News


Santa Clara County files grievance against striking union workers

SEIU Local 521 member leading walk-out calls claim a 'baseless charge'

Santa Clara County filed an unfair practice charge Friday afternoon with the California Public Employment Relations Board against striking union workers, calling their strike "unlawful" because negotiations are not yet "at complete loggerheads" where no agreement can be reached.

The county filed the complaint Friday after workers with Service Employees International Union Local 521 began walking off the job Wednesday morning.

The county said Friday that strikes throughout the region have affected medical patients at health centers in Gilroy and San Jose, including patients in the county's women, infants and children programs. The county also said SEIU Local 521 failed to provide "adequate notice" to the county of its intentions before initiating a strike.

The California Public Employment Relations Board will hear the complaint.

"We do not believe that the county's charge has merit," Chris Libera, a member of SEIU Local 521 and a strike leader, said in a statement Friday. "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."

The strikes have drawn hundreds of local county workers from their jobs and onto picket lines since Wednesday.

The strike entered its fifth day at about 8 a.m. Monday, when workers from seven sites within the county's Social Services Agency walked off the job at 1867 Senter Road in San Jose, SEIU Local 521 officials said.

"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," Griselda Galindo, an eligibility worker, said in a statement.

"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," she said.

According to union officials, workers have been without a contract for months and "have seen no real commitment by the county to bargain in the best interest of children, seniors, families and those who provide critical services."

SEIU members, who make up about half of the county's 22,000 employees, have accused the county of unfair labor practices, such as restructuring of the Department of Family and Children's Services without bargaining with employees.

They also claim workers are leaving Santa Clara for higher-paying jobs in counties with a lower cost of living.

Related content:

Health care workers walk out, join striking Santa Clara County employees

---

Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Mountain Mike's Pizza arrives in Menlo Park
By Elena Kadvany | 9 comments | 3,133 views

Disposing of Disposables
By Sherry Listgarten | 21 comments | 2,010 views

Couples Counseling, Al Pacino Style
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,534 views

Anonymous Sources: Facebook and YouTube suppressing important questions and discussion
By Douglas Moran | 1 comment | 335 views