As Alameda County’s staffing crisis continues, county workers march on the Board of Supervisors to demand a solution
To protest Alameda County administration’s failure to act urgently to fill its 2,611 vacant positions – nearly 25% of the entire County workforce – more than 100 County workers marched on the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, March 14, at noon. Workers from SEIU 1021, IFPTE Local 21, and IBT 856 all took the chambers, chanting “Staff up! Alameda County!” for several minutes before workers delivered powerful testimony to the board.
Pamela Boyle, an auditor-appraiser III with the County, said, “Five years ago, I took a pay cut to come work for the County in the Appraiser’s office. Our job is to assess property, and what that does is provide tax revenues for the people of Alameda County. Revenue for schools, parks, street lights, social services, and food programs. We’ve been understaffed for three years. My team alone lost three of its most experienced auditors in the past year. What does that mean for the county, and for the services not being provided? Fewer child welfare visits. Fewer medical welfare visits. Less money for food security programs and summer camp programs. We need the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to get involved!”
Cynthia Landry, a longtime social worker for the County, told the Board, “I’m a social worker III for Alameda County Social Services, where I’m a frontline social worker, working with some of our county’s most vulnerable populations: unhoused adults and families, and the general assistance safety-net population, who may have potential barriers to employment due to chronic homelessness, substance abuse, or physical health issues. I also work with our domestic violence victims to ensure their safety with safety planning and housing. I’m here today to call on the Board of Supervisors. We have a staffing crisis in this county. It’s impacting me, my coworkers, and the populations we serve. We need the Board of Supervisors to get involved and solve the recruitment and retention problems in Alameda County. Our community needs services badly.”
Bridget Mooney, a vector control biologist, read from a letter signed by workers and community allies, saying, “The work County workers do for our community is vital and irreplaceable, and we have all seen the tragic cost of this understaffing crisis. The community members and County workers who have signed this letter are unanimous in calling on the County Board of Supervisors to listen to the community, address their needs, and solve this staffing crisis.”
The action took place as billboards and bus ads appeared throughout Alameda County, calling attention to the staffing crisis and directing people to staffupalamedacounty.org.
The workers have been bargaining with the County for several months. They have stepped up for numerous actions, including multiple rallies across the county, most recently on Presidents’ Day, Feb. 13, when hundreds of County workers and community members rallied at Lake Merritt before marching to the county administration building.