I read this post on the Lane County AFSCME Local 2831 Facebook page; I believe it is worth sharing with you my Local 2975 brothers and sisters so I asked permission to repost it here. Local 2831’s courage & determination to bargain a fair contract for all of their members is inspiring; seeing what it’s like to be on strike and the aftermath through their eyes has strengthened my resolve to always fight for the best contract possible. Our AFSCME family in Albany is currently in mediation and without a contract, and we ourselves are just over a grueling contract experience. Lane County AFSCME’s experience proves that we are indeed stronger together! ~ Sister Ruth Rose
November 7, 2018
Dear Brothers & Sisters of Lane County AFSCME Local 2831,
What a difference a year can make! It has been just over a year since we all went through one of the hardest times in our career. I do not know about you all, but I never thought I would ever see a strike.
The strike was hard, it effected many of us in different ways. I remember that night before the strike so well, we were waiting for a response from the County. We had called the media for a news release that we had settled with the County and then……the media showed up and was requesting a statement from AFSCME about the strike, that is how we first found out. I was crushed, how could this really be happening I thought for sure this news outlet had it wrong, but a phone call proved otherwise.
I have always tried to be a positive person and could not believe that all of this was happening, but I knew we would be alright. I was appalled at the actions of a group of people that seemed to be enjoying what was happening, staying hidden behind the scenes from the public’s view. The people that had the authority to end this had no interest in doing so it seemed, they refused to meet and didn’t bother coming to work.
The strike settled and we all returned to work, not the same, but united as a group and determined. It was so awesome to see all of you being supportive of one another and sticking together and trying to build each other up. There was an attempt to heal the organization by many managers some of them were and still are upset. Many did not understand the wounds that had been inflicted to many of us whether it be trust, respect, financial, or traumatized by words/actions. We said the fight would continue in 2018, and that we would have to beat them at the polls, we had heard that before, but this time it was different.
Several of our own members reported eating in a restaurant or being at an event right next to one of the commissioners who did not know they were. There were at least three reports of a commissioner eating in public talking with their friends unaware that a County employee was sitting right next to them listening. There was laughter and discussion about how they “crushed” the union in the strike, how the union left money on the table etc.
Well, on Tuesday night folks we responded to the commissioners responsible for allowing this to happen not only to us, but to our community. I have never been prouder of my union, in all the years I have been involved we have never had the help with an election that we had this year. Whether you were knocking on doors, text banking, or helping in any other way we showed up. Congratulations to all of you, and if you did not have the chance to help, please thank someone who did.
It is going to take time for things to improve, but they surely will. It is now time to heal and allow us to focus on moving forward, I really feel a sense of closure and I noticed many of you felt the same, this is where the healing begins.
We still have a lot of work to do but I could not be prouder to be doing it with all of you. Also, many of you may not know, but there were some awesome experts here helping from AFSCME. They have been here helping us this whole time and never left when we went back to work. I would like to thank Oregon AFSCME for all the help and direction in getting here.
And thank you all of you, for your courage and determination.