2014-08-19 from "1021 Newswire" (SEIU1021.org):
Last Wednesday some 200 county workers rallied outside the Napa County Library to send a message to the Board of Supervisors and the County that they will not accept greater cuts to the lowest-paid members' paychecks.
Napa County employees have been without a contract since June 30, and while some progress has been made on many issues at the bargaining table, negotiations have stalled because of the County's insistence on health care concessions that would negate proposed cost-of-living adjustments -- hitting the lowest-paid workers the hardest.
The cuts are a percentage of the cost of premiums, meaning a bigger percentage comes out of lower-paid workers' take-home pay. Someone making $16.24 an hour would lose 4.4 percent for individual coverage or up to 11.4 percent for family coverage, while someone earning $30 an hour would lose only 2.4 percent of take-home pay for single coverage or up to 6 percent for family coverage.
Those of us at the bottom are already struggling to make ends meet in an increasingly expensive and unequal Napa County, the nation's seventh wealthiest community, and we can ill afford yet another attack on our household budgets.
Several members told compelling stories of how the cuts would affect their families. Rosa Briseno, a 12-year office assistant, lost her home when her husband was laid off, after she donated a kidney to save her teenage daughter's life. Health and Human Services worker Annie Mendoza and her family have been left bouncing from hotel to hotel since their home burned to the ground; her paychecks have not been sufficient to secure stable housing.
"Another cut to my pay," said Mendoza, "and we will be out on the streets."
Rosa and Annie are just two of many County employees who have fallen through the cracks during this period of record income inequality, and have learned the hard way how living paycheck to paycheck means living one paycheck away from homelessness.
Napa County workers will rally and leaflet the public outside Health and Human Services this Wednesday, Aug. 20, from 12-1pm, and will continue weekly actions until the County comes back to the table. The County is refusing to bargain again until September 9.
Napa Valley Register: "Union rallies after county labor negotiations hit roadblock" [http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/union-rallies-after-county-labor-negotiations-hit-roadblock/article_a23f5f08-86a8-54e3-a5fb-8fa561fae886.html].