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Hundreds could strike tomorrow

Nearly 700 union workers in Lane County are prepared to walk off the job is an agreement isn't made.

Posted: Oct 19, 2017 6:16 AM
Updated: Oct 19, 2017 6:16 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- County commissioners will decide if they will implement a three-year contract that will increase compensation for union workers.

The contract under consideration would amount to an $8.8 million increase.

Members of the Lane County American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees worked late into the evening on Monday to compose a counterproposal supporting the workers.

KEZI 9 News was there Tuesday morning when the petition with 1,300 signatures was presented to county commissioners.

Several members of the union attended the meeting and stretched the petition across the length of the room. They also voiced their concerns about the looming strike.

"We understand the impact to the community. We understand the impact to the members. We don't want to go on strike, but we need to take care of our members," said Larece Rivera, president of Lane County AFSCME.

Employees that are part of a union include mental health specialists, nurses, waste management services staff and office assistants.

Devon Ashbridge with Lane County said the proposal is about balancing competitive wages with the limited taxpayer resources.

If the commissioners vote to authorize the proposed contract, a notice would be given, it could then be implemented without signing an agreement with AFSCME.

If the board votes against it, negotiations will continue.

Rivera said a strike could start at 6 a.m. on Wednesday if they don't reach an agreement.

A pre-strike kick off is planned for Tuesday night. Lane County workers and community members said they will gather in support of Lane County employees. They are meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the First Christian Chruch of Eugene.

For more information on the pending strike, people can call 541-682-3977. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. until there is a resolution.

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