December 9, 2011
Tulare County and its largest employee union, SEIU, have reached an impasse.
The impasse stems from a decision in September by the Board of Supervisors to suspend a 40-hour furlough program for its employees for Fiscal Year 2011-12. Nine Tulare County bargaining units accepted the furlough suspension with the exception of SEIU. In lieu of the furlough suspension, SEIU representatives made a number of counter proposals which included discontinuing a freeze on merit increases and promotions, among other items.
Tulare County and SEIU were unable to reach an alternate agreement and has reached impasse. The Tulare County Human Resources & Development Department will recommend at the Dec. 13 Board of Supervisors meeting to make no changes to terms and conditions of employment. Approval of the recommendation would mean the 40-hour furlough program would still apply to SEIU for the 2011-12 Fiscal Year.
Tulare County Human Resources & Development Director Jeff Cardell said an increase in one-time funds allowed for the suspension of the 40-hour furlough program.
“After the 2010-11 Fiscal Year was completed it was determined that the General Fund Balance was greater that project,” Cardell said. “Consequently, the additional funds could be utilized to suspend the furlough program for one year.”
Prior to the 2011-12 Fiscal Year, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved the 40-hour unpaid furlough program for themselves and County employees for the last three fiscal years. The 40-hour - equivalent to five 8-hour days in one fiscal year - unpaid furlough equates to a 1.923 percent salary reduction.