on that, I am old enough to remember it.


pi-on

” We may also make our wishes known to said officials by phone, letter and email. “

What is the public’s recourse if public officials don’t listen? Another election? How long would that take?


“Our government was meant to be participatory, as you know. “

We have a representative democracy not a direct democracy, as you SHOULD know. That means that citizens do not have direct control over what happens in government.


“The employees would have no voice without collective power. “

Not true. If my employer mistreats me in any way I may leave at my convenience.


“Stronger unions mean stronger middle class, which in turn creates a much better economy. Trust me on that, I am old enough to remember it.”


Those are union talking points that may have been true in some areas of the country decades ago, they aren’t necessarily true today due to global competition. Since you are older what recourse did a union worker have under mob controlled unions? Please don’t feign ignorance at this, contact Jimmy Hoffa for details.


shelworth

The problem stems from the fact that the elected officials that make the deals with the Unions know that they will be long gone before the sh*t hits the fan…


shishkabob141

Stronger unions means more money being funneled to Dem candidates in a state run by Dems. Unfunded pension liabilities, a bullet train that’s behind schedule, and not even close to being on budget, healthcare promised for everyone who comes to CA, etc. Just where do you propose the money come from?


nazbol gang

The same place the money comes from for the military.


pi-on

The same place the money comes from for the military.


So you propose getting rid of the California National Guard(CNG)? Who is on call for state emergencies to maintain order? You do know that the CNG’s expenditures are nowhere close to what California spends on healthcare and social services already.


So…where is the money supposed to come from?


Vigilant Citizen

It is very tempting to put up billboard that the county is hiring and post the current (or even slightly discounted) pay rates and benefits. When the applications come flooding in (mine being one of them) maybe they might rethink the strike. Government workers already make much more in pay and benefits than private sector workers according to careertrends.com.


pi-on

In all honesty, I’ve never understood why government employee unions are even allowed to exist. Not that I have a problem with this union’s request for a 2.5% raise, that seems rational. It is just that the unions are essentially striking against the public, who has no real recourse in the matter.


nazbol gang

I agree on this point, a government union is kind of redundant. Working for the government is already a kind of union with collective power. It’s at least way different than working for private capital.