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SLO County files unfair labor practice charge against employees’ union

Posted at 4:46 PM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 19:46:59-05

The County of San Luis Obispo has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the San Luis Obispo County Employees’ Association (SLOCEA).

The action comes after SLOCEA notified the county that its members had called for a strike as a result of failed contract negotiations.

A potential strike could reportedly begin as soon as December 4.

County officials say “deficiencies” in the union’s strike notice violate state labor laws so they’ve asked the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to investigate. The county says it hopes the investigation will prompt SLOCEA to identify the dates of the strike and agree upon which employees serving in public health and safety roles would be exempted from the 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 in a statement released Wednesday.

SLOCEA General Manager Pat McNamara says the county’s action was not unexpected and SLOCEA will be filing their opposition soon.

“We only today received the County’s list of employee classifications it deems to be essential,” McNamara told KSBY News. “Had we received it when it was originally requested this issue could have been resolved without all of the drama and expense to taxpayers.”

SLOCEA represents more than 1,700 county employees.

The two sides have reportedly been negotiating for months. McNamara says union members believe the county is treating them unfairly. They’re asking for an additional 2.5 percent wage increase for employees, restoration of minimum pay for on-call employees, and an increase in medical contributions for all employees.

The county says that unless its issues with SLOCEA are resolved with PERB’s help, PERB may file a lawsuit in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court next week.

Previous coverage:
SLO County employees could go on strike