UPDATE: LA County Supervisor Don Knabe, the board chairman, reports agreement was reached Wednesday with all labor unions on a two-year, no-change extension of their current contracts.
The extensions include no cost-of-living increases or salary increases.
Nearly represent nearly 90-percent of the
approximately 101,000 County employees.
“Our union partners stepped up and recognized the shared sacrifice we
are all in right now,” said Knabe. “Los Angeles County is in
difficult financial times, between diminishing tax revenue from the
local economy and round after round of funding hits from the State of
California. We are all in this together as we weather this economic
A lot is wrong with the way LA County is run, health care to the poor and foster children services come to mind, but fiscal irresponsibility is not its failing.
In the downturn in the 1990s, workers went a couple years without raises to keep their jobs and services to the public flowing as well as possible.
Now, after intense negotiations, 55,000 workers — nurses, park employees, social service workers, librarians and others who work
directly with the public represented by SEIU Local 721 — have agreed to terms with the county on a new two-year contract.
No raises.No layoffs. No sweetened early retirements. No furloughs. No nonsense.
“We took a totally new approach and we are proud of it because it worked,” Linda Dent, an intermediate clerk in the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office and vice president of the SEIU 721 executive board, said in the announcement. “We were honest about the state of the economy and the demand for services, so we found efficiencies in the system and we protected services. I believe LA will come out of these tough times even stronger than before.”
Imagine that: Living within your means makes a difference.
With the cost of living down 1.7 percent, county workers can live without a raise. With revenues down, the county can survive without drastic service cuts or draconian measures. They aren’t giving raises like DWP workers are getting, they aren’t deferring raises for another day like the city, they aren’t slashing services like the city.
Times are tough but the county isn’t hurtling to the precipice of bankruptcy as the city is.
The difference is leadership and the political will to make fiscally responsible decisions.
Ask yourself if County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky would be silent about the budget crisis if he were mayor of LA, if he would simply roll over to union demands if they were unaffordable and lead to catastrophe?
The county has a lot of problems and the supervisors are hardly saints. But there is a world of difference between the way the county is run and the way the city is being run into the ground.