COMPTON — Several departments of city government were left virtually unstaffed for a day last week when about 55 clerical and technical workers--members of an employees' union deadlocked in contract negotiations--staged what Assistant City Manager Howard Caldwell described as "a minor sickout."
Caldwell said the Monday absences "had no impact on City Hall operations" and that by Tuesday all of the workers had returned. Each was required to verify that he or she had been ill by presenting a doctor's note to their supervisor, he said. "If in fact the employees who were requested to turn in sick slips do not, they will not be compensated." But Caldwell said city officials plan no action beyond that.
Yvonne K. Day, a city administrative assistant who is president of the 60-member Compton Local 347 of the Service Employees International Union, declined to confirm that the union had orchestrated a "sickout." But she complained that "the city is not bargaining in good faith" and has not since the union's last contract expired in July. She said union members might soon consider voting to strike.
"We're at a stalemate," Day said. "There is nothing on the board that we can say is impressive at this time. We are at a complete impasse."