Statement from SEIU Local 721 President Bob Schoonover on Riverside County Last, Best & Final Offer Imposition
“The Riverside County Board of Supervisors’ decision to impose its insulting last, best and final offer on the hardworking public servants of Riverside County is deeply disappointing, but not surprising. It’s par for the course for a board that has spent nearly two years attempting to grind down county workers and county services – no matter how much it hurts our community or how much it costs taxpayers.
Make no mistake, despite the confounding court decision that allowed this imposition to proceed, the systemic issues in Riverside County haven’t gone away. The county is still facing critical staffing shortages and safety issues in our hospitals and more than two dozen unfair labor practice charges that remain to be ruled on.
Imposition is going to hurt Riverside County. In the short term, it’s going to affect everyone that receives county services and the people who provide them. In the long term, it has the potential to embroil the county even deeper into a long and costly legal fight.
This board of supervisors, two of whom won’t even be sitting in the chamber come January, is making a massive gamble at the expense of Riverside County taxpayers. They can impose all they want, but we will still have our day in court.
When the court rules on the outstanding unfair labor practice charges, it could easily invalidate this entire imposition, forcing the County to go back and make every worker affected financially whole – with interest.
Again, this reckless wastefulness is not surprising – it’s what this board does. Breaking laws and wasting money is not in the best interest of Riverside County.
This board gave away $40 million in tax dollars to overseas consulting giant KPMG, with nothing to show for it.
This board wastes millions of dollars a year on contract nurses instead of bringing good, full-time jobs to Riverside County.
This board broke the law during our contract negotiations in 2010 – illegally firing our lead negotiator for union activity. This October, a judge ordered her reinstated and paid six years of backpay, with interest.
The county has spent the better part of two years fighting county workers in court, rather than coming to the table and working out a deal that raises up all of Riverside County.
That legal fight, and the legal fees that come with it, isn’t ending any time soon, and the two outgoing board members are leaving their replacements to clean up the mess.
I have no doubt that those outgoing supervisors will tout their legacy of “fiscal responsibility” and “service to the county,” when their true legacy is illegality and waste – in service of nothing at all.
SEIU 721 does not give up. We will see justice done. Imposition is far from the end of this fight.