Santa Clara County workers' strike postponed amid power shutoff | News | Palo Alto Online |

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Santa Clara County workers' strike postponed amid power shutoff

Employees have been hitting the picket lines since Oct. 2

Santa Clara County workers who have been striking since last week are postponing the work stoppage until further notice because of PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff affecting the area.

County employees with Service Employees International Union Local 521 had been striking since Oct. 2 but are back to work Thursday amid the shutoff affecting much of the Bay Area and beyond.

"Our decision to postpone all strike activities was taken out of our concern for public safety and our desire to fully support the needs of the residents who our members serve every single day," SEIU Local 521 chapter president Janet Diaz said in a statement.

The union has accused the county of an unfair labor practice charge, saying the Department of Family and Children's Services was restructured without bargaining with employees.

"Our decision to postpone work stoppage activities does not cancel our unfair labor practices strike," Diaz said. "Our members will remain ready to return to the picket lines at moment's notice."

Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey Smith says the county remains open to negotiations as union workers postponed their strike Thursday morning due to PG&E's power shutoff.

"This emergency is a reminder of the vital role the county serves in our community," Smith said in a statement. "This suspension of strike activity today was in keeping with this mission of public service."

He added that the county "continues to be hopeful for a resolution that results in a fair, equitable and sustainable contract. We are ready to meet for the next round of negotiations as soon as SEIU leadership is ready and willing to meet with us."

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