L.A. County, Union Agree To Terms To End Strike
Union officials speaking for more than 55,000 county employees said they have reached a tentative agreement with Los Angeles County following a six-day strike.
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The union was fighting for reduced caseloads and a retroactive 6-percent pay raise for its 3,600 social workers.
The timing of any potential wage hike is unclear, but the Service Employees International Union Local 721, which has been working without a contract with the county for two months, said relief is on the way for workers who have too many cases to handle.
Social workers were saying they were responsible for roughly twice as many cases as their counterparts in other major metropolitan cities.
SEIU Local 721 officials said the county agreed late last week to hire a net of 450 new social workers – a total of about 650 – by next October.
County administrators noted that many new-hires were already being processed, prior to the labor walkout.
Union officials also said the county backed away from a plan to add a graveyard shift without extra compensation.
“It wasn’t easy, but we made history,” said SEIU negotiator Chychy Ekeochah, a clinical social worker, in a statement. “Because we put it on the line, the county accepted our Child Safety Now plan. That’s a victory for us and for the children we serve.”
While details of the pay hike are yet to come, labor leaders hailed the agreement as a victory. It still must be ratified by the union membership.
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