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'Thousands' Expected At DCFS Strike After Contract Talks Break Down With County Officials

LOS ANGELES ( — Thousands of social workers are expected to strike Thursday morning after contract negotiations stalled between county officials and representatives for employees of the Department of Children and Family Services.

Lowell Goodman, spokesperson for Service Employees International Union Local 721, told CBS2 negotiators successfully reached settlements on 25 of 28 bargaining units but talks reached a deadlock on Tuesday on the remaining issues.

Goodman says at 8 a.m. Thursday an "unknown number of the 4,000 workers at the DCFS" will walk out, and it's up to each member to decide if they will participate.

Goodman said he expects "thousands" at the strike.

SEIU, which represents 55,000 county workers, has scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. Thursday.

Social workers have been calling for lower caseloads as part of their labor contract.

City News Service reports county spokesman David Sommers said a main sticking point is a dispute over the timing of a pay raise being offered by the county.

Sommers said it was "extremely disappointing that they're willing to take such a serious action that will have a negative impact on public services at a time where we are so close to finalizing an agreement."

He also said the department will have 300 to 400 administrators provide "front line services" during the strike, and that the county has plans in place "that will assure that the public will be as minimally impacted as possible."

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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