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Strike in Oregon forces employer to offer fair contract

Photo Credit: Oregon AFSCME
Strike in Oregon forces employer to offer fair contract
By AFSCME Staff ·

Five days. That’s how long AFSCME members who work for Oregon’s Yamhill County government were on strike seeking a fair contract.

And five days is all it took to force Yamhill County management to offer a three-year contract that the members of Yamhill County Employee Association/AFSCME Local 1422 (Oregon AFSCME) found palatable.


Photo: Oregon AFSCME

Management’s offer is still a tentative agreement, which means the members of Local 1422 still have to ratify it. Ratification meetings are planned for the coming days. The local represents 400 Yamhill County workers.

The strike, which began on Nov. 3 after frustrated members rejected management’s final offer, is now over and the workers returned to duty as of Wednesday.

Yamhill County employees are among the lowest-paid county employees compared to similarly populated counties in the state, according to Oregon AFSCME.  With skyrocketing inflation, many county workers say they can’t afford the housing costs in the county they work for. Some earn so little that they qualify for government assistance.

Local 1422 members pushed Yamhill County management to offer fair pay to recruit and retain workers to ensure safe staffing levels and continue to deliver excellent public services to the community.

Some highlights of the tentative agreement:

  • Cost of living (COLA) increases of 7% in the first year (retroactive to July 1, 2023), 3% in the second year, and 3% in the third year.
  • Straight pay for holidays, regardless of work schedule, plus provisions for longevity pay to begin at five years.
  • A market study by July 2024 for all AFSCME-represented positions that were excluded from HB 4004 approved by the Oregon State Legislature. Aimed at increasing the state’s behavioral health workforce, HB 4004 provided grants to providers to boost pay and improve worker retention.
  • 6% bilingual pay differential retroactive to July 1, 2023.

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