San Jose’s Biggest Union Says Its Members Will Strike for 3 Days Next Week

UPDATE, Aug. 9: City and union negotiators agreed to meet with a mediator Thursday morning, in a last-ditch effort to avert a strike next week.

Nearly 4,500 San Jose city employees will go on a three-day-strike next week, citing chronic understaffing and low pay, the unions representing the workers announced this morning.

The unions did not reveal details of the results of the vote conducted last week and announced today. The action would be the first widescale strike among San Jose city employees since 1981

The unions and the city have been negotiating for months and the workers have been working without a contract since it expired in late June.

The unions are seeking a 7% pay increase the first year, followed by 6% then 5% in successive years, and complain that many city departments are understaffed. The city in June said its final pay offer was 5% the first year of the contract, 4% the second, and 3% the third.

The vote to strike Aug. 15-17 was announced Monday at a rally with city workers, representatives of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21 and the Municipal Employees' Federation-American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local in front of San Jose City Hall.

The Municipal Employers Federation gave these instructions to its members on its website today:

“The strike will begin on Tuesday [Aug. 15], at 6am, ending on Friday, August 18, at 5:59am.

“For shift workers, no one will leave work or report to work mid-shift (more details to come for people working swing and night shifts).

“Everyone must plan to attend one of the daily picket locations each day.

“There are a few different options for each day. Day one is a more extended day. The remaining two days will be shorter in length.”

The unions represent approximately two-thirds of the city’s workforce.

“We are committed to negotiating a deal that's fair to everyone -- our workers and our residents who rely on the essential services our city provides,” said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan in a statement. “But the hard truth is, this money has to come from somewhere. If my council colleagues want to go beyond our last, best and final offer of a 5% raise next year, they will have to identify which core city services they are willing to cut.”

Spencer Otte, a reporter with Bay City News. contributed to this report.


  1. Public Employees should not be allowed to Unionize against the public.
    This is just one example of why.

  2. They aren’t unionized against the public. They are unionized so that they can stand up for themselves as laborers and human beings. They are community members too.

  3. Yeah!!! These yahoos have no right to be organizing in their own neighborhood to stand up for themselves! Maybe some entitled white person should come along and really teach these clowns a lesson.

  4. They are unionized against the public, it’s a simple fact. Wishing that away does not make it true.

    It is unfair and should be stopped, and even made illegal, for public employees to unionize. Even the most famous of all Democrats, FDR said so.

    They can still organize themselves, they can still stand up for themselves, they can still be community members, and they can still be dignified human beings of ANY color, all while not being union.

    Unions exist to fight/force management to do what the union wants. In this case, management is our publicly elected representatives (i.e. they are the public). Thus the union is fighting/forcing the public, or said another way, they are unionized against the public.

  5. Us union city workers WANT to work for the people. We make less money and have more work than most all of our counterpart municipalities, and we are one of the thinnest staffed big cities in the nation, if not THE thinnest. Those of you saying we have no right to strike have no idea about the situation. I could make 20% more, minimum just going to a private sector job literally a block away, but I WANT to work for my community. I WANT to make it better. The City needs to take care of those of us who take care of YOU. Please consider learning more about our situation before you judge us. Did you vote down raising property taxes? Well, that’s also part of the problem too, if you did.

  6. Perhaps you could make 20% more in the private sector (and perhaps you should), but you cannot touch the pension you will receive from the city in the private sector. And the more you “take home” today, the more we have to pay for you when you retire at 55. In my opinion you are all very well taken car of already. But my point is that Public Employee Unions should be abolished. They are not fair to the public.

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