SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— The County of Santa Clara will continue providing services to the community during the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 521 work stoppage occurring today at multiple County facilities, including locations in the County’s health system. During today’s work stoppage, which is limited to specific County locations, most County facilities will remain open. The County encourages residents to stay informed of service updates at www.sccgov.org/strikeupdate.
“We are continuing to ensure the community has access to essential County health and medical services,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, M.D., J.D. “While we work toward a resolution to the labor negotiations, we’d like to assure the community, especially our patients, that their health and safety remain our top priority.”
In expectation of an SEIU work stoppage, the County developed contingency plans to ensure essential services continue. There are currently 20 sites affected by the work stoppage.
- All inpatient units and acute care services at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, O’Connor Hospital and St. Louise Regional Hospital are fully operational.
- Primary care appointments are being rescheduled at Valley Health Center Downtown San Jose and Moorpark locations, with urgent care and pharmacy services open. VHC Milpitas and VHC Sunnyvale are closed today, and appointments at these clinics will be rescheduled.
- Other ancillary services are impacted.
“Patient care in our hospitals has not been interrupted, and our patients remain our top priority,” Smith said. “We will continue to provide compassionate and high-quality care during the SEIU strike.”
SEIU members make up about half of the County’s 22,000 employees. Today, there are approximately 850 picketers at 20 locations.
LABOR RELATIONS UPDATE
The County and SEIU have been in labor negotiations for the past five months. Although the SEIU Local 521 contract expired on June 16, 2019, the County has continued to bargain in good faith with SEIU, and is observing all contract terms and conditions.
“We are willing to continue bargaining in good faith, but we are not willing to put the County’s fiscal health in jeopardy,” Smith said. “The union’s proposal remains financially unrealistic given the signs of an economic downturn.”
The County has already offered SEIU significant increases in salary and benefits, including a 3% general wage increase each year for the next five years. The incremental budgeted cost for general wage increases for SEIU for salary and benefits over five years would be at least $570 million. Additionally, the incremental budgeted cost for non-general wage increases would cost at least another $55 million over that period. Combined, the County’s latest proposal to SEIU would be at least $625 million over five years. If that proposal were extended to all of the County’s unions, the total incremental salary and benefits budgeted cost over five years would exceed $1.5 billion. To view the County’s proposal for salary, general wage increases, and proposed realignments, view the update on the most recent negotiations with SEIU on September 27, 2019.
“The County is not a profit-making corporation. Our mission is to serve the most vulnerable members of our community. We must be prudent in how we spend taxpayer dollars and invest in services,” Smith said.
The County maintains a website dedicated to labor relations updates, including an update on the most recent negotiations with SEIU on September 27, 2019.
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About the County of Santa Clara, California
The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, the sixth largest county in California. With more than 70 agencies/departments and nearly 22,000 employees, the County of Santa Clara plans for the needs of a dynamic community, offers quality services, and promotes a healthy, safe and prosperous community for all. The County provides essential services, including public health and environmental protection; behavioral health and medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System including Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (Hospital and Clinics), O’Connor Hospital and Saint Louise Regional Hospital; child and adult protection services; homelessness prevention and solutions; roads, parks and libraries; emergency response to disasters; protection of minority communities and those under threat; access to a fair criminal justice system, and scores of other services, particularly for those members of our community in the greatest need.
Media Contact: Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119.
Posted: October 3, 2019