Trinity County General Unit Strike (outside rally at Board of Supervisors' 3/3/2015 meeting)
Weaverville - March 2nd, 2015.
This week, Trinity County employees are once again going on strike to demand a fair contract from the County. The striking employees include those in Solid Waste, Child Support, Health and Human Services, Behavioral Health, and other County Departments. After conducting a two day strike in Dec. 2014, the members of the Trinity County General Employees bargaining unit have decided to walk off the job for the week of March 2nd – 7th. The dispute is over the lack of pay raises in the County’s contract offer.
After the two day strike in December, the County Board of Supervisors dug in their heels and refused to change their contract offer. The County’s latest offer was a three year contract with no raises of any kind. These employees last saw a cost of living adjustment of 2% in 2011. At the same time that the County is asking it’s lowest paid employees to go as long as 7 years without any cost of living adjustment, it is giving large salary increases to its highest paid employees. In recent years, the County approved a deal that gives Department Heads an annual 5% pay raise, totaling as much as 30%.
Going on strike is an emotional and heart wrenching decision, but Trinity County employees have been given no other choice. The County and the Union attempted to come to a deal all through 2014. During the course of bargaining it became clear that taking care of the low-paid County employees was not a high priority for the County. Trinity County employees, who are already struggling paycheck to paycheck just to make ends meet, cannot afford to go three more years without a pay raise. Many County employees are so lowly paid that they are eligible for the very government assistance programs they often administer. Many County employees work second jobs just to make ends meet. Most cannot afford to do any of their grocery shopping in Weaverville.
This strike is about low paid County employees who cannot afford to go another 3 years without a pay raise. It is about the County’s refusal to offer any kind of a raise. This strike is also about fairness. How can the County give such massive raises to its highest paid employees, while telling the lowest paid employees that the County is too broke to give them even the most minuscule of raises? These striking employees are your neighbors, brothers, sisters, and people in your community. They are having trouble making ends meet. Something has to change. The Board of Supervisors and County Administration need to put General Unit employees a little higher on the priority list. Until that happens, we have no choice left but to strike.