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Santa Clara County health workers plagued by ‘staffing crisis’ strike for 5th day

Santa Clara County workers continued striking Monday morning, entering the fifth day of the strike over what workers say are unfair labor practices.

Started at 8 a.m., workers from seven sites within the county’s Social Services Agency walked off the job at 1867 Senter Road in San Jose, officials with Service Employees International Union Local 521 said.

Griselda Galindo, an eligibility worker, said in a statement:

“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.” 

She said:

“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,” 

SEIU Local 521/Facebook Santa Clara County, Calif. health workers are on strike for a fifth day Monday, October 7, 2019.

According to union officials, workers have been without a contract for months and say they:

“[H]ave seen no real commitment by the county to bargain in the best interest of children, seniors, families and those who provide critical services.”

On Friday, Santa Clara County filed an unfair practice charge 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.

Chris Libera, a member of SEIU Local 521 and a strike leader called the charge “baseless.”

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