Courthouse employees and sheriff’s department clerks in Yellowstone County have voted to authorize a strike, the latest step in a six-month labor dispute between the clerks union and county officials.
“At the time of our members’ choosing, we are now authorized to strike,” Yellowstone County Employees President Katie Cosby said in a statement. “We want nothing more than to keep doing important work for Yellowstone County’s residents, taxpayers, and voters.”
The two sides will meet in mediation on Wednesday and if they fail to come to an agreement union members would begin their strike on Jan. 23. Should employees choose to strike, work at the county courthouse would continue — as required by state statute — but it would slow down dramatically.
In November, the state’s Board of Personnel Appeals found that Yellowstone County had committed an unfair labor practice as the two sides were ramping up last year for contract negotiations.
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The county and the union have been negotiating a new deal since last spring and roughly 130 Yellowstone County Courthouse employees have worked since July 1 without a contract. Courthouse employees, which includes sheriff’s department clerks, are represented