County workers to Board: Make banks pay, save services

Santa Clara County Chapter - Rally June 18,2013In a huge event filled with high energy and powerful unity, more than 500 Santa Clara County workers and community members rallied outside the county government center June 18, right before the board of supervisors resumed its ongoing budget hearings.

Our message to county officials: It’s time to reinvest in quality community services and a cutting edge workforce. Instead of cutting frontline services, county leaders should investigate the millions of dollars taxpayers have lost to banks due to illegal interest-rate schemes.

Read the backgrounder on the LIBOR Fraud (PDF).

Watch the video on Youtube:

If the Youtube video does not work, click here to watch the video (MP4).

Take action

Call the Board of Supervisors and say: “Put our community services first and get our money back from the big banks that ripped us off! Investigate the losses our county may have suffered from LIBOR fraud and take legal action to recoup our taxpayer dollars.”

Supervisor Dave Cortese (408) 299-5030
Supervisor Joe Simitian (408) 299-5050
Supervisor Mike Wasserman (408) 299-5010
Supervisor Ken Yeager (408) 299-5040

Not a member of the Community First coalition yet? SIGN UP NOW!

Leading up to the rally, members set up a “Big Bank Bake Sale” and offered ridiculously over-priced baked goods to recover money that banks took from our county.

“Sounds ridiculous right? It is. It’s also ridiculous and irresponsible for county officials to debate budgets and possible cuts to services without investigating what happened to the millions of dollars the banks took from county taxpayers.”
— Karen Havilla, Public Health Nurse, Santa Clara County

(Scroll down after photo gallery to continue the story…)

Click here for the photo slideshow on Flickr.

Photo Gallery

In the biggest financial fraud in history, 16 of the world’s largest banks illegally rigged the world’s benchmark interest rates to keep them artificially low. This maximized their profits, but could have cost Santa Clara County as much as $54 million.

“In today’s economy, we need every possible resource for all services in our community. We are already understaffed and if we face further cuts we won’t be able to provide quality patient care to the community. It is now the responsibility of County officials to recover our money. Our elected officials are entrusted with protecting county resources, and should now act aggressively to investigate losses and recuperate all the taxpayer money that was taken illegally.”
— Yolanda Vega, Health Service Representative, Valley Medical Center

During the rally, county employee Thaddeus Bangle played the part of a Big Banker, with fake 100 dollar bills and an expensive cigar, and got the crowd to boo the banks’ involvement in taking county taxpayer money.

Margarita Lupercio, a Santa Clara County Home Care worker, also shared her struggles with caring for a mentally ill family member and having to survive in Silicon Valley while earning so little.

Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay Labor Council, also spoke at the event in solidarity with the workers and the community. He said it’s the responsibility of the county to investigate the millions lost to bank interest-rate fraud.

Roseann Berthron-Arechiga, Eligibility Worker II, Santa Clara County, served as the MC of the event and led the crowd in a march around the county building front courtyard. The march made its way into the board chambers and members addressed the board during the budget hearing and urged them to protect county services and recover money lost to the banks instead.

Eight California cities, counties, and public entities, including San Mateo and San Diego counties, have already filed lawsuits against the banks to recover losses as a result of LIBOR fraud. Santa Clara County should do the same.

What’s Next?

Santa Clara County Chapter General Membership Meeting:
Thursday, June 20 at 6 p.m.
SEIU Local 521 Union Office, 2302 Zanker Road, San Jose

The County Negotiating team is asking all members to attend our Chapter General Membership meeting. The County has made it abundantly clear that investing in a cutting edge workforce to deliver high quality public services is not the priority. The consequences to our community will be devastating without a stable and qualified workforce. Attend this important Chapter meeting to hear the latest update from negotiations and what necessary action is required to protect our community and our livelihoods!

Please RSVP at or (408) 678-3300.

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One Response to “County workers to Board: Make banks pay, save services”

  1. Irene says:

    Santa Clara County needs to file a lawsuit on LIBOR, what are these board members doing? Their solution to the problem is take from the front line. They make a bad decision by investing in a fraud and now we have to pay. There is definitely something wrong with that picture. We need to stand up and tell them we are tired of their insults, we will not take anymore. Chop from the Top. Take from someone who can afford it. File the lawsuit get our money back. Leave our benefits alone. I work hard helping the community, it is not easy, our jobs are not a walk in the park. We work hard we deserve a fair contract. I want to come to my job knowing I am valued by my county and worthy to support my community and I want the community to know they are worthy to the county. We deserve better and so does our community.

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