Employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 829 called off a two-day strike planned for Feb. 13 and 14 after reaching a tentative agreement over a three-year contract with San Mateo County management over the weekend, according to a press release.
Both county officials and a union representative said they are awaiting a union vote on the proposed contract to take place this week before details of the tentative agreement are released, but both groups expressed relief county services would not be interrupted this week as had been previously planned.
“The county is pleased this week we can all continue our dedicated work serving the public and community,” said county spokeswoman Michelle Durand in an email.
Negotiations between the union and county management have been at a standstill for months. Prior to the agreement reached last weekend, county officials proposed a 2 percent base salary increase, a 9 percent cost of living increase spread over three years, immediate increases for those earning wages substantially below market, increased vacation accruals and two “winter recess” paid days off in 2019 and 2020, an offer county officials previously described as generous and fiscally responsible.
Union representatives previously expressed disappointment with the county’s prior offer, saying it did not keep pace with the region’s rising cost of living and underscoring the union’s previous decision to not take wage increases during the recession. More than 1,700 employees are estimated to be represented by the union, which includes workers in the county’s Parks Department, Human Services Agency and County Health.
Linda Johnson, a therapist working at County Health, said union members are hoping the county’s new offer is fair and addresses the many issues causing workers to flee the county, including lack of parity with other counties and the increasingly oppressive cost of living in San Mateo County. She said the union is expected to hold a vote on the new offer Wednesday and Thursday.
“We sincerely would prefer to continue providing uninterrupted services to the citizens of San Mateo County rather than strike,” she said in an email. “Striking is truly a last resort for us all.”