Published: January 18, 2022

MCEA Bargaining Update

After a marathon bargaining session on Friday, January 14, we are happy to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with the County to resolve the Unfair Labor Practice charge we brought because the County unilaterally made us return to work without bargaining.

As you might know, the Oregon State Employment Relations Board recently found that the County had violated the law by forcing people back to the office last summer in the midst of the COVID-19 Delta surge and refusing to bargain with our union over health and safety.

This tentative agreement, while not perfect, helps to right that wrong in a few different ways:

  • Any current employee who was required to return to the office by July 29, 2021 and who had to use leave or take unpaid leave due to health concerns or unusual hardship will have that leave time returned to them or be paid if they had to take leave without pay.
  • MCEA workers can now request to telecommute, and the County cannot arbitrarily deny us those requests. If they do deny us, we have the right to ask for a written explanation for the denial.
  • We won a contractual guarantee that the County has to notify employees of potential COVID-19 exposures in the workplace and reduce the number of people in County facilities by allowing telecommuting where viable.

We are also working to win an agreement with the County that defines when people are eligible to take the additional COVID-19 Leave passed by the Board of Commissioners last September.

We could not have won this agreement without the strength that comes from MCEA members standing strong together. As with all letters of agreement, we will have to bargain to get them included in the our union contract.

As we prepare to negotiate our union contract, the County needs to see that employees are united and ready to stand together to improve our wages and working conditions, and to keep each other safe. This means having people in every building and work location who are willing to keep their coworkers up to date with the latest news from our union. It also means the County needs to see people standing up and becoming members of our union. If you are interested in helping to spread the word about bargaining in your work area, contact our union organizer, Toby Green.