YREKA, Calif. — Dozens of Siskiyou County employees were on the picket line Monday, protesting the County's cuts to medical insurance contributions that union representatives characterize as unfair.
"We are not asking for dramatic increases in pay," said Jodi Eceves, senior deputy agricultural commissioner for the County. "We are asking to be treated fairly and not have takeaways to our monthly income."
A unit of the Organized Employees of Siskiyou County (OESC) prepared to strike last week after contract negotiations stalled. Union representatives have said that they agree with a recommended compromise issued in a mediator's fact-finding report. At a final meeting last month, the County made a different offer. The two sides ultimately did not agree.
"Now we are here 10 years later, and we are still having takeaways happening to the three units that sacrificed so much for so many years and, other units are not being treated the same way," said Eceves.
The employees currently fighting for improved benefits from the County are represented by OESC in the "Miscellaneous, Professional, and Management" units.
"The County has not budged in its position to cut its payment for family medical insurance over $500 per month," said Steve Allen, a labor relations negotiator with Goyette & Associates, representing OESC. "The Board of Supervisors continues to pay itself $300 per month deferred compensation while offering most of OESC positions zero. This strike is about fair treatment."
OESC has called a five-day strike, which will continue throughout the week. Meanwhile, union representatives plan to make their presence known at a County meeting on Tuesday morning. This is a developing story, and NewsWatch 12 will continue to cover it as it unfolds.