Labor Relations Negotiator Steve Allen presented an extensive list of issues he said has led to poor morale, turnover of experienced employees leaving county employment and the inability to fill vacant positions.

More than 300 Siskiyou County employees represented by Organized Employees of Siskiyou County are planning a five day strike beginning on Monday, Jan. 6 if an agreement isn’t reached during a meeting in Sacramento on Dec. 30 regarding family medical insurance and deferred compensation.

Labor Relations Negotiator Steve Allen presented an extensive list of issues he said has led to poor morale, turnover of experienced employees leaving county employment and the inability to fill vacant positions.

“The board is ignoring the needs of its most valuable asset, the well-being and fair treatment of employees,” said Allen. “The strike is about fair treatment. It is not against the public ... it is against the Board of Supervisors and CAO Terry Barber.”

It isn’t known what county departments will be affected by the strike, but certain public safety positions are exempt from striking, said Allen.

Allen’s partial list of complaints is as follows:

• Employees are underpaid when compared to their peers in other North State counties.

• The board is listening to one source of information, retiring CAO Terry Barber, who’s effort to downplay the health of the County’s fiscal condition was discredited by an expert CPA witness in the hearing. The Hearing Officer found the county to be in good fiscal condition.

• The voard exhibits favoritism toward themselves and other high-ranking County officials, for example they voted to give themselves and Department Heads a $300 per month deferred compensation payment while most of the OESC represented employees receive zero contribution. The Hearing Officer recommended the County pay all OESC employees a minimum $30 per month payment but the board has refused.

• The board is attempting to cut the county’s payment for family medical insurance by over $500 per month which has forced employees to choose marginal health coverage.

• Turnover has been as much as 60% in some departments in the last two years, with a dozen openings in Behavioral Health Services as one example of this problem.

• There are full time county employees that qualify for public assistance.

“The Board of Supervisors has dug in their heels and refused to compromise on these issues as has been recommended by the Hearing Officer who carefully listened to all the evidence submitted by each side,” said Allen. “After a full evidentiary hearing she issued a report that the OESC has agreed to use as a basis for settling the contract dispute.”