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Social workers join sixth day of strike by Santa Clara County workers

Group rallies outside of county's Board of Supervisors meeting

On the sixth day of strikes by Santa Clara County employees, social workers joined the picket lines with local health care workers, mental and behavioral health providers, child support workers and others.

Hundreds of striking county workers with Service Employees International Union Local 521 rallied again Tuesday to strike for a sixth day, with many gathered outside the county's Board of Supervisors meeting.

"Jeff Smith you can't hide, we can see your greedy side," protesters outside the county building at 70 W. Hedding St. chanted, calling to County Executive Jeffrey Smith, who was inside the board chambers Tuesday.

Hundreds of workers with SEIU Local 521 have been walking off the job since a strike was first initiated last Wednesday.

Fighting for new contracts, higher wages and for the county to address allegations of unfair labor practices, union workers say the county must answer their demands or suffer an ongoing and indefinite strike.

"As we have been willing to do all along, we look forward to continue bargaining in good faith," Smith said in a statement Tuesday.

But, with Smith and the county's previous unwillingness to meet the workers' demands, SEIU representatives are not convinced an end to the strike or new contracts are close.

"We are going to continue to strike, and all of our county buildings will continue to strike whenever and however long we need it," Pa Chang, a county social work supervisor and striking member of SEIU Local 521, said Tuesday.

The union's contracts with the county expired in June.

"Right now, all our members are asking is (for the county) to address our workload issues, the unfair labor practices of reorganizing the Department of Family and Children's Services, the concerns and risks of our children that at our receiving intake centers, the high workload we're getting, the turnover and the lack of support we're getting right now," Chang said.

According to the county, the strikes on Tuesday caused a closure of the county's In-home Supportive Services program office at 353 W. Julian St.

The strike continued on Wednesday with employees from the county's Clerk-Recorder and District Attorney's offices.

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