Hundreds of Fresno County workers go on strike

FRESNO, Calif.

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The strikers say they just want the county to resume negotiations.

Richard Solis a Department of Social Services employee who was on the picket line told Action News, "Our main issues are we want the Board of Supervisors to come back to the table and treat us fairly."

But the Board Of Supervisors broke off talks with the Service Employees International Union last year, and imposed their last best and final offer -- a nine percent pay cut.

Welfare eligibility worker Heather Wells said the cut was unfair to those who work to help others: "It's a big hit we're out here to provide and make sure others have food and houses and we're getting ready to lose ours and the county has no qualms about it. "

County Administrator John Navarette maintains the union quit talking and the county had no choice but to impose the cuts. He says the strike isn't causing major problems. "It is having a slight impact, but nothing that requires us to shut down operations or turn people away for service."

Social service, welfare, and food stamp offices were open, but enough library workers stayed off the job to prompt the county to close 16 of its 34 branches. Most of the correctional workers at Juvenile Hall went on strike, forcing managers to cover.

But it appears corrections officers at the County Jail rejected the strike.

"In the jail, all the corrections officers showed up for work and they are one of the biggest units of SEIU." Navarette said.

Public Health Nurses who are members of the California Nurses Association Union, who serve the jail and juvenile hall are also striking. The county has retained daily hires to cover for them.

The protesting strikers are moving from the streets, to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors chambers for Tuesdays board meeting.



Most Libraries unaffected by SEIU strike

Fresno County Librarian Laurel Prysiazny announced today that with the support of SEIU employees who reported to work and the generosity of community volunteers, 16 libraries opened on the first day of the strike this morning. There are 34 libraries in Fresno County.

The following branches are currently scheduled to be open from 9 am to 5 pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday:

- Central Library - Auberry - Caruthers - Clovis Regional - Fig Garden Regional - Fowler - Kerman - Pinedale - Politi - Reedley - Riverdale - Sanger - Sunnyside Regional - West Fresno - Woodward Park Regional

"Providing quality service at all times is our priority. The staff and community response has been overwhelming and much appreciated," said Prysiazny. "With everyone pulling together as a team, we are continuing to meet the community's need for job search help, research assistance and educational resources during the SEIU strike."

Volunteers will continue to be accepted during additional days of the strike. Library experience is not required. Anyone wishing to volunteer should contact Roberta Barton at: 600-6274,; or Susan Mann at: 600-6224, Volunteers should leave a message with their contact information (phone number and e-mail address), dates and times available, and their preferred branch assignment.

An updated listing of open branches is available on the Library website at or by calling 600-7323.

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