THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL
Aug 1, 2023
“Mendocino County has amazing people, natural resources, and the spirit to move forward. This strike authorization is a clear indication that things need to change.”
The vast majority of Mendocino County employees represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 voted last week to authorize their bargaining team to call a strike, union representatives announced in a press release.
According to the release, “the strike authorization vote passed overwhelmingly, with 92.4 percent voting yes” to the question of whether a strike should be called “if it becomes necessary.”
“Our members are frustrated with the lack of leadership from this administration,” SEIU 1021 Mendocino County Chapter President Julie Beardsley, a senior public health analyst for the county, is quoted as saying. “Mendocino County has amazing people, natural resources, and the spirit to move forward. This strike authorization is a clear indication that things need to change.”
Union representatives claim that “despite total revenue for Mendocino County having increased 44.8 percent since 2019-2020, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has continued to bargain in bad faith with its public health nurses, children’s social workers, road crews, and other employees.
In repeated negotiation meetings, the county has insisted that its employees pay more for their healthcare and retirement,” which the union argues constitutes “an overall pay cut (which will only serve to) exacerbate the current staffing crisis by pushing even more county workers to opt for better-paid positions in neighboring counties, cities, and the private sector.”
In its latest release, the union describes the county’s rate of vacant positions as 29 percent, a “critical staffing shortage that jeopardizes the health, safety, and well-being of county residents, including the most vulnerable, with:
A nearly 40-percent vacancy rate in Family & Children’s Services.
A 44-percent vacancy rate in Department of Transportation road crews.
A 70-percent vacancy rate for mental health clinicians.”