STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Jackson County and public employees reach tentative agreement on new contract

Negotiations reached an impasse in January, with public employees later moving to strike. The arrival of COVID-19 changed that landscape dramatically.

Posted: Apr 6, 2020 6:25 PM
Updated: Apr 6, 2020 6:55 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Jackson County and the union for its public employees have reached a new contract agreement after months of dissent, according to SEIU Local 503.

Local 503 members voted over the weekend on a tentative contract with the County. Communications director Ben Morris said that union members voted “with overwhelming support” to ratify the contract. Local 503 has about 500 members.

According to Morris, coronavirus concerns spurred union members and the County to move from contract concerns to safety concerns for both public employees and for the County at large.

Contract negotiations between Jackson County and Local 503 reached an impasse at the end of January after the two sides could not agree on a fair contract. For workers, the sticking point came down to healthcare coverage — union members supported joining the statewide Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB), which the County opposed.

At the beginning of March, Local 503 members voted to strike — but the arrival of COVID-19 in Jackson County and the resulting public health response put a pause on those plans. The union instead lobbied Jackson County, which relies on public employees for the coronavirus response, to enter binding arbitration in order to reach a speedy end to the dispute.

“Our union has been in negotiations for over a year,” said Angela Cruthirds, a member of the employee’s bargaining team, in a March 24 statement. “We have been working for more than seven months without a contract and with no security about the future of our healthcare plans. Many county employees are still unable to afford basic healthcare and there is a real concern around how a significant outbreak among employees would impact services.”

Morris says that County worker health care and pay raises were key to ratification of the contract this week. He says the new agreement asks for 7.5 to 11 percent wage increases, which adjust depending on the County’s cost-of-living scale during the contract term through 2021. The pending contract includes a 3.5 percent wage increase immediately.

The new plan has lower cost and richer benefits as negotiated with the County, according to Morris.

Bargaining teams from both sides reached the tentative agreement on Friday ahead of a weekend vote by the union, Morris said. With union support, the agreement now awaits final approval by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

The union says the contract is not retroactive to the seven months Jackson County union staff members worked without a contract.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 177134

Reported Deaths: 2467
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35310570
Washington23704229
Marion20393299
Clackamas15557204
Lane11802144
Jackson10077129
Umatilla800083
Deschutes731272
Linn422263
Yamhill413675
Klamath357159
Polk348452
Malheur343358
Josephine310062
Douglas306566
Benton277719
Jefferson207732
Coos198631
Columbia156126
Union141824
Lincoln130520
Wasco130428
Hood River113529
Morrow108415
Clatsop9078
Crook89519
Baker86714
Curry6049
Tillamook5883
Grant4304
Lake4177
Harney3156
Wallowa1585
Gilliam571
Sherman571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3725088

Reported Deaths: 61193
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122999823702
Riverside2976314547
San Bernardino2951314569
San Diego2756313681
Orange2692584902
Santa Clara1173792019
Kern1080611333
Sacramento1017871651
Fresno1007681650
Alameda856521477
Ventura803601002
San Joaquin717351334
Contra Costa67157782
Stanislaus606491035
Tulare49443831
Monterey43301364
San Mateo41251560
San Francisco36117529
Santa Barbara33926445
Solano32086243
Merced31289453
Sonoma29734312
Imperial28024719
Kings22781245
Placer21957283
San Luis Obispo20991257
Madera16301240
Santa Cruz15719204
Marin13868227
Yolo13581200
Shasta11747219
Butte11619196
El Dorado9797109
Napa971579
Sutter9299109
Yuba612744
San Benito598863
Lassen567924
Tehama544556
Nevada448975
Tuolumne408664
Mendocino399647
Humboldt365938
Amador363146
Lake341843
Glenn235925
Colusa220416
Calaveras206252
Siskiyou196521
Inyo141838
Del Norte12907
Mono12744
Plumas6936
Modoc4904
Mariposa4297
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned470
Medford
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 72°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 62°
Medford
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 72°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 72°
Klamath Falls
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 62°
Turning cooler and wetter this weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Wednesday, April 21st Evening Weather

Image

Wednesday, April 21 afternoon weather

Image

Tuesday, April 20th Evening Weather

Image

Tuesday, April 20 Morning Weather

Image

Monday, April 19th Evening Weather

Image

Sunday, April 18th Overnight Weather

Image

Raiders sweep No. 23 College of Idaho, extend win streak to 13

Image

Saturday, April 17 evening weather

Image

Saturday, April 17 morning weather

Image

New Southern Oregon Speedway promotors in dash to prepare track