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Santa Clara County union workers hold, grow strike line on Day 7

After a week of strikes, workers walking off the job with Service Employees International Union Local 521 on Wednesday targeted the County Government Center in San Jose.

Since last week, social workers, 911 dispatchers and mental and behavioral health workers at several of the county’s Valley Health Center outpatient clinics have been striking to demand higher wages, new contracts and for the county to address allegations of unfair labor practices by the county.

Workers across different departments at the county center in downtown San Jose, including staff in Planning and Development, the District Attorney’s Office and County Assessor’s Office, skipped work to strike Wednesday morning, forming picket lines at 8 a.m. in front of multiple entrances to the building.

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

Mullissa Willette, a county government worker and vice president of SEIU Local 521, said Wednesday outside her office building on the picket line:

“We’re holding our strike line. Workers are standing together in solidarity.”

“We want to resolve this. We don’t want to be out here. We want to reach a deal that we can live with.”

County Executive Jeffrey Smith has said previously that it cannot meet the union’s demands, but that the county is willing to negotiate. Willette said Wednesday that union negotiators were meeting in caucus to come up with a new proposal for the county.

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