Originally posted at The Liberal OC.

When the contract votes of the members of Orange CountyEmployees Association were tallied on Friday evening, the result wasn’t even close.

A statement released by OCEA didn’t mince words.

County workers voted overwhelmingly to reject the County’s last, best and final offer because they saw it for what it was: An attempt to bully them into accepting a bad deal and a threat that if they didn’t agree, politicians on the Board of Supervisors would make it worse for them in the future. Approximately 99 percent of votes cast were to REJECT the County’s threats.

Those threats are clearly retribution to County employees for their part in standing up against what the Grand Jury called a culture of corruption here—a culture that continues in the wake of Carlos Bustamante’s arrest and the announcement of an FBI Task Force to investigate corruption in Orange County government. The Board of Supervisors responded to those reports by attempting
to cut the Grand Jury’s pay. And now politicians on the Board are attempting to exact that same retribution on county workers.

(The County’s proposal would have locked County workers into seven years with no pay raises, plus even more cuts to their takehome pay because of health care plan cuts and threatened even deeper cuts if workers didn’t immediately agree to their demands.)

The Board of Supervisors proposed these cuts at the same time as they accepted a pay raise for themselves—a raise that just showed up on their paychecks and was awarded retroactively to July. And it happens at the same time as they continue voting to approve multi-million dollar contracts to their campaign contributors.

County workers will continue to stand together with the Grand Jury and Orange County residents against these abuses because we believe that nobody will be treated fairly unless the County is cleaned up.

The contract negotiations will now move on to a mediation phase with an impartial mediator.