US Supreme Court Could Effect Non-Union Teachers; Recycler Program To Reeducate; Cold Weather Shelter Gets a Rest

Supreme Court Could Effect Non-Union Teachers

Oregon teachers and other public employees are watching as a case with big implications for unions is heard in the U-S Supreme Court. Janus versus AFSCME could decide the fate of so-called “fair-share” fees in public-employee unions, paid by non-union members for the union representing them in collective bargaining. If justices side with Illinois employee Mark Janus, non-union members won’t have to pay those fees – but still will receive representation. It could mean a major hit to union revenue. But Oregon Education Association president John Larson doesn’t think the prospects are grim for his union. He says O-E-A is always reflecting on how to work for its members.

“We’re constantly looking at conditions in our schools and trying to determine how we can positively impact the learning conditions of students, which are the working conditions of our members. And so, we believe that that is an important aspect of union membership, whether Janus is there or not.”

Supporters of Janus say he shouldn’t have to pay fair-share fees on First Amendment grounds. Twenty-eight states are known as “right to work,” meaning people who are covered under public-employee contracts don’t have to pay the fair-share fee for representation. Oregon is not among them – although that could end if the justices side with Janus.  In a similar 2016 case, justices ended in a four-to-four deadlock over the fate of fair-share fees.

Master Recycler Program

With the recent changes that have been taking place with how we recycle, Lane County Waste Management Division is offering a class that provides comprehensive training on local solid waste issues.  Kathy Bell is the Master Recycler Coordinator for Lane County and she says that due to recent disruptions in the global recycling market and a growing awareness of the necessity to keep things from going into landfills, this is a great time to learn how to improve our recycling practices.  This education will also help our local recyclers to be able to properly dispose of curbside items once the public is educated as to what can actually be recycled.  The classes will take place in Eugene from April 3rd until May 29th.  applications for the program can be found at  This program is offered free of charge.

Emergency Shelter Workers Get Rest

Temperatures are not expected to dip below freezing and this will provide a much needed break for caretakers that have been operating the Emergency Cold Weather Shelter here in Florence.  The shelter has been operating 7 of the last 10 days and has provided services for the Florence homeless population provide them warm shelter and a meal.  Greg Wood who has been coordinating the effort says that while it can be a stressful situation for all, they have been happy to be able to provide the safe surroundings for their guests.  Temperatures may get close to reaching freezing again by the weekend which may prompt another opening for the shelter.