Oct. 16 – Despite County’s Last, Best and Final Offer, Workers’ Back On The Strike Line For Day 8
Elmwood Jail and Main Jail, Crime Lab Workers, Environmental Health Services, Juvenile Hall and More Join Strike Line
Workers on strike include the following departments: Registrar of Voters, Consumer Protection, Department of Environmental Health, Department of Tax and Collections, IT Support, Probation Department, Crime Lab, Department of Corrections, Custody Health Services, Behavioral Health Services and parts of Valley Medical Center among others.
For the first time in 40 years, we are on strike against Santa Clara County for its Unfair Labor Practices (ULP). Currently, we are on a ULP strike of restructuring the way work is done in the Department of Family and Children’s Services without bargaining with the employees who do the work. The county is actively working to shut down the San Jose Family Resource Center and making many other changes that will hurt our community and the front-line employees who have dedicated their lives to public service. Shutting down the Family Resource Center is just one example of how the county has shown that it does not care about the needs of our community and its employees. Instead of breaking the law, the county should be bargaining in good faith with our union for a contract that would address the serious issues faced by front-line employees – and the resulting high number of turnover and vacancies.
It’s critical that we have your updated contact information including the authorization to call and text you – make sure you fill out this form: http://bit.ly/SCCoStrikeReadyUpdates
Oct. 15 – Our Bargaining Team’s Response to Last, Best and Final Offer from the County
Management made their “Last, Best and Final Offer” on Oct. 15.
Here is the statement from Janet Diaz, Patient Business Service Clerk at Valley Medical Center and Santa Clara County Chapter President in response to the County’s last, best and final offer:
“It is unfortunate that Jeff Smith and the Board of Supervisors has put us in a position that continues to compromise our community’s health and safety and their ability to access services. The County’s proposed Last, Best and Final Offer is not by any means a tentative agreement on behalf of the workers of Santa Clara County represented by SEIU Local 521. Instead, it is an attempt to force its employees to accept the same proposal put forth months ago. Their offer does nothing to address the 1,500 plus vacancies across the County impacting 9-1-1 Dispatchers, Social Workers, Healthcare providers and the thousands of dedicated County employees who ensure residents are protected, healthy, and safe. This offer is disingenuous to the process of good faith negotiations – for months we have asked the County to discuss with us what an agreement would look like and they continuously said they were not ready nor interested. Our community deserved more today, and they should have been ready to try to engage in a conversation that would have reached an agreement. This is a clear message from the County that the interests of the community are not a priority. Our Santa Clara County bargaining team is discussing the next steps and our recommendation to our membership.”
-Janet Diaz, Santa Clara County Chapter President
Our Santa Clara County bargaining team is recommending to vote no on the County’s last, best and final offer.
For more details: log in to MemberLink at members.seiu521.org
Our Santa Clara County Chapter Bargaining Committee announced on Oct. 11 during a live press conference that it will present a comprehensive proposal to the County of Santa Clara that addresses the widespread vacancies, turnover and retention challenges impacting our workers’ ability to do our job to support the needs of residents.
Our community-based proposal will be presented at the request of the Board of Supervisors ahead of a special closed session scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 12. Our strike activities were postponed on the evening of Oct. 9 following the local emergency announced by the County regarding the PG&E’s PSP. Our members will be ready to resume our unfair labor practice strike at a moment’s notice.
We were incredibly honored to have been joined today by our SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry as she outlined why our fight for our community is the reason we must ensure we have unions for all.
Oct. 9 & 10 – Strike Activities Postponed Following State of Emergency Regarding PG&E’s PSPS
Due to the official local emergency announced on Oct. 9 by the County of Santa Clara in response to the PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), the SEIU 521 Santa Clara County bargaining committee has called off all strike activities as of Wednesday evening until further notice. This doesn’t mean that our strike has ended; it’s only temporarily suspended until further notice. The local emergency has been declared by the County after PG&E announced a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) due to high fire danger.
Strike Day 7 – Oct. 9 – Public Health Nurses, Clinic Workers, Workers at District Attorney’s Office, Courts & County Administration & Many Others Walk Out to Join Our Strike Line
Oct. 9 marks one week since our Santa Clara County workers walked off the job in protest of an unfair labor practice charge against the County for the reorganization of the Department of Family and Children’s Service without bargaining with the workers who do the work.
“Public health is essential to protecting and keeping our Santa Clara County community safe,” said Marilyn Mara, Public Health Nurse, and Negotiator. “We have one of the highest rates of Tuberculosis in the state, and the fact that we continue to experience retention and recruitment obstacles along with staffing shortage is putting the health of our residents at risk. When we are staffed and funded properly, our preventative work reduces hospitalizations – which not only saves taxpayers’ money but saves lives.”
Public health and clinic workers across multiple Valley Health Centers along with administrative staff within Planning and Development, Assessor’s office, the Courts, the District Attorney’s office and more will join fellow strikers who have already been on the picket lines: Social Services, Parks, 9-1-1 dispatchers, roads and maintenance, social workers, child support, public defenders, mental and behavioral health, among many others.
“Our unfair labor practices strike has gotten stronger every day,” said Mullissa Willette, Exemption Investigator and Vice President of SEIU Local 521. “When the County decided to break the labor law by unilaterally reorganizing the Department of Family and Children’s Services without bargaining with our members, we filed this unfair labor practice charge on behalf of the 12,000 workers who make this County work every day. Throughout our unfair labor practices strike, our community has become aware of the wide-spread deficiencies in resources impacting our ability to ensure our residents are both healthy and safe and have the means to obtain the services they depend on – this fight is about the future of our communities.”
MEDIA COVERAGE: CBS NEWS
Strike Day 6 – Oct. 8
Workers from 9 sites walked off the job on day 6 of our ongoing unfair labor practice strike against Santa Clara County in response to the County’s reorganization of the Department of Families and Children’s Services without bargaining with the workers who do the work. We then marched on the streets and rallied together at 70 W. Hedding outside of the Board Chambers. Our strikes on Tuesday caused a closure of the county’s In-home Supportive Services program office at 353 W. Julian St.
MEDIA COVERAGE: Palo Alto Online
Strike Day 5 – Oct. 7
On Monday, Oct. 7, workers from 7 sites within the Social Services Agency are walking off the job on day 5 of our ongoing unfair labor practice strike against Santa Clara County in response to the County’s reorganization of the Department of Families and Children’s Services without bargaining with the workers who do the work.
“We are proud to join the thousands of County workers who were on the line last week in protest of the County’s unfair labor practices that hurt our ability to reach an agreement,” said Griselda Galindo, Eligibility Worker III within the Social Services Agency. “Our residents should know that there is a widespread staffing crisis across our County departments impacting our ability to provide adequate service – our workloads are unattainable and we cannot hire and retain staff. We have dedicated our lives to service and know firsthand the needs of our residents, we will continue to bring to light the obstacles in our workplaces keeping us from doing our jobs.”
Strike Day 4 – Oct. 5
Employees from the County Communications Department that provide 911 services were on strike on Saturday, Oct. 5, excluding essential workers: “We’re out here to protest the unfair labor practice, but county residents need to know that there is a staffing crisis here at the 911 operation because they can’t hire and retain enough qualified workers,” says Michelle Bustamante Nunez, 911 Dispatcher.
911 dispatch employees joined forces with park workers on strike on Saturday as well and gathered together at the Martial Cottle Park to share our concerns with Fall Festival attendees. “We attend these festivals and love bringing our families to celebrate what’s great about our public parks,” said Daniel McCulluch, Senior Park Maintenance Worker and Union Negotiator. “At the same time, we also think it’s important that our community and County leaders are aware of the challenges facing those who make these types of events possible. We’re looking forward to meeting our neighbors and gaining their support through welcoming conversations.”
Strike Day 3 – Oct. 4
Here is our response to Santa Clara County’s ULP Over Unfair Labor Practice Strike: “We do not believe that the county’s charge has merit,” said Chris Libera, SEIU 521 Member, Santa Clara County Community Worker and Strike Leader. “The fact that they would file a baseless charge against their own employees is another indication of their inability to deal with their employees’ legal strike action against the county’s unfair labor practices.”
Santa Clara County workers are officially on strike over unfair labor practices at the East Valley Health Clinic and the Gilroy Health Clinic – but the impact of our strike is much much larger. From the SSA offices on Senter Road to the Valley Medical Center’s main campus, management has canceled thousands of appointments and procedures that were scheduled for today because they thought we might be on strike. And the Gilroy health clinic is now shut down.
DAY 3 – EAST VALLEY is on fire! @SCCgov: we need long-term solutions to the needs of our patients, no more bandaids. It’s our sacrifice for the health of OUR community. #ProtectSantaClara #ULPStrike pic.twitter.com/HOIbpRAB01
— SEIU Local 521 (@SEIU521) October 4, 2019
Strike Day 2 – Oct. 3
Our strike continued today, on Thursday, October 3rd. Multiple facilities and clinics were completely shut down by us – the workers. We love our patients and know that they deserve the best care. CEO Jeff Smith doesn’t understand the needs of the patients we take care of daily, WE DO.
Congressman Ro Khanna joined our picket line today:
Strike Day 1 – Oct. 2
Day one of our strike started on Wednesday, October 2nd. For the first time in 40 years, we are going on an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike to protect services for children, low-income families, and seniors in our community.
— SEIU Local 521 (@SEIU521) October 2, 2019
“Why We Are Striking” Press Conference on Sept. 26
Over 600 Santa Clara County rallied together at 70 West Hedding from all across the county on September 26 to show that we are united and ready to strike when our bargaining team makes the call. We held a press conference and took our message straight to the office of CEO Jeff Smith. We made it clear that we are going on strike because the County has continuously broken the labor law. We called CEO Jeff Smith out for refusing to bargain in the best interest of our co-workers, our families, and the residents we serve.
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 in our community are struggling.
We are #StrikeReady because the future of our community is on the line. Right now in the County of Santa Clara, California — the epicenter of innovation — too many children lack decent care; seniors are struggling; and services fall short. It’s up to the Board of Supervisors to address these vital needs.
What’s next? Now, we are preparing for a strike. Make sure your information is up-to-date by filling out this form.
Our elected bargaining team will contact your strike captain and Contract Action Team member when we go on strike.
Latest update – Civil Disobedience – September 19
Civil Disobedience – September 19
- NBC News – County workers poised to strike – September 10, 2019
- San Jose Spotlight – South Bay labor leaders sanction strike of thousands of Santa Clara County employees – September 10, 2019
- The Mercury News – Santa Clara County workers vote to authorize strike – August 24, 2019
Since April 2019, Santa Clara County management has refused to deal fairly with our 11,000 County workers. On 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.
On September 9, the South Bay Labor Council made up of 101 unions and more than 100,000 union members approved our strike sanction authorization UNANIMOUSLY. We will not be alone in our fight to protect the vital needs of our community.
On September 12, our Contract Action Team prepared for a strike. For more information, go to MemberLink: members.seiu521.org.