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County workers approve new labor contract

Posted: February 13, 2014 1:09 p.m.
Updated: February 13, 2014 1:09 p.m.

More than 55,000 Los Angeles County union employees overwhelmingly approved a labor agreement with the county, officially bringing an end to contentious negotiations that included a six-day strike by social workers, officials announced Thursday.

The agreement between the employees represented by Service Employees International Union Local 721 and the county was approved by more than 95 percent of workers who voted, according to the SEIU, with voting taking place over a three-week period that ended Wednesday.

The union, which represents public works employees, nurses and social workers, touted the deal as a “visionary new labor agreement” in a news release announcing the results of the vote.

“This contract is a huge step forward for child safety in L.A. County. It also provides income security for county workers, who deliver high-quality services to working families every day,” said Bob Schoonover, SEIU 721 president.

“Our members keep our parks clean, protect our drinking water, meet the needs of families and care for the sick at hospitals and clinics.”

A major focus of the union in negotiations was the case load of social workers. As part of the agreement, the county will hire 450 additional social workers by Oct. 1, a move the union says is necessary to ensure quality care.

The deal also includes a 6 percent salary increase.



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