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Santa Cruz County Averts Strike With 1,600 County Workers

SANTA CRUZ (BCN) – A strike involving more than 1,600 essential Santa Cruz County workers was averted late Monday evening, union officials said.

After almost eight months of negotiations and an all-day effort Monday, the workers represented by Service Employees International Union Local 521 and the county reached a tentative agreement.

Workers will vote on the agreement in the coming week and then it will go before the Board of Supervisors to be ratified.

"We are extremely proud to have stood resilient throughout our negotiations," said Veronica Velazquez, SEIU Local 521 Santa Cruz County president and a social worker. "We strongly believe this agreement is an important step towards meeting the critical recovery needs of our community and workers."

Velazquez said the agreement provides a framework to "attract and retain dedicated essential county workers" and "invests in the services that our community needs and relies on."

The three-year agreement provides for wage increases, pandemic hazard pay, and should help address staff turnover and high vacancies, union officials said.

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