I am SO proud of the members who filled the room today!

I’m proud of my husband for sharing our story and Ruth for telling hers.

I’d like to clarify some of the points made in this article.

AFSCME union member’s “pattern” of leaving after comments is for a few reasons.
1. Most of these employees start their day at 7am and had worked a 10+ hour day… and labor for that time. At this point some hadn’t been home in over 13 hours with work just around the corner again at 7am.
2. Some had kids home waiting for them.
3. The photo left out the packed other side of the room and standing citizens who also had business with the council. The few who left for this reason did so to make way for them to have their time as well
4. As stated the council obviously had nothing to say on the matter.

The city council all sat with polite, politician smiles and muttered thank yous after AFSCME members as well as Corvallis citizens spoke in favor of the union keeping insurance. No questions. No clarification. No words of encouragement. The people who represent these same citizens sat silent. Disappointing to say the least.

Along with them sat Mark Shepard, Corvallis City Manager, who approved the hiring of a special intrest lawyer at a rate of $320 an hour for the better part of a year. I wonder at the end of this if the lawyer made most of what the stipend costs? We do have an HR manager who’s job it is to handle negotiations, and is compensated extremely well for it. Mr Shepard sat silent as he listened to testimony, even looking at the ceiling as my husband spoke of Holding my hand in the ICU and how NO ONE should ever have costs on their mind in that moment. He gave no explanation or reasoning why he took this stance against the stipend and city employees.

I have been present for the city council meetings attended by AFSCME and the pattern of city council is to sit quietly and not ONCE make a comment or give an opinion. It’s disappointing and shameful. Even if the opinion goes the other direction HAVE ONE. say something instead of sitting there thinking about how to avoid this. This is the same council who has had no problem approving inflated upper management salaries.

STAND STRONG AFSCME!

Corvallis wants the best! Do we retain the best by not taking care of our employees? Employees who LOVE this city? Do we create less risk by having unhealthy employees? No. Improve productivity? No. Sick workers are hurt more on the job and make more mistakes. Does it REALLY save money to cut healthcare?? What message does that send to the businesses in the area? What example does our city management want to send it’s citizens in how it values the people who work so hard to make Corvallis happen?

Union members have heard comments on “why now”. Why speak now? Well that’s easy… the ground rules put forth for negotiations kept them quiet.

As citizens we set the standard for the community we live in… and the council is OUR representation. Urge your council Members to push management to close this contract. Stop paying a special interest attorney tax payer dollars just to avoid fair wages and shared health care costs.

Kris Lopez

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