SEIU 221 protest
An SEIU 221 protest in July. Courtesy of the union

The union representing 10,000 San Diego County employees announced Saturday it has reached agreement on a new contract that will avert a potential strike

“We now have an agreement that helps to close the wage gap for critical public servants like nurses and social workers which is an essential step in alleviating chronic staff turnover and significant short staffing of services to vulnerable residents of San Diego,” said David Garcias, president of the Service Employees International Union local 221.

“We are confident that these are the best terms we could get at this time but at the same time we are disappointed that the Board of Supervisors blocked more substantial changes,” he added.

Workers will receive wage increases totaling between 13 percent and 17 percent and bonuses totaling $5,250 over a five-year period, as well as increased health benefits.

The agreement, which came Friday evening, still must be ratified by union members and approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.