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California’s Largest Public Employee Union Authorizes Strike

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SACRAMENTO (AP) — Members of California’s largest public employee union have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike as members seek new labor contracts with the state.

The Service Employees International Union Local 1000 represents about 95,000 state employees, many of whom are office and administrative workers, librarians, engineers and nurses.

The union announced Tuesday that 92 percent of its members voted for a strike. Bargaining was scheduled to resume the same day.

California has offered the union a nearly 12 percent salary increase over four years. But SEIU officials say the 3 percent annual raises would be offset by a 3.5 percent employee contribution to retirees’ health care.

SEIU 1000 President Yvonne Walker also points to a 20.5 percent gender pay gap for civil service employees, which is about the national average.