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Hundreds of Santa Clara County workers rally for fitness care, wages

Hundreds of union members poured out in front of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors chambers Wednesday in the blistering warmth, rallying for growth in wages and services for county employees because the supervisors internally deliberated on next year’s investment priorities at some point of a price range hearing.

Union leaders from SEIU Local 521 encouraged an extra “transparent” budgeting technique that provides “essential services” meant to assist in covering the cost of basic living wishes, such as housing and toddler care, in one of the. S . ‘s maximum highly-priced regions.

“People are simply suffering,” said Riko Mendez, leader elected officer for SEIU, Local 521. “There’s a manner for us to make an impact with our proposals around housing and for actual, inexpensive child care. We’re asking that the county take our proposals seriously.”

Hundreds of Santa Clara County workers rally for fitness care, wages 1

Mendez stated that the union is offering $2 million a month from the budget to create a low-priced healthcare fund that the community should access — irrespective of a man or woman’s profits — to assist in paying for infant care services. In addition, union leaders have stressed growth in people’s wages.

The crowd — as many as 800 humans in keeping with SEIU’s signal-in sheet — cheered as community leaders chanted slogans which included “Si Se Puede” even as people held signs that study, “We want to stay wherein we paintings” and “Fair agreement now.” Several workers shared how modern pay has undermined their ability to house, feed their families, or assist their youngsters.

County officials and union representatives are negotiating a brand new agreement. The closing date to finalize negotiations is Sunday if no settlement is reached. A minimum of 11,000 workers represented by SEIU, Local 521 within the Bay Area vicinity and in the Central Valley could be without an agreement.

“When I came to the county, I had to make first-rate sacrifices, and one among them is toddler care,” stated Lilia Jacobo, 40, a senior healthcare consultant and unmarried mom to a son with special needs. “My son became diagnosed with autism, global developmental putoff, and suffers from seizures. Trying to discover affordable toddler care became a need.”

Jacobo stated that her dad had to retire early to help with in-domestic care for her son while she was at paintings because she couldn’t afford the $12,000 for 12 months of infant care expenses. After taxes, Jacobo said she earns around $ fifty-five 000, less than expected earnings for union individuals in the county, estimated around $68,804, keeping with a SEIU file.

“This economy inside the heart of Santa Clara County is so highly-priced. The county needs to do something positive about that,” delivered Jacobo. “The Board of Supervisors sit quite, all making over $100,000. They’re no longer involved. Well, let me transfer my burdens over to their domestic on the way to move domestic at night time and inform their children, ‘I can’t come up with that.’ They have no concept of what we go through.”

But county officials are weighing greater than just a pay bump for workers. The nearly $8.1 billion budget is ready to cover the expenses of the merger of O’Connor and St. Louise Hospitals into the county health machine, criminal justice reform, and a new juvenile and mental health facility — pinnacle priorities for the next 12 months.

According to County Executive Jeff Smith, the primary attention for the year is to prioritize constructing and keeping present programs instead of pumping money into new initiatives — based totally on the expectation that the economic system will dip.

“During ordinary instances in California, counties expect a financial cycle of about a decade. Current instances are whatever but regular,” Smith said in an announcement. “Although California and Silicon Valley are, via nature, highly blanketed from the national dangers, the reminiscence of the 2008 recession hangs over our heads. We had been cautious to simplest recommend increase that we have been confident that we ought to have enough money.”

Still, union leaders are pushing again toward the concept that the economic system is on a downturn. In a file conducted with the aid of SEIU, the union said the county’s price range had been off using at least $1 billion over the past five years.

“It’s clear that the county has a long pattern of underneath-budgeting their revenues and over-budgeting their charges,” stated a file from SEIU. “This efficaciously denies Santa Clara County citizens and employees the risk to benefit a correct expertise of the real budget projections.”

While the wage contract is at the heart of the talk, Mendez stated the rally turned into offering a pathway to housing and social services that provide the whole community a place to stay. “Working elegance human beings” are suffering to make ends meet with the salaries they’ve, Mendez brought, and the businesses growing fee-of-living pushes them to live on the streets or in their cars, go back and forth from farther distances, and pay exorbitant quantities in child care charges.

Many union participants are clerical or social employees, provider employees, nurses, and healthcare people.

If a deal between the union and county leaders isn’t reached by Sunday, the prevailing contract may be extended to shop for more time, or the county’s workers may go on strike. The county’s modern provide is a 1 percent salary boom for SEIU workers, a salary cut in keeping with hard work leaders when adjusted for inflation. SEIU is inquiring about a 9 percent fashionable wage boom. Several SEIU workers at the rally stated anything underneath a five percent increase became “insulting.”

If a worthwhile compromise isn’t reached, Mendez said the county supervisors may be “in for the fight of their lives.”

“Organized labor is the last bastion of preserving company interests from taking on the whole financial system,” he stated. “The disparity between the wealthy and terrible is wider than ever. People operating collectively and unionizing is the simplest way to counterbalance that and provide a better place for everybody.”

Duane Simpson

Internet fan. Zombie aficionado. Infuriatingly humble problem solver. Alcohol enthusiast. Spent several months exporting UFOs in Jacksonville, FL. A real dynamo when it comes to exporting gravy in Tampa, FL. Spent 2001-2004 implementing saliva in Edison, NJ. Had moderate success getting my feet wet with junk food on Wall Street. Practiced in the art of building Virgin Mary figurines in Tampa, FL. Practiced in the art of marketing Roombas in Phoenix, AZ.

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