Published: September 17, 2021

By Lauren Bishop of the Daily Courier

After COVID-19 upended the world, one Josephine County man was fired from his job after staying home to help his children get through school. Then his union got involved and got him his job back.

David Astry, president of the local chapter of SEIU 503, the state’s largest labor union, has been the county’s truck and heavy equipment mechanic since 2014, and is the most senior mechanic in the public works department.

But after he exhausted his family leave during the COVID-19 pandemic to stay home with his teenage children during their school year, the county declined Astry’s request to use the rest of his paid time off to stay home. When he did not return, the county fired him.

After arbitration was completed in early June, Astry was reinstated and given back his entire bank of paid time off.

“There were times I was really mad at the county and how I was treated. But since being back to work, it’s going good,” Astry said.

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