Union mem­bers at­tend meet­ing

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Keith Reynolds

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.”

ERIC BONZAR—THE MORN­ING JOURNAL

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.

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