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As Some Workers Return From Picket Lines, Lane County Shuffles To Restore Services

Brian Bull

Lane County officials say as of today, about 150 of nearly 700 striking workers have gone back to their jobs…enabling some services to start up again.  

Spokeswoman Devon Ashbridge says Behavioral Health and Veterans Services are back to normal business hours.  And the Methadone Treatment Program Group Therapy resumed today.  Ashbridge says Lane County’s trying to be creative in placing these workers.  

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Lane County Spokeswoman Devon Ashbridge.

“So we’re trying to look at where we’re at with staff who are returning, what may be “secret skills” we have of employees who in a previous life, may have worked in a different division or department, and could be useful there again so we can bolster those services,” she told reporters at a press conference. 

Meanwhile, AFSCME President LaRece Rivera says they’ll welcome anyone back to the picket lines.  She says AFSCME has a “hardship” fund to help cover a striking worker’s lost wages while negotiations continue. 

Talks have gone on since May between the county and two bargaining units on this latest contract.  The latest session ended at an impasse Sunday.  Parties plan to have another session Wednesday.

Copyright 2017, KLCC. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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