Winnebago County Worker Strike

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

After nearly a week on the picket line, 23 News has learned that county leaders and union reps are headed back to the negotiation table.

Talks have stalled over wage increases and a step pay plan, but AFSCME union leaders say they'll meet with county leaders on Thursday morning to try and hammer out those issues.

The county says its best offer is on the table but they're willing to negotiate. Talks have stalled over wage increases and a step pay plan, but AFSCME union leaders say they'll meet with county leaders on Thursday morning to try and hammer out those issues. The county says its best offer is on the table but they're willing to negotiate.

Until the next negotiation, the strike continues and the cost for the county is adding up. Not only is the county paying $90,000 a week for temporary workers, they're also footing the bill for security.

Five security guards are stationed at three picket sites and are costing the county about $1,600 a day.

We want to make sure that both picketers and the people crossing the picket line are safe. It's prudent to have security available," says Chuck Prorok.

Union workers say they need the security more than temporary workers. They say they've been the target of hostilities since they hit the picket line.

"We're not threatening them. They have sped through and named called us but we haven't done anything," adds Susan Williams.

Tensions are running high on the picket line as union members say a handful of strikers have crossed and gone back to work.

"We're here binding together as a team and feel like we're being betrayed by those people," says Pam Johnson.

These workers say they're willing to stick it out but say it's not getting any easier. County leaders say the county is able to cover the cost of temps and security because it's not paying the salaries of striking workers.


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