Union members attend meeting
The Lorain County commissioners looked out on a sea of red at their Oct. 11 meeting.
About 100 members of United Auto Workers Local 2192 piled into conference room B on the fourth floor of the Lorain County Administration Building, 226 Middle Ave. in Elyria, leading the commissioners to open up the back wall of the room.
The union is currently in a dispute with the commissioners over the contracts of about 160 of its members who work for Lorain County Job and Family Services. Those workers have been on strike since Sept. 25 after working without a contract for a year.
At the end of the brief meeting, during the public comment section, several members of the assembled stood up to speak their minds to the commissioners.
First up was Jerry Donovan, of Lorain, who asked Board President Lori Kokoski if the commissioners had reached out to the union to return to the bargaining table.
Kokoski replied by highlighting a recent resolution enacted by the commissioners limiting public comment to three minutes.
“One of the stipulations is ‘Public comment is not intended to be questions addressed to the board or other persons in attendance, comments.’,” she said drawing jeers from the crowd.
Kelly Fields, chairperson of the union, also took to the podium to comment on figures that were released Oct. 4 by the department that she believes were inaccurate.
She pointed out that the numbers released last week were examples of how the department is suffering while the contract dispute continues.
“You stated (in local media) as well as both the JFS and county government Facebook pages that everything is being taken care of,” she said. “Either someone is not being truthful on the inside or you’re not being truthful to the public.”
Speaking to The Morning Journal after the meeting, Kokoski said the commissioners do not lie.
“It’s difficult to take care of our clientele, but we’re doing the best that we can with the people remaining in the building,” she said. “We value these employees that are out on strike, and I hope we can get this resolved so they can come back and work.”
Lorain County Job and Family Service workers of UAW Local 2192 continue to walk the picket line over a contract dispute with Lorain County Commissioners, Oct. 11. The employees, who have been on strike since Sept. 25, have been without a contract since September 2016.