After months of working without a contract and attempting to reach an agreement with Stanislaus County that addresses the crisis around access to quality community services facing the community, SEIU 521 members have voted to authorize a strike that is set to begin on Jan. 3, 2019. SEIU 521 has proposed numerous dates to meet to continue negotiations, however, the county has so far refused to return to the table.
In November, hundreds of Stanislaus County workers took part in the first unfair labor practice strike against the county in decades. County workers are advocating for the social services residents depend on.
SEIU 521 members are seeking to partner with Stanislaus County to address serious issues like homelessness, mental health, substance abuse prevention, and child and elder abuse. During public comments at the Dec. 12 Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors meeting, SEIU 521 members provided examples of what they term county management’s attempts to undermine the union’s efforts to improve services to the community by providing the Board of Supervisors a miscalculation of the cost of the union’s proposals.
“We believe members of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors when they say they care about homelessness, joblessness, the foster care system, children, and the elderly,” said Kate Selover, Child Support Officer II and Stanislaus County Chapter President of SEIU 521. “However, the Board cannot make good decisions about services and the livelihoods of more than 700 members who work for the county if they are not adequately informed about all the possible solutions.”
Stanislaus County workers represented by SEIU 521 voted overwhelming to authorize an indefinite unfair labor practice strike starting Thursday, Jan. 3. The workers are striking in protest of what union leaders say are the county’s violations of the law, including intimidation, retaliation and discrimination of members participating in union activity, and attempts to limit access to union representatives.
SEIU 521 members include social workers, child support specialists, mental health clinicians, behavioral health specialists, and therapists, community service workers, community psychologists, animal control, veterans’ service providers, librarians and others who are responsible for keeping at-risk children and seniors out of dangerous conditions, assisting the unemployed into jobs, and homeless outreach.
Service Employees International Union, Local 521 represents public-sector workers in Stanislaus County and across the Central Valley.