State defends AFSCME against County taxpayers

Union workers have won an unfair labor practices case against Josephine County ... and may get re-hired with more than a year's back pay and benefits. The case involves more than 100 workers who lost their county jobs when Josephine County contracted out mental health services in July, 2006.

The state Employment Relations Board determined the privatization was in retaliation for a county workers' strike earlier in 2006.

The county has been told is has to re-hire the workers, and give them back pay and benefits ... minus what they've earned since they lost their county jobs. The union estimates the amount could range from $300,000 up to $1 million.

The county also has to pay their union, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, what it would have gotten in union dues... which AFSCME says is about $70,000 dollars... and pay the union a $1,000 civil penalty.

The county legal counsel, Steve Rich, says the county is still looking at the decision, and hasn't decided on a next step. The county could ask the decision be reconsidered, appeal it, or try to work with the union on a settlement.

County commissioners are holding an executive session tomorrow morning to talk about what they'll do.


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