In the midst of Santa Clara County’s rebounding economy, there is an expanding class of low-wage workers who rely on quality public services to get by. In a campaign to educate the public about the vast array of vital services available to residents, on Wednesday, March 20, SEIU Local 521 county workers set up shop at the Farmers’ Market at Valley Medical Center in San Jose to pass out information ranging from essential public safety services to nutritional and mental health programs.
Highlighting the growing need for quality services as affordability for many in the county declines, county social workers, public health nurses, dietitians, and others used the opportunity to urge residents to support public services that put community first.
“We have a growing income inequality crisis here in Santa Clara County. The statistics are startling, even as they are becoming well known. One in three families struggle to make ends meet in the Valley. As county workers, we are the first-line responders for struggling families and we work every day to ensure their needs are met and their voices heard in this Valley of Abundance.”
– Tom Catalano, Office Specialist, Santa Clara County Tax Collector’s office
The event was the start of a series of future public outreach efforts from SEIU Local 521 members who work in the county. Members spoke to the community about the importance of their work and called for support from shoppers. Visitors to the booth had the opportunity to sign an on-line “Invest in Our Community” petition that calls on the county to address rising income inequality, cuts to public services and a looming labor shortage.
“In the next five years, more than 2,000 workers will reach retirement age. As a generation of veteran, experienced workers retire, we need to be not only recruiting but also developing those who are here to want to stay here.”
– Linda Quach, Certified Radiologic Technologist at Valley Medical Center
Say “YES! I support investing in Santa Clara County!” Sign the petition.
Check out photos and video from the event on Facebook. Share them widely and tag your co-workers.
KCBS radio clip
What’s Next? Weekly Unity Breaks!
Santa Clara County workers will hold unity breaks every week to support their Bargaining Team and remind management that we are STRONGER TOGETHER!
What’s happening at the bargaining table?
Read the contract update dated May 19 (PDF).