H/T to The OC Register’s Jennifer Muir who reported on this late yesterday.
In response to the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) asking itsÂ members if they might be interested in a brief collective work stoppage, Under Sheriff John Scott sent a memo out to all OCEA represented department members. He instituted a new policy, effective immediately, that any employee represented by OCEA who calls in sick must have a doctor’s noteÂ to return to work.
OCEA conducted their member survey in response to notification from the department that only OCEA represented staff will be subjected to the next round of budget reducing layoffs. To date, other than a fewÂ management layoffs, OCEA membersÂ are the only employees who have faced layoff in the budget cuts meant to address a $60 million shortfall.
Scott wrote that requiring employees to show a doctors note will help the department maintain the â€œsecurity and safety for all our employees.â€
â€œWe should never lose sight of the serious business that we are entrusted by the citizenry to carry out and that each member of this department plays a role in the safe execution of those duties,â€ he wrote.
Sheriffâ€™s spokesman John McDonald elaborated this afternoon, saying many OCEA employees work in the jails and are vital to keeping correctional operations running safely.
â€œWeâ€™re not threatening anybody,â€ McDonald said. â€œThese are our employees who we count on to work as part of our team.Â â€¦ The reality is that staging a job action in a correctional facility is playing with fire.â€
Berardino fired back, saying that requiring a doctorâ€™s note amounts to â€œharassment and bullying tactics.â€ He says his union has only taken a survey to assess interest in a strike if negotiations reach an impasse, but emphasized that they havenâ€™t taken any action.
â€œWhat the executives in this department have not learned through their years of experience is, intimidation may at times be a legitimate tactic for street criminals but it certainly is not appropriate when dealing with your employees,â€ he said.
This is really a bone-head move on the part of Scott. What’s he going to do, suspend of fireÂ half the department he claims is so critical to operations that he had to issue this order? Has the guy ever though of talking, meeting, discussing, or negotiation? Why is it he thinks cutting only support staff is intelligent. Does he really think the remaining people can just “pick up the extra work?”