Thousands of Santa Clara County workers remain on strike with no plans for negotiations
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU) - For the second straight day, some 12,000 Santa Clara remained off the job on Thursday as an impasse over pay and work conditions.
They rallied outside of Valley Medical Center, just one of 18 sites around the county where picketers set up shop.
They say they know how to heal the sick and care for the people, and they do it with their own hands.
Workers say the strike isn't just over money but also work conditions, housing and filling vacancies. They claim about one in six positions is vacant.
Riko Mendez, chief elected officer of SEIU Local 521, said, "We're going to do something about it whether they like it or not."
On the other side of the divide, county executive Jeff Smith says the money is the driving force behind closed doors.
Smith says the county remains committed to a fair and equitable contract.
The county is offering a three-percent raise each of the next five years which would equal $625 million.
Smith says the union seeks raises two to three times that amount. He added that union leadership has miscalculated and painted themselves into a corner to the detriment of patients who need county healthcare services.
The union canceled negotiations on Wednesday and Smith says there are no plans for the two sides to talk.
He believes the only way progress can be made is if both sides agree on the facts.