Stanislaus County Workers Begin Strike after Months Without Contract

MODESTO -- Hundreds of mental health, child support and community service professionals in Stanislaus County say are calling for an end to what they say are unfair labor practices.

Thursday marked the first day of a strike from SEIU Local 521, who say the county has trouble retaining employees.

“They come and they go, they come and they go,” child support officer Kate Selover said. “So we’re constantly in a training mode.”

Employees say they work with the county’s most vulnerable population. They work with animals, the homeless and children and they say they just want a fair shake.

County workers say they’ve been trying to negotiate a fair deal with county management for the past nine months, and have been without a contract for half a year.

“It’s not something that we wish to do. This is completely on the board of supervisors,” Eric Schwarzentraub, who works with Child Protective Services, told FOX40.

The county issued a statement to FOX40:

“We are aware that several county employees are out today related to workplace action. SEIU employees are valued employees and have been offered the same salary increases agreed to and voted upon by the vast majority of county employees.

"although we have been unable to come to a final negotiated agreement at this point we continue to negotiate with SEIU in good faith and hope to come to a resolution with SEIU in the future. The county plans additional media releases on this matter."

Organizers say this is an indefinite strike, meaning they will strike for as long as it takes to get a fair contract.

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