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Lane County reopens several services as some employees return to work

Lane County employees represented by AFSCME returned to the picket lines on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. -- It's day three of the Lane County workers strike, but after a pause in negotiations between Lane County and the AFSCME union, both groups are prepared to start talking again.

The Lane County Board of Commissioners is meeting for an executive session Friday morning to discuss labor negotiations the county government and the employees represented by the labor union.

In this executive session, no decisions are made. Instead, the session is used to continue discussions on the topic.

Lane County and the union will begin negotiations again at 9 a.m. Friday.

The session comes on the heels of two lengthy mediation meetings earlier this week that lasted 16 and 17 hours each, the county said.

The union is also planning to rally at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza at noon Friday in support of the renewed contract negotiations. They say workers will host speakers from the union and community.

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, 137 (or 20%) of AFSCME members have chosen to return to work, the county said in a news release. They said it has enabled Lane County to restore several services that were impacted by the strike.

SERVICES UPDATE:

  • The RiverStone Community Health Center in Springfield will reopen and operate Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Behavioral Health group therapy will resume on October 20.
  • Methadone Treatment Program group therapy will resume on October 23.
  • Environmental Health will be resuming inspections on October 20.
  • Lane County Special Waste will begin setting appointments for hazardous waste disposal.
  • The Glenwood Transfer Station has increased its hours to better accommodate customers. The new hours for the duration of the strike are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday.

Visit www.lanecounty.org for a list of service changes occurring during the AFSCME employees strike. Officials say it will be updated regularly.

Community members with questions about affected services are encouraged to call the hotline at (541) 682-3977, open between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday–Friday, until the strike ends. Regular updates and information will also be provided on Twitter (@LaneCountyGov).

NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE:

Information regarding the implementation contract is available online at http://bit.ly/2kYN0OQ. The implementation contract, which goes in to effect on October 21, is an estimated $8.8 million increase over current wage and benefits for AFSCME members over the three-year period of the contract.

Lane County has been working with AFSCME leaders since March 1 to come to an agreement on updated terms for a three-year contract (2017-2020), the county said.

In Friday morning's news release, the county said it has "made a proposal that is similar to contracts already accepted by five other employee labor organizations at Lane County."

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information is confirmed.

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