SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – Sangamon County Public Health workers say a strike is possible as contract negotiations with the county board continue.
SCPH leaders say employees “overwhelmingly” authorized their union bargaining committee to call a strike if a contract isn’t reached. Workers are planning an informational picket at Tuesday’s County Board meeting in Springfield.
The union is AFSCME Local 3738, which represents over 30 public health employees in the county. AFSCME said in a press release that the county board needs to “stop dragging their feet”.
Workers are arguing for a proposal they believe is important. They want sick time provisions so employees don’t spread diseases to patients.
“We primarily see women with newborns and other people who are at high risk of getting sick,” registered nurse Lindsey Sleade said. “They deserve the best care we can provide them, but it’s hard to do that when we’re forced to choose between coming to work sick or losing our job. If county board members truly care about our citizens, then they should stop trying to cut corners with the care we provide.”
Sangamon County Administrator Brian McFadden responded to a request for comment, telling WAND-TV the board isn’t intimidated by a possible strike. He said the county has a contingency plan for a strike if it happens and added that workers have a right to picket if they choose.
McFadden also pointed out that the county has successfully negotiated other contracts with unions in the last six months, including one with the Sangamon County Highway Department and its AFSCME representatives.
The Tuesday picket is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Sangamon County Complex, located at 200 S. 9th St. in Springfield.