San Mateo County union schedules two-day strike

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The union representing about 1,700 San Mateo County workers is planning a two-day strike Feb. 13-14, saying long-running contract negotiations have reached an impasse.

Members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME Local 829) voted 97 percent in favor of the two-day action. The county and union have met 25 times over seven months without an agreement.

In a statement Friday, San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy said essential county services will be maintained during the strike, adding contingency plans will be in place to minimize service disruptions.

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

While Callagy calls the proposal “generous, fiscally responsible and in line with the agreements reached with other labor groups,” AFSCME Local 829 leadership says the county can afford higher wage increases, adding the proposal does not offset proposed increases to health care costs.

“These workers deserve fair wage and benefit increases that are consistent with neighboring counties and keep up with the cost of living,” said Dina Fitch, a union member who works in the County’s Welfare Fraud Investigation Unit, said in a union statement.

Callagy said it is his “sincere hope that rather than strike, they can come back to the table and continue to negotiate in good faith.”

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