Lane County strike continues as labor negotiations resume

Lane County employees represented by AFSCME returned to the picket lines Thursday after going on strike Wednesday morning. The county and union return to the negotiating table on Friday. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. - In continuing coverage of the Lane County Strike, the AFSCME Local 2831 Union hosted a rally in downtown Eugene on Friday to support the continued negotiations between Lane County and the Union.

Negotiations started again on Friday morning after a pause from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday.

More than 100 people appeared in support of the Union on Friday, picketing up and down sidewalks through downtown. Speakers lead chants and a march around the Lane County Public Service Building.

As far as the negotiations go, there is not much to tell as to how the latest rounds of talks is going between the Lane County Managers and AFSCME.

Close to 550 AFSCME members are still on the picket lines, as bargaining teams started talks again at 9:00 on Friday morning with a mediator.

Both sides are still more than $20 million apart on their contract proposals, and county managers say the number of union members deciding to go back to work reached 140 by Friday afternoon.

"It's a widespread and diverse group that has chosen to return to work, and we're welcoming them when they do make that choice," said Devon Ashbridge, spokesperson for Lane County.

Ashbridge wouldn't say how long the bargaining teams are committed to keep working, and she also wouldn't confirm how long the talks would go on Friday, or if they'll go into the weekend.

Officials say that if the strike does continue into next week, there will be a hardship fund set up to help the strikers' families.

Officials used the closed Riverstone County Health Clinic in Springfield as a backdrop on Friday, but that with employees returning, Riverstone will reopen on Monday and run on schedule.

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