Santa Clara County employees poised to strike over staffing considerations

(KRON) — Following six days of voting by Santa Clara County’s largest union, SEIU Native 521, members voted to authorize their bargaining committee to name for an Unfair Labor Observe Strike.

The potential strike may have an effect on greater than 12,500 county jobs. Union members work for the county’s three hospitals and clinics, social providers, 911 dispatch communications facilities, parks, upkeep, the assessor’s workplace, and recorder’s workplace.

County employees are calling for the county to spend money on “funding the frontline.” The vote handed with 95 % of members casting “sure” votes, the union introduced Thursday afternoon.

In the course of the subsequent periods of negotiations, the SEIU 521 Santa Clara County bargaining group and union leaders will consider when, and if, a strike is critical. 

SEIU Native 521 Vice President Andre Thomas speaks at a rally. (Picture courtesy SEIU Native 521)

“This overwhelming majority ‘sure’ vote represents the voices of employees all throughout the county. Employees that performed a vital half all through the pandemic and proceed to guide us by way of our restoration,” mentioned Andre Thomas, the union’s vp. “From healthcare employees and social providers to public security employees in 9-1-1 dispatch to parks, baby care fare and road providers, our unbelievable library employees, clinics, janitors, roads, registrar of voters and so many extra. We’re sending a message on to Santa Clara County administration that frontline employees are united and able to take motion if county administration doesn’t come to the bargaining in good religion.”

The vote follows a number of protests by employees who say the county is going through a staffing disaster. County employees first raised considerations about quick staffing when the present contract was bargained three years in the past.

Union leaders wrote, “Since then, the scenario has solely gotten worse. Unfilled vacancies in SEIU positions have elevated by over 41% since October 2019, going from 1,587 to 2,248 as we speak in keeping with the most recent figures offered by the county.” 

The present contract between the union and the county is ready to run out on June 25. 

911 dispatchers and nurses have been amongst union members who rallied exterior Valley Medical Heart this week.

Laura Villarreal, a senior 911 dispatcher, mentioned, “The county’s really helpful funds at present requires the deletion of seven vacancies inside County Communication. For years, dispatchers like myself have needed to function our work schedules on necessary additional time necessities. Necessary additional time is actually in place as a result of we wouldn’t have sufficient employees. This should change.”

Linda Quach, a radiologist tech at Valley Medical Heart, mentioned, “Our county workers, and particularly my colleagues at Valley Medical Heart, are strike prepared.”

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