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Los Angeles

Union Loses Bid on Disciplining of Deputies

October 11, 2003|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

A judge denied a request Friday by union leaders to stop Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca from disciplining deputies who take part in a rolling wildcat strike that has shut down courthouses and diminished patrol ranks over the last three weeks.

Orange County Superior Court Judge John M. Watson, however, acknowledged that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week gave Baca broader powers than he needs to end the sickout.

The ruling came on a day when county officials reported that all deputies had reported to work, but warned of a possible massive sickout next week targeting the courts. The wildcat strike continued even after Watson last week ordered deputies to return to work or face court sanctions.

Union officials said the sickout demonstrates the frustration of deputies with lingering labor negotiations with the county. They have sought a 3% annual pay raise, but county officials said they have no more money for any employees this year.

Watson ordered Baca to draft a policy to ensure that deputies and other employees who are legitimately absent because of illness are not wrongly punished.

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