Published: February 21, 2020

Strike Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are we in the process? 

After seven months of negotiations, management has still not agreed to a fair wage increase and guarantees around an affordable healthcare plan. Following the latest negotiations, your bargaining team called on membership to vote to authorize a strike. That vote concluded on Monday, March 2, with membership voting overwhelmingly to strike.

What are the key proposals that the bargaining team and management disagree about? 

For more details on these positions, and how we arrived at them, please see the latest update from the Jackson County Employee Association’s bargaining team


  • Union Proposal: Maintain our current healthcare plan, but increase the County’s monthly contributions to $1,718 in this year. Give the County the option of saving $3.5 million during the term of our contract by switching to PEBB for our health insurance. (**See note below.)
  • Management’s final offer: Move employees into management’s healthcare plan without any guarantees on the monthly cost or plan design. (We’d pay about $50 per month, but that amount could change at any time.)

**Our team is willing to entertain the management insurance plan if they add a guarantee that the cost and plan design will not change for the life of the contract. If members authorize a strike this is likely where we’d end up unless members tell us to go in a different direction.


  • Union Proposal: 3.75% COLA, retro to July 1, 2019.
  • Management: 3.5% COLA, not retroactive, effective on the first pay period after ratification.

Salary Study

  • Union proposal: Salary study is to be completed by June 30, 2021. Includes reopener to negotiate new salary rates for classifications 10% or more under market, and includes Lane County as one of the comparators
  • Management: Completed by December 31, 2021. Doesn’t include reopener. Doesn’t include any Counties close in population to Jackson County.

Internal Bidding
Our ability to bid into a position before it is posted publicly.

  • Union proposal: Maintain language about internal bidding on vacant positions.
  • Management: Eliminate internal bidding.

Why has the county filed an unfair labor practice against the bargaining team? 

Last month the county filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint against the Jackson County Employee Association’s bargaining team and SEIU Local 503. The complaint alleges that our final proposal, which includes language allowing management to switch to the PEBB deal, is not within the bounds of bargaining. 

The complaint is likely aimed at limiting our ability to strike. It is not however an admission that striking will result in management choosing to move into PEBB. As the bargaining team said in their latest update, “We don’t believe a strike would change their position [on PEBB].” 

In the event of a strike, what are my rights and responsibilities? 

Please see the SEIU 503 strike FAQ for a more detailed view. Contact Venessa Herriott with questions.

When workers go on strike, they are exercising a legal right. You cannot be disciplined for going on strike, and you will not lose your health insurance. Although the law allows an employer to permanently replace striking workers, it has not happened in previous public sector strikes and we would not return to work without protecting all workers as part of the strike settlement.

It is common for management to try to intimidate employees in these situations by asking them to clean out their desks before they go on strike, or threatening to stop payments for health insurance. These are scare tactics designed to avoid a strike, because management knows that strikes often force them to make concessions.