Santa Clara County’s Budget Deficit Requires Aggressive Union Action

Union Involvement Key to Winning Equitable Outcomes

March 9, 2011 – SEIU 521 Chapter Leadership and Negotiators held a special session on Thursday, March 3, with Deputy County Executive, Leslie Crowell, to uncover more details on the Office of Budget and Analysis’ presentation and budget timeline given to the County Board on March 1. The meeting was an opportunity for us to assess how serious the current and next fiscal years look and what to prepare for in the next few weeks. By the end of the meeting, we left with the following major points:

DRAFT Reduction Plans are Out This Week. This means we won an open budget process giving 2 more months to find alternative solutions.

After meeting with the Board and County Executive, we have succeeded in ensuring that the public and county workers have an open budget process by receiving draft reduction plans immediately. This allows us to actually have a full two months to seek alternative ideas to cuts to our jobs and services. 

This is a Really Tough Budget Year

The County estimates that the combined projected FY 2011 and 2012 (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012) deficit reaches nearly $300 million. This projected deficit, combined with dwindling one-time funds and disappearing Obama stimulus money, makes this a really tough budget year. It is possible that the old one-time money and creative budget solutions we’ve used in the past may not be adequate. While we’ve survived the last eight consecutive deficit years using one-time money, we are restricted by the reality that eventually one-time money runs out. 

We need to Aggressively Seek Solutions and Ensure an Equitable Outcome

While we have to come to terms with our budget challenges, SEIU 521 member leaders are planning an aggressive push at the county wide level and departmental level to produce real solutions as we approach the end of the fiscal year. Most importantly, we need to ensure the outcome of any cuts must be carried out equitably for the public and members. 

We Need to Get Active Today

1. Join the Contract Action Team – This is our core team of County workers that will help develop actions and update coworkers around our contract & budget to ensure an equitable and fair outcome.

2. Share Your Departmental Budget Solutions – Attend an open steward council and/or union worksite meeting to share your ideas on how to solve your department’s deficit.

3. Attend Actions – A series of actions will be taking place over the next few months to address our short term and long term budget problems. Walking with our two feet is the only way for this to end equitably.

To learn more about the County’s projected deficit, please click here to get a copy of the county’s most recent power point presentation:
 County’s presentation – FY11 Mid-Year

Also, please encourage your fellow co-workers to sign up for union email alerts (please enter “Santa Clara County” in the Employer field).

Finally, encourage them to join our Chapter Facebook page.

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