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Photo Credit: Justin Lee

Oregon Strike Results in a Better Contract

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After a weeklong strike, about 700 AFSCME members in Lane County, Oregon, have returned to work with an agreement that invests in public services and fosters a stronger bond with the community they serve.  

The agreement – ratified by AFSCME Local 2831 members late Friday with overwhelming support – includes pay increases, a hardship fund to assist with health insurance premiums and protections for temporary employees.

AFSCME Local 2831 Bargaining Team. Photo Credit: Ross Grami
AFSCME Local 2831 Bargaining Team. Photo Credit: Ross Grami

Prior to the strike, dental hygienist Emily Miller was not offered so much as a flu shot from the county, and was forced to reapply for her job every year. She went on strike with her co-workers after the county proposed pay cuts and walked away from the bargaining table.

Under the ratified agreement, Miller will have access to health insurance and will no longer have to reapply for her job. She was one of hundreds of public service workers in Lane County who will benefit from the hard-fought contract.

“After a decade of work, it's good to see the county recognize us as permanent employees and stabilize the dental program,” said Miller. “By doing so, I will have a career at Lane County.”

Ensuring that no one would see a reduction in their pay was a priority for members. The agreement will provide a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment each year and market pay adjustments. This is especially important for county employees who are eligible for federal aid and rely on second jobs.

“The county wanted to cut pay for folks at the bottom, but we stood up for equality and fairness,” said Local 2831 President LaRece Rivera.

The Lane County Board of Commissioners is expected to ratify the agreement Tuesday.