Winnebago County Worker Strike

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

It's coming down to the wire for hundreds of Winnebago County workers. Wednesday local 4-73 members headed to the Union Hall to cast votes on whether to strike. Union members have been coming in and out of Union Hall in shifts throughout the day. We won't know the outcome of the vote until after 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, but the county and workers are preparing for a strike.

County workers from nurses to court clerks are asking for a four percent raise each year for the next ten years, which the county says it can't afford, but a mother of two making eight bucks an hour at river bluff nursing home says it's not too much to ask.

"It's not a point of what we want it's a point of what we deserve. I mean we're not making anything right now. It's hard," Jeri Richardson says.

Instead, the county is asking 500 workers to take a pay freeze.

"Anything that has to do with wages, they're not willing to discuss. That's one of the reasons we filed a non fair legal practice charges against the county for bad faith bargaining," says Jay Ferraro.

County workers who support the strike say they understand the county's situation, but leaders need to change their priorities.

If county workers walk off their jobs, it will create some challenges for the court system and could slow many processes for local residents if a strike is authorized, workers wouldn't walk off the job until early October.

The union considered a strike last year, but the county offered the rank and file a one-time bonus that kept them on the job. County leaders were not available for comment.


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