California state worker union votes to allow strike

California's biggest state worker union has given its leaders permission to call a strike, the union announced Saturday.

Service Employees International Union Local 1000 said that 74 percent of the ballots cast by its members supported actions up to and including a strike, if necessary. The local wouldn't say how many members voted.

The local, which represents 95,000 state workers, has been upset with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for failing to rally his own party to ratify a new labor pact negotiated in February. The deal includes several protections and several concessions, including one unpaid day off per month. Schwarzenegger is furloughing most of the state workers under his authority three days per month.

"This is about our contract," SEIU President Yvonne Walker said in a press statement announcing the vote. "Whether it is through litigation, negotiations or any other actions that are necessary, we're in this for the long-haul to right this wrong to our members. We negotiated in good faith, we have offered cost-saving solutions, and we need our contract to be ratified."


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