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LA County Calls In Mediator As Social Workers Strike For Fifth Day

EL MONTE ( — Los Angeles County called in a mediator as a strike by social workers over caseload size reached its fifth day.

Striking social workers jammed the hallways outside of L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina's El Monte field office Monday. The supervisor and her staff were out, but the strikers chanted and paraded past the door to make their presence known.

"This is worth it. It's all worth it," said one striker. "It's all about child safety for us."

Striking workers insist they will return to work if the county will put in writing a guarantee of smaller caseloads, limiting the number of cases to 20 to 25 from the nearly 30 to 40 they have now. The county says they are not ready to put that in writing.

Strikers walked past startled people waiting in the hallway for services. The county is using management to fill in for the strikers.

One man said his family got what they needed, though it required a two hour wait.

"It's a lousy time to strike, and look at them, day three," said Bob Schoonover of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

County workers are paid on the first and fifteenth of each month. CBS2's Dave Lopez reports the striking social workers will be paid a full check December 15, but will feel the pinch of being on strike January 1.

Asked how long they are prepared to stay on strike, social worker Melanie Freeman said "as long as it takes."

"We're doing it for the children. They need us, so we will do it," she said.

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