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LA County Workers Begin Voting On Strike Authorization

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(credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

(credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles County workers belonging to the Service Employees International Union Local 721 will begin voting Wednesday on a strike authorization.

SEIU Local 721, which represents about 55,000 county workers, has asked members to give the bargaining committee the authority to escalate action “up to and including a strike.” The union most recently organized a walkout of more than 2,000 workers on Oct. 1 in a push for a better contract.

A Los Angeles County spokesman has reportedly called the move “premature,” because the county was still negotiating in good faith.

County Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka said earlier that while a 4 percent increase has been offered to SEIU workers, negotiators knew they could ultimately get the same deal offered to the county’s other labor partners – a 2 percent wage increase this month, 2 percent next October and 2 percent in April 2015.

SEIU spokesman Lowell Goodman said Tuesday that such an offer had still not made it to the bargaining table.

Besides wage increases, union members want more workers to be hired, a stronger rideshare program and policy changes, like closing property tax loop holes for large corporations.

SEIU employees include nurses, social workers, park employees and librarians.

The vote on whether to authorize a strike will end next Wednesday.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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