FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The union representing the Fresno county corrections officers said they are planning a strike. They say they aren’t being paid fairly and it’s impacting staffing.
However, Fresno County Administrative Officer Paul Nerland said they’re doing the best they can to reach a consensus and get workers equitable pay.
Nerland said there’s an offer on the table right now where some employees would receive a 22% increase over the next 3 years; a number they hope will bring this to an end.
“We’d like to get to consensus with the correctional officers so they can get the raises they’ve been offered, and we can get back to work,” said Nerland.
Nerland said they have a plan in place if correctional officers decide to walk out on strike.
“The sheriff’s office has a plan that’s really going to use staff across their department to fill those shifts” added Nerland.
He said he’s confident that a combination of deputies and correction officers that may still be on the job will have the facility under control.
“I don’t claim it will be easy, there going to have a lot of work to do that but operations will be covered, and we’ll ensure that we won’t miss a beat operationally,” he said.
The Fresno county public safety association has a strike planned for May 23.
“The working conditions in there are terrible they’ve gotten more dangerous… and it’s never going to be any better until the jail is adequately staffed and it’s never going to be adequately staffed until the county provides the pay and benefits that keep people wanting to work there,” said Tony Silva, the lawyer for the union.
The union said they have the legal right to strike but Nerland said it’s illegal to create unsafe conditions at the jail.
“In 2012 there was a strike here at the county, at the time correctional officers were represented by SCIU at that time the correctional officers made a wise choice and they chose not to strike bc they knew that could create unsafe conditions in the jail,” Nerland adds.
Fresno county said they’re offering 11% base salary increases, increases to health insurance contributions, and a one-time pandemic payment.
but that might not be enough to stop workers from walking.
“I think the public can expect to see people walk off the job, and there to be some picketing downtown,” said Silva.
“Nobody likes to see this happen, no one is gonna ever say that it’s a positive thing to have a strike… I’m not concerned that the sheriff dept doesn’t have a good plan in place to cover this” said Nerland.
The county said their most recent offer is their final offer.
The next board of supervisors meeting is on May 17th.