SLO County libraries, other departments to shut down when workers strike this week

Public services offered by the County of San Luis Obispo will likely be interrupted when as many as 1,500 county employees go on strike beginning Tuesday.

Without certainty about how many of the workers will participate in the action, it’s unknown exactly how departments will manage, according to county spokesperson Whitney Szentesi.

Some departments have already made plans to close or scale back services. Here’s a list provided by the county as of Friday:

  • All 15 public library branches will be closed from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13.
  • Atascadero Youth Services, SLO Youth Services and South County Youth Services will be by appointment only.
  • Youth Mental Health clinics, Martha’s Place and SAFE will be closed unless enough staff are present.
  • Therapeutic Learning Classrooms school-based services will not occur unless staff are present.
  • School and community-based services by Behavior Health will be canceled as necessary.
  • Substance Use Disorder drug and alcohol clinics will be open with reduced hours in Grover Beach, Johnson Avenue, Atascadero and Paso Robles from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with closure for lunch from noon to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.
  • County Airport business offices will close, no flights should be affected.

Director of Libraries Chris Barnickel said he determined the library closures are necessary.

“I don’t know who will be on strike at what time,” Barnickel said. “It’s hard to open up a building if you don’t have staff there.”

The San Luis Obispo County Employees’ Association, known as SLOCEA, told county officials Nov. 16 that employees will strike unless the county Board of Supervisors agrees to meet its demands that include a 2.5 percent wage increase for the current fiscal year.

Concern has been raised by members of the public about the strike’s potential affect on local residents who are in drug and alcohol recovery and rely on county employees for treatment services.

Union leadership and county administrators agreed on a list of around 160 employees who will not participate in the strike to maintain services that are necessary to retain the health and safety of the public.

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