Fresno County employees return to the picket line

FRESNO, Calif.

Several union members went inside to make their case to the County supervisors, who they blame for causing the strike.

Striking Social Services employee Francis Coronado asked the board: "How much more do you want from us. How much more do you want us to keep on giving."

Members of the Service Employees International Union, SEIU and the California Nurses Association want the Supervisors to reopen contract talks.

County Supervisor Henry Perea is also hoping a majority of the board votes to resume talks. "It's critical I think that we get back to the table and find that common ground."

But while the strike is on, other workers are taking up the slack. At the juvenile justice campus probation officers like Gilbert Sanchez are among those doing extra work. He said, "We're a little rusty but were getting the hang of it."

Probation Chief Linda Penner says double shifts are keeping staffing at pre-strike levels. She said, "They are out in the field working then coming in and covering shifts after their regular hours."

School classes for the inmates resumed today after being suspended on Monday.

In addition to Juvenile hall, social service offices that deal with public assistance, food stamps, child abuse and other services have been impacted.

The strike is slated to end after Wednesday. Penner and other department heads will be relieved when it does. She said, "My hope is come Wednesday night at 10 o'clock everybody goes back to work and gets their job done and that is the utmost importance to me."

The strike was called after the county gave up on negotiations and declared an impasse. The county will have a chance to reopen negotiations with the unions after a meeting with the Public Employment Relations Board in Sacramento on Thursday.

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PRESS RELEASE

More library staff return to work to help during SEIU strike

With the support of additional SEIU employees who reported to work today, and the continuing help from community volunteers, three (3) more libraries ( Bear Mountain, Gillis and Kingsburg) opened today according to Fresno County Librarian Laurel Prysiazny. This means the Library is able to open 19 out of 34 branches in Fresno County. The Library has also been able to staff the Jail Library with an experienced employee ensuring that essential service continues.

The following branches will be open from 9 am to 5 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday:

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

"I am so proud of our staff and the work they do. Rallying to ensure we continue to provide information service to the community is a true mark of their commitment to excellent customer service," said Prysiazny. People's need for information, literacy services, job search help and research assistance doesn't stop because of a labor action. I am pleased to see that our staff recognize this and together with our tremendous volunteers we can continue to meet people's needs 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 www.fresnolibrary.org or by calling 600-7323.

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