July 23, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Fresno, CA – A state appeals court ruled July 12 that Tulare County had to end a seven-year freeze on pay and promotions for its 2,800 employees who are represented by SEIU Local 521.
The Fifth Appellate District rejected county officials’ appeal of a February 2015 ruling by the state’s Public Employment Relations Board that ordered it to end the freeze. Local 521 had agreed to the pay freeze in 2009 to help the county weather the recession, but the contract stated that workers would still receive promotions and step increases. Tulare officials refused to do that after the agreement expired in 2011. The decision “righted a wrong,” said information-technology worker Greg Gomez. “It was totally underhanded what the county did.” Tulare County will now have to give workers back pay since August 2011 plus 7% annual interest. “We hope the county will accept this ruling and move on rather than waste more taxpayer dollars on court appeals,” said Local 521 chapter president Ryan Wilson. Read more