Siskiyou County Employees begin strike for equality

by Felisha Le’CherMonday, January 6th 2020

Organized Employees of Siskiyou County (OESC) went on strike early Monday morning to fight for their health benefits and fair wages.

Picketing began at the County Administrative Office on Fairlane Road and will continue Tuesday morning at the County Courthouse. The strike is expected to last five days.

The County and OESC held seven negotiation sessions between March 5 and June 20, 2019. On July 27, 2019, the parties submitted their dispute to mediation.

OESC’s President, Teresa Scott, who was at the protest Monday, said they’ve attempted to negotiate a fair contract for three units of the organized employees. “We failed to come to an agreement,” she said. “A neutral factfinder was brought in and OESC and the County presented their sides and the factfinder came back with a fair proposal.”

According to the November 8, 2019 factfinding report, the County’s objectives were to reduce salary and health insurance costs and The Union’s main goals were to increase salaries to a level that was more in line with the cost of living in California.

Scott said the Union was willing to accept the agreement, but the County was not. “The neutral factfinder report was fair,” said Scott. “The County would not agree to that, so that’s why we’re striking.”

Scott said they’re fighting for fair pay, health insurance, deferred compensation, and retirement. “Cost of living goes up, expenses go up, and we do a lot of hard work,” said Scott. “With minimum wage increasing, that’s taking some employees back to minimum wage.”