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Published: Saturday, 6/30/2001

Zepf Center workers reject contract, threaten strike

Union workers at the Zepf Center rejected a management contract offer yesterday and will strike Monday unless a federal mediator calls both sides to the bargaining table. The current contract expires tomorrow, union officials said.

The vote on the three-year proposal by the mental health agency was 64 to 15, said Carolyn Garcia, administrative organizer of District 1199, Service Employees International Union, which represents about 120 social workers, case managers, therapists, nurses, and clerical staff.

The union objected to a two-tier wage and benefit system that would have eliminated paid lunch hours for newly hired workers and caused them to pay a portion of health-care coverage, Ms. Garcia said.

Ruth Meacham, attorney for the Zepf Center, said the proposed changes would have allowed the agency to preserve benefits and increase pay for current employees.



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