Contra Costa workers rallying over pay, benefits

The unionized workers are part of the Contra Costa County Labor Coalition, which organizers say represents some of the county's lowest-paid workers, from custodians and health care workers to engineers and animal care services personnel.

Union officials said that over the last two years, the workers have taken benefit and pay cuts, while other county workers have not been asked to contribute more to their health plans.

Now in the midst of contract negotiations, the labor coalition said county proposals to cut the workers' pay and benefits further without asking other county workers to accept the same reductions is unfair and unreasonable.

"We have made sacrifices and we are willing to make additional sacrifices, but they have to be fair and equitable across the county workforce," labor coalition chairman Felix Huerta said today. "We have historically always reached an agreement with the county and we will reach an agreement again ... but we don't want to be treated like second-class citizens."

A county spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment Tuesday morning.

Rallies and marches are being held throughout the day. Events were scheduled at the county employment and human services department in Antioch at 9:45 a.m., 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.; and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center in Martinez, the Pittsburg Health Center, and the Richmond Health Center.

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