A group of San Diego County social workers staged a sickout Thursday to protest the county's handling of contract negotiations.
The action affected only the county's Southeast San Diego district welfare office, where 41 of 92 eligibility workers stayed home, according to county spokeswoman Mary Betcher. Betcher said eight to 10 workers would be expected to call in sick on a normal day.
Ali Hebshi, a spokesman for the social workers' union, said the workers were protesting the decision by the county's Board of Supervisors to adopt a new contract despite objections from the union.
"This was organized by the people inside that office," Hebshi said. "It was done on the initiative of the employees to express their disgust and their feeling of being put upon by the county."
Although the workers and the county agreed to a 4.25% pay increase, the county refused to make the raise retroactive to July 1, 1985, as the union requested. The union, Service Employees International Local 535, also objected to changes in the workers' layoff and transfer rights, Hebshi said.