Published: July 22, 2019

Linn County employees won big this month settling a new 3-year contract with raises in the 9 to 10% range.


Linn County employees this month settled a new contract with management, following a hard fought campaign that pushed members into unprecedented levels of action.

The bargaining was particularly challenging around core issues like the right to have a union. Management repeatedly tried to undermine their employees’ union by suggesting that we should give up our status as the Custodian of Record or revoke opt-in/opt-out membership rights. The County even hired an anti-union attorney who consults with employers on union avoidance strategies. SEIU members pushed back hard on these proposals, and moved them off the table.

Lisa Walker, the Sub-local President, worked tirelessly to build a team of leaders in worksites across the county, and she gathered signatures from 63% of the membership on a pro-union petition. She led the first public contract actions in recent memory. If you work in Linn County, there’s a good chance you’ve heard from Lisa recently.

Members of the bargaining team report that the confrontational campaign strengthened their Union. They’re excited about what the future holds for themselves, their families, and the members of the community they serve.

Contract Highlights Include:

  • 3.02% in 2019 and a projected 6.44% in 2020!
  • Maintained excellent healthcare with no concessions
  • Two new paid holidays, the day after Thanksgiving and Half Day of Christmas Eve
  • Improved language to allow members who are pregnant to access ‘Hardship Leave’. In the past, the County argued that pregnancies are not ‘very serious conditions’. Now there is a process to have this decision be decided by a doctor instead of management.
  • A pathway to paid NEOs and improved union access with House Bill 2016.