Mineral County Mayor Handles 911 Calls During Strike
Tomorrow, June 2, Mineral County Commissioners will meet, but the union contract negotiations that have led to a strike by Sheriff’s Deputies, 911 dispatchers and detention officers aren’t even on the agenda.
The strike began on Monday, but Teamsters Local 2 Representative Shawn Fontaine said the commissioners have been unresponsive. During the strike, the Sheriff and Undersheriff have been left to patrol the whole county.
"Two people are patrolling all of Mineral County right now. Then Roni [Phillips], who is actually the mayor of Superior, she also works for the county, is doing just that," Fontaine said. "There's a couple of former employees that have come back to help cover calls."
Fontaine said if they wanted to, the commissioners could use the courts to force deputies back to work, but that they haven’t responded at all. During tomorrow’s meeting, the Teamsters are hoping to get the public to go before the county commissioners on their behalf.
"We're not going to cross the line and go into the commissioner's meeting because we are still actively picketing, so that's why we're asking people from the community to step up and go in during the public comment period and let the commissioners know what they feel about this," Fontaine said.
Fontaine said the deputies were concerned and had “long discussions about public safety” before the strike began. The most current contract ended last July and those on strike are pushing for increased wages, benefits, and a longer-term contract.