Hours before thousands of workers planned to walk off the job, Santa Clara County's largest employee union reached a tentative four-year agreement after 72 straight hours of bargaining.
The 11th hour deal reached at 4:30am today came in time for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 521 to call off the 6am strike. Members still have to vote on the contract, which also requires approval by the county Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor Dave Cortese and SEIU 521 sent out tweets announcing the deal, which covers 9,000 of the county's 17,000 employees and represents 9-1-1 dispatchers, X-ray techs, nurses and social workers.
— Dave Cortese (@DaveCortese) June 30, 2015
— SEIU Local 521 (@SEIU521) June 30, 2015
Strike averted. County and SEIU reach agreement.
— Santa Clara County (@SCCgov) June 30, 2015
"We are pleased that after negotiating through much of the night, the County and SEIU were able to reach a tentative agreement," County Executive Jeff Smith said in a statement. "Although the agreement has to be ratified by its members, the strike has been averted and residents will be able to access all County services today and during the weeks ahead."
The county tried to block the strike by court injunction, but the Santa Clara County Superior Court on Monday deemed just 475 of the 9,000 union members as "essential employees" required to report to work.
Union members voted overwhelmingly last week to sanction the strike and rallied at the steps of the county headquarters to call attention to what they called unfair work practices, a looming labor shortage and the need for a wage increase to afford living in Silicon Valley.