County workers' union plans two-day strike


Approximately 1,700 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union working for San Mateo County are planning a two-day strike Feb. 13 and 14 in protest of health care cuts and what they say are unfair wages.

The workers, members of AFSCME Local 829, work in numerous county departments. They voted 97 percent in favor of the two-day action after negotiations between the union and the county reached an impasse, a union press release said.

"These workers deserve fair wage and benefit increases that are consistent with neighboring counties and keep up with the cost of living," Dina Fitch, a union member who works in the county's Welfare Fraud Investigation Unit, said in a union statement Thursday, Jan. 31.

The county and the union have met 25 times over the past seven months without reaching an agreement.

The county has offered a 9 percent cost of living adjustment over three years, as well as additional increases for classifications substantially behind market-rate pay and/or experiencing worker recruitment and retention issues.

But union officials said San Mateo County's proposed increases fall far short of offsetting steep increases in health care costs, said union officials, adding that their members have given back tens of millions of dollars in wage concessions.

"We ... have agreed to every request the county has asked of us because we love our jobs and care about the services we provide to the people in our community," said AFSCME Local 829 Vice President Felipe Donaire, a social worker in Children Protective Services for San Mateo County. "What we're asking for is fairness."

The union contends the county can afford higher increases than it has proposed, asserting the county's unrestricted fund balance is relatively flush.

In a statement Friday, Feb. 1, San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy said, "The county's proposal is generous, fiscally responsible and in line with the agreements reached with other labor groups.

"It is my sincere hope that rather than strike, they can come back to the table and continue to negotiate in good faith," Callagy added.

During the strike, county workers intend to maintain essential services and will implement contingency plans to minimize service disruptions, Callagy said.

— Bay City News Service

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13 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 5, 2019 at 9:01 am

With the money the county is pulling in, they should make sure Employees who keep our county working are being fairly paid

9 people like this
Posted by Betty
a resident of Belle Haven Elementary
on Feb 5, 2019 at 10:20 am

The Countty’s offer is generous and SEIU already agreed to the the same offer. Why does AFSME think their employees deserve higher raises than the rest of the country workers? Also, don’t forget about the very generous pension that county employees receive....pensions are very very costly to tax payers and very rare these days. If you look at total compensation including pension, County employees are doing much better than many of the other employees in our country.

4 people like this
Posted by really real
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 5, 2019 at 10:47 am

> If you look at total compensation including pension, County employees are doing much better than many of the other employees in our country

Your link to that info?

Are you saying they should make the same as workers in Wyoming? Mississippi? Rhode Island?

2 people like this
Posted by Mac
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Feb 5, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Why not print what these guys make? Worried that it would make them less sympathetic?

6 people like this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 5, 2019 at 4:08 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

here are the annual salaries and benefits for all of the county employees.....

Roy Thiele-Sardina
Co-Chairman - Citizens for Fair & Responsible Pension Reform

Web Link

2 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 6, 2019 at 3:58 pm

County employees will not have the community support on this strike and it will only increase the movement to outsource/ or contract out work. I agree with FDR 100% when he said public employees do not need to be unionized. County employees have a great total comp package which includes a PENSION!!! Pensions are costing tax payers billions of dollars!!

Also SEIU already agreed to the same package Afscme received - go ahead and strike so the outsourcing can speed up.

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