Countywide strike involving California healthcare workers averted

California's Santa Cruz County and more than 1,600 front-line workers, including healthcare workers, reached a tentative agreement Jan. 24, averting a planned strike, according to a union news release. 

The Service Employees International Union 521, which represents more than 200 healthcare workers who work at Santa Cruz County clinics, medical centers and work sites, said the three-year agreement includes across-the-board wage increases totaling 9 percent, pandemic hazard pay and contract language to begin addressing staffing turnover and job vacancies. 

"We strongly believe this agreement is an important step toward meeting the critical recovery needs of our community and workers," Veronica Velazquez, SEIU Local 521 Santa Cruz County president and social worker, said in the news release. "This agreement invests in the services that our community needs and relies on, and sets a framework to attract and retain dedicated essential county workers." 

Both sides reached the agreement after nearly eight months of negotiations, the night before workers planned to go on strike.

Union members must still approve the tentative agreement before it is final. It will then go to ratification by the county's board of supervisors.

Becker's reached out to the county and will update the story if more information is received. 

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