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Clallam rescinds layoffs

by AMANDA WINTERS
Sequim Gazette

Layoff notices issued to 16 county employees were rescinded Tuesday after the Teamsters union agreed to concessions.

Commissioners rescinded the layoffs and the reduction of employees’ weekly hours that were enacted last week after a late-night vote changed everything.

Commissioner Mike Chapman said more than 100 members of the Teamsters union voted Monday night to forego their 2012 cost of living adjustment and take 16 unpaid furlough days.

The county started bargaining with unions in September in an effort to close a $2.4 million budget gap.

“I think they should be applauded,” Chapman said, thanking the Teamsters’ leadership.

Commissioner Mike Doherty said the layoffs, which were in addition to 19 layoffs already made this fall, would have negatively impacted the local economy through loss of business and lower school enrollment among other things.

“People would’ve lost their homes,” he said.

The county has eliminated 39 positions and cut 19 more in half in the past three years, County Administrator Jim Jones said.

Chapman said all county unions but one have tentatively agreed to concessions and a formal agreement is likely to come before the board next week.

The 16 unpaid furlough days will be implemented by closing the courthouse for a day at a time throughout the year, he said. The closure will not impact the Sheriff’s Office.

“Up until last night there was some difficulty, but they voted and I’m very appreciative,” Chapman said, later adding, “Today is a very, very bright day for our community moving forward.”

Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequimgazette.com.

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