Mediation Ends; Union Refuses Deal
Monday, January, 13, 2020
After weeks of mediation, Service Employees International Union Local 521 (SEIU), the union representing 12,000 Santa Clara County employees has announced that they are unwilling to accept a deal. The goal of the mediation was to negotiate a contract for the employees, who could now be headed to a strike.
According to a letter sent to the county chief operating officer Miguel Marquez, “For months this committee has been told that our proposals were fiscally irresponsible, that they would put the county ‘in the red,’ It was only a few days ago that we learned that money was in fact no object for Santa Clara County, at least when it came to compensation for management employees.”
The letter went on to say the committee is disappointed by the lack of movement on the part of the county, and said that the offer made to managers proves it is able to be generous, undermining the fiscal arguments made in negotiations with the union.
The mediation began at the end of October after a rolling strike that took place over the course of 10 days earlier in the month. It began with a series of walkouts that began on October 2 that targeted several departments. According to union representatives, the purpose was to object to changes in the Department of Family and Children’s Services, safety issues related to housing children taken from their homes, and the relocation of a resource center in East San Jose. The union also wanted higher salary increases.
SEIU Local 521 represents almost half of the county’s workforce, including cooks, janitors, clerical staff, social workers, engineers and psychologists.