On Sept. 26, workers with the Service Employees International Union chapter 521 narrowly rejected a tentative agreement for a new contract with the county that was reached on Sept. 23. The current two-year contract expired on Sept. 30.
According to an email obtained by BenitoLink, 53% of the chapter’s members turned down an agreement that included a 3% cost of living increase and $1,000 cash bonus. The email states that many provisions of the expired contract will remain in effect until a new contract is approved.
Suzy Caston, former SEIU chapter president and member of the negotiating team, said the union was not ready to comment on the negotiations.
Deputy County Administrative Officer Edgar Nolasco said there have been no negotiating sessions since the union membership voted on the proposed agreement.
County employees held a rally outside the San Benito County administration building at 481 Fourth Street days before reaching the tentative agreement. During the rally, employees expressed support for a strike.
Before reaching the tentative agreement, the union had been pressing for a 3.5% cost of living increase and $1,000 cash bonus. During negotiations, the county offered a 2.6% cost of living increase and $300 cash bonus; and a cash-only offer.
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