Eugene (KMTR) - Lane County has submitted a final offer to more than unionized 60 nurses in hopes of settling a nine-month battle over health benefits.
The nurses affected work in the county jail and in community health clinics.
Until now, they have had better health plans but lower wages to compensate. The county wants to bring all of its workers into one health plan. But the nurses feel that, if they are going to give up some of their health benefits to equal other county employees, they should have a pay incentive to do so. The county is not willing to increase their pay.
County spokeswoman Amber Fossen said, “Ultimately, we are trained to manage our rising health care costs, and those increase about 10% annually. By moving our employees to one of the two health care plans that are being provided, it will allow the county to save approximately $2 million each year.”
About a thousand of the 1,400 county employees have switched without conflict.
The final offer given to the nurses does include a 1% wage increase for year 2013, a one-day furlough, and a choice of a co-pay health plan or an HSA plan. The nurses’ union has indicated a possible strike in early January.