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Union calls for L.A. county workers to picket over negotiations

September 12, 2013|By Abby Sewell

A union representing about 55,000 Los Angeles County employees called on its members to rally outside of county facilities on their lunch hour Thursday.

Service Employees International Union local 721 encouraged its members to hold a "lunchtime picket" outside of county job sites. The union has been in contract negotiations with county management for several months.

The county Board of Supervisors approved contracts including modest pay increases for public safety employees including sheriff's deputies and probation officers over the summer. Prior to that, most county employees had gone without pay increases for at least four years.

SEIU is pushing for wage increases for the non-public safety employees it represents as well, and for the county to hire more social workers to reduce caseloads.

The union has also put forth a variety of other proposals including raising the "living wage" paid to employees of private companies that contract with the county, strengthening a county rideshare program and for the county to be more aggressive in collecting property taxes from large corporations.

SEIU members' labor contract is up at the end of September, but union spokeswoman Roshin Mathew said the county had been unresponsive to the union's proposals and it did not appear likely that the two sides will reach an agreement by then.

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Twitter: @sewella

abby.sewell@latimes.com

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