Following 16 days of voting across worksites throughout Santa Clara County, there is no doubt where SEIU 521 members stand: 97% of voting members have voted to authorize our bargaining team to call for a strike if we are unable to reach an agreement with the County that respects our workers and our community.
Since April 2019, Santa Clara County management has refused to deal fairly with over 11,000 County workers who are SEIU 521 members. On Friday, August 23, members counted thousands of ballots where our bargaining team was authorized to call a strike if we do not see any significant movement from the County. We hope to reach an agreement that respects our workers by addressing the housing and childcare crisis and invests in vital services our Santa Clara County community depends on.
While our bargaining team continues to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement, the County’s proposals continue to fall short of addressing the critical issues impacting workers on the job like the safety of clients and employees and livable wages for workers below the County’s own Living Wage Ordinance for contractors. To this point, Santa Clara County union workers have filed nearly a dozen Unfair Labor Practices that the County has refused to address, pinning us further away from any possible agreement.
Workers have been without a contract for months and have seen no real commitment by the County to reach an agreement that can avoid a potential work stoppage. The County has shown no urgency to settle and instead may put the services our community needs at risk. We have offered to meet more often next week, even late into the evenings to address the issues at the table but the County has declined.
We are social workers, eligibility workers, healthcare workers, clerical and blue-collar staff, and more. We work in our County’s hospitals, jails, maintenance yards, streets, offices, in the homes of our most vulnerable residents, and beyond. We know firsthand how people are struggling.
Due to the skyrocketing costs of housing and living in the Silicon Valley, workers like us who provide critical services are suffering, too.
We remain hopeful that management will come to their senses and return to the table next week with the goal of reaching an agreement. Members have taken the serious step of authorizing our bargaining team to call for a strike if County management continues to neglect the future of our families, our community, and our Santa Clara County.