Mendocino County Workers Rally at Board of Supervisors Meeting to Demand Action on Staffing Crisis
Overworked child protective service workers are unable to follow up on reports of abuse and neglect in a timely manner. Public works employees are unable to keep up with important infrastructural work like filling potholes. Eligibility workers are too short-staffed to keep pace with the volume of applications for food stamps and other safety-net services desperately needed in a county with a poverty rate of over 14%. These are the costs to the residents of Mendocino County of the County’s staffing crisis.
That’s why on Wednesday, June 8, dozens of county workers rallied outside the Board of Supervisors meeting. We demanded action to ameliorate this crisis after County administration proposed a zero percent cost-of-living adjustment for employees, despite the fact that the County is currently losing employees faster than it is hiring replacements.
“The most valuable asset the county has are its employees,” said Julie Beardsley, SEIU Local 1021 Mendocino County Chapter President and Senior Public Health Analyst for the County. “The past two and a half years have been especially stressful and difficult for our county workers, but they continued to provide services and work long hours, often causing personal hardship. SEIU wants to work with the County to find cost savings, and collaborate on ways to allocate resources to provide our employees with a fair wage for serving our community so that they will stay and continue their careers with the County.”
In a tight labor market like the one we are in now, the County must take concrete steps to make these jobs competitive, both to keep current employees from leaving and to recruit new employees from both within and outside the county. Wage cuts from years past have never been fully restored. They certainly have not kept pace with skyrocketing inflation and housing costs, which have impeded the County’s ability to recruit new employees from outside the county and retain staff. This is especially true for those employees who do not already own property in the county.