Thousands Of Santa Clara County Workers Walk Off The Job, Claim Unfair Labor Practices

Matt Bigler
October 02, 2019 - 10:15 am
Santa Clara County Workers On Strike

KCBS Radio/Matt Bigler


SANTA CLARA COUNTY - (KCBS Radio) - Thousands of Santa Clara County workers went on strike Monday morning.

The workers - janitors, social workers, mental health workers and employees in parks and libraries - are represented by the Service Employees International Union.

They claim the county has engaged in unfair labor practices and are demanding a new contract.

There's no indication as to how long the strike might last. Valerie Pickering, a social worker supervisor and member of the SEIU Bargaining Unit, told KCBS it was a long time coming.

"We tried our best, we've been at the table - we're still at the table - but after six months, I felt like it was the right decision. I think our members felt it was the right decision," Pickering said. "Our director engaged in a reorganization of the department that didn't involve the community or the workers. So we felt unfair labor practice charges."

The county claims the dispute is not about unfair labor practices, but rather salary increases. County CEO Jeff Smith told the Mercury News the union is asking for nearly double what has been offered. Smith said the county simply can't afford to meet that demand.