Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gerken gets rebuffed by judge in unionization issue

According to today's paper, Commissioner Pete Gerken wanted to meet 'face-to-face' with Judge Denise Navarre Cubbon over her decision to rescind recognition of the UAW in the unionization of Juvenile Court employees ... but he was rebuffed.

It's no wonder! In Judge Cubbon's press release yesterday, she wrote:

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.

So why in the world would the judge now want to meet with the same commissioner who went behind her back to negotiate with his former union and made promises he couldn't keep?

Interestingly, the paper mentions the projected cost of $2 million over three years but fails to include what I think is the most pertinent of facts: that Gerken, without the Court's authority or knowledge, met with the UAW and agreed to a wage demand.

Kudos to Judge Cubbon for looking out for her statutory responsibility and obligation to the functioning of court rather than catering to a local union. If the past is any indication, she will suffer greatly for daring to disagree with the union. The last time an elected official (former commissioner Harry Barlos) didn't cater to the UAW demands, Pete Gerken challenged him in the primary and ended up as a county commissioner after getting about $77,000 in campaign donations from the union. Hopefully, Cubbon will not suffer the same fate.

1 comment:

Tim Higgins said...


Judge Cubbon will no doubt eventually agree to meet with Commissioner Gerken. In the first place, keeping good relations with the people who control your budget is probably not a bad idea. In the second, doing this in private and away from the media may allow something other than political posturing (on Mr Gerken's part) to be accomplished.

Someone has to be the adult in this situation, and that role will undoubtedly be played by Judge Cubbon. Have no fear however, as the Judge in her present responsibilities, is used to dealing with juvenile behavior.

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