July 25, 2014

Elyria
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Organized labor criticizes county for its union dealings

AFL-CIO and UAW Union members and supporters walk in solidarity to the Lorain County Administration Building for the Lorain County Commissioners meeting on Wednesday.  STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

AFL-CIO and UAW Union members and supporters walk in solidarity to the Lorain County Administration Building for the Lorain County Commissioners meeting on Wednesday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — Organized labor leaders on Wednesday criticized Lorain County commissioners and county Administrator Jim Cordes for how they deal with unions.

The biggest complaint was about the county’s ongoing use of the law firm Clemons Nelson, a Dublin, Ohio-based firm that handles contract negotiations and human resources issues for the county.

Joe Thayer, one of the labor leaders, said he thinks the amount of money the county has paid out to Clemons Nelson recently, which he estimated at around $350,000, was too high.

“$350,000 is a lot of money to go to a company that specializes in union busting,” he said.

Thayer suggested that the money would be better spent hiring local attorneys or even additional assistant county prosecutors to handle the issues the county now pays Clemons Nelson to deal with.

But Commissioner Lori Kokoski said that Clemons Nelson has been handling the work for the county for years and losing their institutional knowledge could hurt the county. She also said that using a firm from outside Lorain County avoids politicizing negotiations.

“It’s taking the politics out of it,” she said.

Organizers, including Lorain County AFL-CIO President Harry Williamson, said they were especially concerned about how the county is negotiating a new contract with the United Autoworkers local representing county Department of Job and Family Services employees.

Among the complaints, labor leaders said, is that some supervisors have gone into bathrooms to check on workers if the supervisor feels the worker has been gone too long.

But the commissioners said Cordes addressed that issue last week after labor leaders brought it up at another meeting.

Cordes said after the meeting that the county and UAW are in the fact-finding phase of the negotiations but, because of their confidential nature, he couldn’t discuss specifics.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-714 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.

  • GreatRedeemer

    Just how long are these bathroom breaks that a supervisor would take notice.

    • county_elector

      Does your supervisor enter the bathroom and look under the stall door to
      make sure your pants are really down, and you are really using the
      facility?

      • Pablo Jones

        When doing your business just take off your closes and hang them on the door. Then they won’t have to look under your stall. Maybe also provide a stool and urine sample.

    • therest_ofthestory

      One went after a woman after she was gone 4 minutes.

  • Mark B

    Awe Poor Union Workers ….These out of state lawyers are preventing us from getting our good ole boy sweet heart deals , you need to stop useing them ..That just too bad . Ifeel so bad for them .. HAHAHAHAH

    • Bob Sweatt

      That’s the same thing I was going to say.

  • Pablo Jones

    I’m not a bathroom cop, but I am observant. It is sad how many people don’t wash their hands after using the restroom. At one job I noticed a person would use the restroom toilet seat would go down and there would be the associative smells. But if you looked in there afterwards the sink was bone dry. Or in the larger restrooms you see people do their business and walk right out. It’s enough to make any sane person become a germaphobe.

  • Rosa Garcia-Gee

    When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist.
    When they locked up the socialists, I remained silent; I was not a socialist.
    When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist.
    When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I wasn’t a Jew.
    When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
    ~Pastor Martin Niemöller ……………………. Yes Joe & I both stand strong in our support of all Our Union Brothers & Sisters. By showing Solidarity I truly believe that Our County Commissioners will have to work hard to correct the problem. I personally have faith and trust that County Commissioner Ted Kalo will get to the bottom of this issue. In the mean time …. a strong union presence is needed .

    • stillsleepyeyes

      whatever……………..

      • oldruss

        It is reprehensible that anyone could possibly equate the plight of our union brothers and sisters with the genocide of 6,000,000 Jews during the Holocaust, as well as some 3,000,000 others who had disabilties or were homosexuals or were Gypsies and were deemed by the Third Reich as sub-human and therefore were disposable.

    • Larry Crnobrnja

      Uh, does that mean you also support communism?

      • Rosa Garcia-Gee

        ???????

        • Larry Crnobrnja

          Did you bother to read what you posted?

          • Rosa Garcia-Gee

            yes I did it is a famous quote from Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor.

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            Correct, but why did you respond to my “communism” question the way you did? And like oldruss stated, it is reprehensible, your analogy.

  • stop ur whining

    I hate unions. they are way too powerful. Because of unions employers have to hire, and provide automatic pay raises to under qualified individuals. At their inception, they were needed as worker conditions were deplorable but now the power has swung too far the other way. Now unions provide cushy environments that foster laziness and give large salaries to those that do not deserve them. Automatic pay raises, disciplinary hearings so you can screw up and still keep your job. its ridiculous. LISTEN, IF YOU WANT MORE MONEY, GO GET EDUCATED AND EARN IT instead of forcing company to just keep you earnin for nothin.

    I also love the union reps quote, “$350,000 is alot of money to a company that specializes in union busting” yea, lets take a non-educated persons take on what is too much money to spend at a law firm. Never mind that that a) isnt alot of money at a firm such as this, and b) they do alot of other work besides busting unions. In this case however, i hope they come thru elyria and lorain and stick it to the unions before they suck up what little cash the two cities have.

    “$350,000
    is a lot of money to go to a company that specializes in union
    busting,” – See more at:
    http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2013/10/17/organized-labor-criticizes-county-for-its-union-dealings/#sthash.PZbkdeHJ.dpuf
    “$350,000
    is a lot of money to go to a company that specializes in union
    busting,” – See more at:
    http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2013/10/17/organized-labor-criticizes-county-for-its-union-dealings/#sthash.PZbkdeHJ.dpuf
    “$350,000
    is a lot of money to go to a company that specializes in union
    busting,” – See more at:
    http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2013/10/17/organized-labor-criticizes-county-for-its-union-dealings/#sthash.PZbkdeHJ.dpuf

  • stillsleepyeyes

    Hmm ………..so how’s that solidarity working out for all those union brothers that are about to lose their jobs at BFI………………

  • therest_ofthestory

    Have you talked to any of the workers at Jobs and Family Services? When they tell about dealing with clients who come in and have brought bed bugs, lice, MERSA, C dif, etc., do you think that is just something they have to put up with?

    • stillsleepyeyes

      nope they don’t……………………..they could always find another job………….i’m sure the union will help with that……………