East Bay Regional Park District Strike Threatened for July 4 Holiday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Union members said a two-day strike beginning July 4 will happen if an agreement with the park district is not reached early next week. George Kiriyama reports. (Published Thursday, Jun 27, 2013)

    East Bay  Regional Park District workers may go on strike next week, which may affect those looking to celebrate the 4th of July weekend at area parks.

    Lifeguards are expected to join maintenance workers on the picket lines if a strike becomes reality.

    And if that occurs, lakes like the one at Shadow Cliffs Regional Park in Pleasanton would be shut down.

    The news of a possible strike is making folks who previously planned on visiting area parks to make other plans.

    Honey Onglicudine, who was visiting Shadow Cliffs on Thursday and was thinking of returning for the upcoming holiday, said she will take her family elsewhere.

    "We're going to find a place with a lake and a lifeguard and people who can help us when it comes to safety," she said.

    For the past six months, the union representing the lifeguards and maintenance workers has been seeking a new contract with better pay and benefits.

    The East Bay Regional Park district said it has offered a four-year contract that includes an 8.5 percent salary increase and better benefits. But the district said the union told them that's not good enough.

    If an agreement is not reached early next week, the union has said it will hold a two-day strike starting on the 4th of July.

    "I think it's a very unwise decision," said Robert Doyle, East Bay Regional Park District general manager. "We can work these differences in a different way besides impacting the public. This really is unfortunate for the public and we're going to do our best to have the parks open and to have them safe."

    The 4th of July weekend is the busiest holiday of the year for the 65 parks in the district. Families trying to make their holiday plans say a strike would be horrible timing.

    "That is really said. I mean come on, really?" Onglicudine said. "The holiday? That's not right."