Most workers continue to strike
The great majority of Lane County government workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees remained on strike for a second day Thursday, although the county administration said about 20 percent of the unionized employees crossed the picket lines and clocked in for work.
On Wednesday, the first day of the strike over wages and health benefits, 118 of the 692 AFSCME-represented employees came to work, the county said. That’s 17 percent of the workers. On Thursday, the tally rose to 136 workers, the county said.
The administration and union representatives did not meet Thursday but are slated to resume negotiations Friday.
The sides remain far apart. The county has offered pay raises of about 3 percent on average in the contract’s first year. AFSCME wants far higher raises, averaging 14.8 percent for general unit employees in the contract’s first year and 19.8 percent for the nurses unit in the first year.
Also, the county wants employees to start paying $240 to $840 a year toward their health care insurance premiums. Currently, the employees pay nothing.
The county says its offer goes into effect on Saturday. It will cost the county a total of $8.8 million more over the current wages and benefits for AFSCME members during the three-year period of the contract, the county said.
The county says the union’s demands would boost that increase by more than $20 million.
The union says the county should use its reserves to pay for the higher raises the union is seeking.
Meanwhile, the county administration on Thursday adjusted some services for strike-affected work areas.
According to the county’s website, the hours for the Glenwood Transfer Station have been reduced to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, for the duration of the strike. Normally, the hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Hours also were reduced at the Florence Transfer Station, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. All other sites were closed until further notice.
For more information on the strike, visit the county’s website at www.lanecounty.org and AFSCME’s website at www.local2831.org.
The county also has set up a hotline, 541-682-3977. It is operational from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday until the strike ends.
Follow Christian Wihtol on Twitter @ChristianWihtol . Email firstname.lastname@example.org .