County Workers Picket Over Contract

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

The Buck trial and other county services could be effected if county union members decide to strike. Afscme local 473 workers have been without a contract for more than three months and are picking at this hour.

Despite the chilly temperatures, more than 100 county workers are expected to join this informational picket leading up to Thursday night’s county board meeting. Local 473 represents the majority of county workers from janitors to court clerks. They say they'll go on strike if a fair contract is not reached soon.

Union member and county employee Dave Kobes says the county isn't treating its employees fairly, trying to freeze pay while raising insurance costs.

"We are ready to strike if that's what it comes to. But in the end, we all want to get the contract settled. I don't like rocking the boat anymore than they like me rocking the boat,” says Kobes.

Board members like Polly Berg have been briefed on the situation by county attorneys, but have little say in the process. Berg hopes the situation will be resolved quickly, without a strike.

"We really need some of those workers. There are some of them that are indispensable. I know people think no one is indispensable but there are some workers who we could not replace on a moment's notice or even a week's notice,” comments Berg.

Berg points out that county department heads recently got a pay raise, so she doesn't see why other employees can't get the same.


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