SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — Striking Santa Clara County workers put down their picket signs and were pack on the job Thursday in the wake of the PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff in the South Bay.

SEIU Local 521 chapter president Janet Diaz said the union had decision to temporarily take down its picket lines because of public safety concerns.

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“Our decision to postpone all strike activities was taken out of our concern for public safety and our desire to fully support the needs of the residents who our members serve every single day,” Diaz said in a statement.

Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey Smith says the county remains open to negotiations as union workers postponed their strike.

“This emergency is a reminder of the vital role the county serves in our community,” Smith said in a statement. “This suspension of strike activity today was in keeping with this mission of public service.”

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He added that the county “continues to be hopeful for a resolution that results in a fair, equitable and sustainable contract. We are ready to meet for the next round of negotiations as soon as SEIU leadership is ready and willing to meet with us.”

County employees with Service Employees International Union Local 521 been striking on Oct. 2 but were back to work Thursday amid the shutoff affecting much of the Bay Area and beyond.

The union has accused the county of an unfair labor practice charge, saying the Department of Family and Children’s Services was restructured without bargaining with employees.

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“Our decision to postpone work stoppage activities does not cancel our unfair labor practices strike,” Diaz said. “Our members will remain ready to return to the picket lines at moment’s notice.”