The Juvenile Court Administration has engaged in lengthy negotiations with the UAW, beginning in the fall of 2006. These negotiations addressed non-economic issues raised by the UAW.
Earlier this year, Commissioner Pete Gerken, without Juvenile Court’s authority or knowledge, agreed to a union demand involving wage compression, which would cost the County an estimated $2 million over the course of a 3-year contract with the UAW.
Since the Lucas County Commissioners slashed the Juvenile Court’s combined 2008 budget request by over $1,000,000.00 ($765,585 for additional personnel and salaries) the Court was concerned how this could possibly be financed.
Upon learning from the UAW of Commissioner Gerken’s agreement, Judge Cubbon requested a written explanation from the three commissioners confirming that there was such a commitment and outlining its details and how it would be funded so as to avoid future layoffs at Juvenile Court.
The commissioners never responded.
To date, it is the understanding of the Juvenile Court Administration that there never was an agreement involving all of the commissioners. It was baffling to read the “open letter” which states that there was such an agreement reached with the commissioners, and yet these same commissioners refused to document this agreement as requested by Judge Cubbon on numerous occasions.
Under Ohio law, Courts are exempt from mandatory collective bargaining. The Juvenile Court has not only allowed, but welcomed, the union to engage in collective bargaining. The Court acknowledges and appreciates the work and commitment of all Lucas County employees, and particularly the employees of Juvenile Court. To that end, Judge Cubbon will not sign a contract which can only be funded with future layoffs of Juvenile Court employees and programs cuts.
The Court’s first responsibility is to the families and children of Lucas County that it serves. It is crucial that the Court focus on this important work that each of us was elected, appointed or hired to do.
Denise Navarre Cubbon,
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I just received this email press release from Juvenile Court, clarifying some statements in the UAW advertisement regarding the unionization of the court employees. It appears as if the UAW did get some special consideration from at least one commissioner for the wage compression item they couldn't get from the judge: