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Planned strike to affect county government services

Greta Mart/KCBX
Striking workers plan to picket at the county's government center in downtown San Luis Obispo.

San Luis Obispo County is preparing for an imminent employee strike. Members of the SLOCEA union plan to strike Tuesday, and potentially continue through Friday. The county and union have not been able to come to an agreement over current and future wages and benefits, and while the strike is expected to happen, what’s not certain is who will strike and what all will be affected.

County officials have said 160 positions related to public health and safety will not be allowed to strike next week.

These include “services at the jail, police, fire water and wastewater employees who are responsible for water quality and health of our water system,” said Wade Horton, the county’s administrative officer.

Other positions that are prevented from striking include some social services staff and county health workers, county park rangers and a worker at the county-owned-and-operated country club. So what services will be impacted?

“You may see a slow in processing at the planning counter,” Horton said. “It may take a longer to process a permit over the counter.”

As of Friday afternoon, county officials were still scrambling to find out who plans to strike and what operations will be affected. This is the county’s first strike, and SLOCEA represents about seventeen hundred of the county’s nearly 3000 workers.

The county library system announced all branches will be closed Tuesday through Thursday. The San Luis Obispo County Airport’s website says its administrative office will be closed December 11-14, but the terminal will be open and the flight schedule uninterrupted. County behavioral health services like mental health clinics, drug testing and youth services may either be appointment only or offer reduced hours; that is, if the employees come to work.

A SLOCEA representative said workers will not be paid if they chose to strike—by the county nor the union. A picket line is expected to start at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the county government building in downtown San Luis Obispo.

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