PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Almost two weeks after Yamhill County staff members launched a five-day strike over pay, the union has officially voted to ratify a new agreement with the county.
The Yamhill County Employees Association first hit the picket lines in McMinnville on Nov. 3. The association covers 400 workers from several departments, such as developmental disability services, public works, and behavioral health and public health clinics.
Union members alleged that wages were “well below market value”, and therefore failed to meet the rising cost of living in Yamhill County. YCEA president Michelle Mendoza also said some members were having to choose between the bills they’d pay each month.
The strike came to an end on Nov. 7, when employees reached a tentative agreement with the county. The terms of the new agreement were laid out by Oregon’s American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees on Thursday morning.
According to AFSCME, the contract highlights include cost-of-living adjustments, holiday pay, percentage-based longevity pay for staff who’ve been employed for 5 years instead of 10 years, and an increase in differential pay for bilingual staff.
“This agreement represents a significant victory for the Yamhill County Employee Association and underscores the power of unity among workers,” Oregon AFSCME Interim Executive Director Joe Baessler said in a statement. “By standing together, YCEA members have secured a fair and just contract that recognizes the value of their contributions.”
YCEA President Mendoza added that the agreement reflects the strength of the union and the solidarity of its employees. The leader said members will continue to fight for what they deserve in the future.