(CN) – An Oregon county improperly retaliated against mental health workers who went on strike by outsourcing their jobs after the strike ended, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled.
The local chapter of AFSCME Council 75 accused Josephine County of unfair labor practices after a strike in which its members played a prominent role.
An administrative law judge ruled in the union’s favor. The Employment Relations Board upheld the ruling and ordered the county to stop transferring mental health services to other organizations.
The board also ordered the county to reinstate transferred employees, and to reimburse the union and employees for lost wages, dues and payments.
Judge David Schuman upheld the ruling on appeal, citing a quote from a county mental health official to a union member: “The contract with Options (an outside organization) would not have been made if AFSCME had not gone on strike.”
Schuman said the board correctly ruled that the county improperly deprived the union of their work opportunities.
“The county paid Options to provide the exact same services that the county once provided. Former county employees were hired to perform the same jobs. No ‘closure’ has occurred. [The board] acted within its discretion in ordering reinstatement as a remedy for the county’s unfair labor practice,” he wrote.