16 Mineral County, Montana Sheriff’s employees are now entering their fifth day of strikes– demanding an increase in pay.
They began striking at 8am Monday morning and spoke to county commissioners during their weekly meeting on Thursday.
AJ Allard, a Mineral County Sheriff’s Deputy, said at the meeting: “The whole point of us going on strike is to make you guys understand, we are done messing around. We want to get to the table, we wanna negotiate, we wanna get back to work, and we wanna get back to doing the jobs that we swore to do”.
Concerned residents also spoke out at the meeting saying it was an ’embarrassment’ that the commissioners make twice as much as the deputies. “… a shame when you say there’s no money in the purse, but you have no problem paying yourself twice as much of not even what they’re asking,” resident Scott Guntle said.
According to local media reports, the county proposed a 50-cent increase for workers who make more than $10-per-hour, and a 70-cent raise for those who make less than $10-per-hour. With those numbers, it would cost them an extra $16,000 a year.
The union is asking the county to spend a little over $100,000 a year, KPAX reported, but county commissioners say they simply don’t have the extra money.
“I’m not able to make these numbers up to what I think they should be. This is weighing heavy on me. I don’t know why people think I don’t care but I do. I just don’t know how to make all this work,” Commissioner Roman Zylawy said.
Both sides have agreed to re-enter another round of negotiations, but the commission says they’re still “very far apart” on terns and will need to get the green light from the state before continuing with the negotiations.
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