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AFSCME NEWS

City Employees Rally Across City to Demand the City Fill Vacancies and Restore Vital Public Services

Over a seven-day period, more than 1,000 City workers showed up on their lunch breaks to rally together to demand that the City fill its more than 1,000 vacancies. “Rally Week” began on Tuesday, June 6th, at San Jose City Hall. Over 600 city hall staff turned out for a quick demonstration and marched around Civic Plaza, including marching around the back of the campus so the City Council – who was in chambers – could hear the chants and calls from city workers to “Staff Up San Jose!” and restore vital public services to our community.


On Thursday, June 8th, workers at the San Jose Regional Wastewater Facility (RWF) gathered in front of their building, calling on the City to staff the largest advanced wastewater treatment facility in the western United States that works 24/7 to clean Silicon Valley’s wastewater protecting public health and the environment of 1.4 million residents and over 17,000 businesses in eight cities and four sanitation districts. Union member Aric Johnson reminded us to “Keep making your voices heard! We’re not done yet”


The very next day, on June 9th, workers at the severely understaffed – and overpopulated – San Jose Animal Shelter rallied in front of the shelter and distributed information to members of the public about the deficiencies of the City’s staffing plan and the effects that it has on our communities most vulnerable residents – our animals. The shelter is currently bursting at the seams, with over 1,500 animals needing care and adoption. The lack of staff at the shelter exacerbates problems and makes it difficult to process and care for the animals at acceptable levels. MEF is encouraging all City workers who are able to adopt or foster an animal today! Those that can receive Local 101 branded portable dog bowls, doggy bag holders, and AFSCME doggy bandanas (contact an MEF steward for details).


AFSCME members rally at the San Jose Animal Shelter

The following day, Saturday, June 10th, workers from one of our City’s greatest treasures, Happy Hollow Zoo and Park, rallied during the park’s busiest day of the season, distributing information to parkgoers about the state of San Jose’s staffing. Staffing levels at Happy Hollow affect how many animals we’re able to bring in and care for, and thus our park is a shadow of what it has been and is capable of being again given a fully staffed and funded park. Our HHPZ staff are some of the most committed staff in our City. Their dedication to our animals, children, and residents of all ages is truly a jewel of our City. Ensuring Happy Hollow is adequately staffed is a commitment to the soul of San Jose.


Rally week ended at the San Jose Mineta International Airport, which is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, just minutes away from global technology giants. Conveniently serving a wealthy and diverse region approaching four million people and thousands of Silicon Valley companies, SJC is Silicon Valley’s airport, yet you wouldn’t know it based on the City’s lack of commitment to ensuring the airport is adequately staffed. City workers are the backbone of this crucial Silicon Valley asset. On June 13th, airport workers reminded the City and travelers alike about the vital services provided to Silicon Valley residents and businesses.


One thing is clear, these five rallies across the City established the momentum squarely in our corner. The struggle to fix staffing in the City has begun, and together, we’ve shown that we have what it takes to win this fight to restore vital public services, including striking, if necessary, in our aim to #StaffUpSanJose!

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