Fairfield, CA – Today nearly 1,800 Solano County workers went on another strike in protest of County Executives’ unfair labor practices, just as more than 2,200 County workers strike in neighboring Sonoma County. While a majority of Solano County workers were out on strike, they have organized a crew to handle emergency calls and services that impact public safety during the strike.
Since the expiration of the contract between Solano County and SEIU 1021 on September 28, the County has escalated a campaign of misinformation and worker intimidation. The County has illegally deducted fees from workers’ paychecks to cover the County’s financial obligations to retirement funds, despite California pension law. SEIU 1021 has filed charges against the County with the Public Employees Relation Board (PERB) to restore the amount to workers, in addition to earlier charges of worker intimidation and bad faith bargaining.
The County has also threatened workers who waive medical coverage that they will not receive reimbursement for their waiver, should they take their legally protected right to go on strike. To prevent Solano County workers from protesting the County’s illegal behavior, County Executives have restricted workers’ earned sick leave, resulting in workers missing medical appointments for themselves and their family members.
“County executives are punishing workers for speaking out about unfair treatment,” said Akbar Bibb, a Solano County social worker SEIU 1021 Solano County Chapter President. “County Executives have gone as far as to deny workers earned time off to attend parent-teacher conferences and sick leave to attend medical appointments. It’s unconscionable.”
Furthermore, County negotiators have also inadequately addressed safety concerns of overnight, on-call social workers who move at-risk youth out of dangerous situations at all hours of the night.
“The County is sending out social workers without any sleep to remove children from dangerous situations, putting both the workers and children at unnecessary risk,” said Nadeen Roach, and Solano County eligibility benefits specialist and member of SEIU 1021’s bargaining team. “The County needs to put a stop to this dangerous practice.”
Most recently the County claimed that negotiations were at impasse, even as SEIU 1021 urged County negotiators to continue contract talks. SEIU 1021 is calling on the County to reengage in contract talks immediately, bargain in good faith, and end the labor dispute.
Last month, Solano County workers organized a two-day unfair labor practice strike, the first in the County’s history in 25 years. Since the strike the County has not remedied its bad faith bargaining and has only escalated its campaign against public workers, including social workers, mental health specialists, public health nurses, librarians, Child Support Services specialists, public safety dispatchers, and veterans’ services workers. County workers have yet to determine the length of the current strike.