Arbitrator Rules In County’s Favor

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MEDFORD, Ore. — The bargaining efforts between Jackson County and Sheriff’s employees are over.

The Sheriff’s Office confirmed that an arbitrator ruled in favor of the county earlier today and that may help prevent dozens of layoffs at the Sheriff’s Office. A Jackson County Commissioner says the decision means the 66 employees who received pink slips last month will keep their jobs.

In the negotiations, the Employees Union had sought retroactive pay increases for the last two years. The county said if that were to happen, the Sheriff’s Office would be over budget, and would be forced to lay off 66 employees across the board.

Those employees received their pink slips from Sheriff Mike Winters in early February. About half a million dollars will be headed the Association’s way.

“The good news is 66 people, men and women, still have a job and so we’ll be able to rescind those lay off notices. That’s the best news possible. 66 families still have another wage earner in the family,” said Jackson County Commissioner Don Skundrick.

County Administrator Danny Jordan said a lack of federal funding, combined with increased PERS costs, would make it impossible to pay all those increased salaries. The county had proposed no retroactive pay increases for the last two years, and modest increases for 2013, which is what the arbitrator ultimately decided on. The decision is only good through the end of the fiscal year, which ends at the end of June.