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Southern California Gas Company employees rallied across the state yesterday to protest a proposed labor agreement brought forth by the company’s parent, San Diego-based Sempra Energy. Picketing took place at Sempra facilities in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Compton, Visalia and Redlands.

Sempra employees with the Utility Workers Union of America and the International Chemical Workers Union have been without a contract since the previous agreement expired on November 1. Members say they have rejected the “last, best and final offer” made by the utility, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

According to the unions, the proposal includes wage freezes, an increased reliance on part-time workers, cuts to retirement benefits, and caps on retiree medical coverage. The groups accuse Sempra of unfair labor practices.

“They ignore our proposals; they don't respond to requests for information. They are clearly bargaining in bad faith,” Jerry Acosta, national representative for the UWUA in Los Angeles, told the Visalia Times-Delta.

Sempra says the company is continuing to negotiate. Its proposal, a spokesperson says, includes a 13 percent wage increase over the contract’s 4 ½ year lifespan, 85 percent company-paid health benefits, and increased survivors benefits and post-retirement health benefits.

“The thing to remember here is that our proposals are designed to preserve employee benefits for the long term despite mounting costs for health care and other benefits,” said Denise King, the Southern California Gas Company’s spokesperson. “We are expecting our costs to be 19 percent higher next year than last year and we believe the package we are offering is fair.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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