County Workers Agree to Suspend Strike for Child Safety
A historic day of action at the LA County Board of Supervisors came to a close this evening with the announcement that children’s social workers and eligibility workers represented by SEIU 721 will resume negotiations with LA County management. The request to resume bargaining came through a mediator enlisted by the County.
Additionally, striking social workers and eligibility workers have agreed to suspend their six-day-old work stoppage. Thousands of those workers, together with community and faith leaders, staged a day of civil disobedience in the name of child and family safety in downtown LA earlier today. Seven people, all chanting “Child Safety Now,” were arrested at the end of the action.
“Today the County got the message loud and clear,” said SEIU 721 President Bob Schoonover. “When they saw the incredible solidarity of our members on the street, the Supervisors knew they had to act. And now I’m hopeful that we can work through the mediator to reach a settlement with the County.”
Schoonover announced the resumption of talks during a rally at the LA County Dept. of Children and Family Services office in Compton. Children’s social workers at the Compton office carry some of the highest caseloads in the County. In May 2013, an arbitrator directed the County to lower social worker-to-child ratios at the Compton office. The order went unheeded, and SEIU 721 filed a lawsuit to enforce it in November.
LA County children’s social workers walked off the job on Thursday, Dec. 5. DPSS workers joined the strike lines on Dec. 9.
Both groups say they will return to the strike lines if this new round of bargaining doesn’t produce a settlement that ensures the safety of children and families in the County social welfare system.
Children’s social workers will return to the bargaining table on Wednesday afternoon. Eligibility workers will return later in the week.