22 Jan

Probation Officers Assn. Merges With Larger Local : Labor: The vote makes Service Employees International Union, Local 102 the second largest union for county workers.

The Service Employees International Union, Local 102 became the second-largest county workers’ union Monday when it merged with the 748-member San Diego County Probation Officers Assn.

As a result of the merger, Local 102 represents more than 2,000 county employees, second only to the troubled County Employees Assn., which has about 6,500 members.

The merger is significant because it represents the second major county unit to merge with a bigger union in recent months, as county officials discuss proposed cutbacks for 1991 because of a budget crunch.

Last year, about 400 Superior Court employees merged with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 127.

“We’re tired of year after year going to the bargaining table, presenting reasonable arguments and winning nothing,” said Don Reeves, executive director of the Probation Officers Assn. “It’s been clear to us for some time that it’s been a futile endeavor. We voted overwhelmingly to go with Local 102 because it’s an aggressive and very professional union.”

The probation officers’ contract with the county expired in December, and both sides have been negotiating a contract since October. Salaries for probation officers range from $17,000 to $35,000 annually, Reeves said.

According to Reeves, wages and the length of a contract are the main stumbling blocks in the negotiations. The county has offered the group a 30-month contract, while the association seeks an 18-month pact.

Most county workers are represented by the County Employees Assn., which at one time was the largest independent union in the state. However, in the past three years, the association has been torn apart by dissension. Former General Manager Wyleen Luoma and her top aide were fired last year when allegations of misconduct and abuse of authority were leveled at Luoma.

A new CEA executive board has failed to heal the differences among the various units, which range from office workers and professionals to blue-collar employees. Leaders of some units represented by the CEA have said they are afraid the group is too weak and in too much turmoil to represent workers who may be threatened by the proposed cutbacks.

Consequently, nervous workers from some units are hoping to merge with an outside union.

Source: http://articles.latimes.com/1990-06-05/local/me-520_1_service-employees-international-union