ELYRIA TWP. — Striking Lorain County Department of Job and Family Services workers approved a new contract Wednesday that will see them return to work today.
Members of United Auto Workers Local 2192 walked off the job Monday morning following months of back-and-forth negotiations with the county commissioners, who also approved the contract Wednesday. Among their reported demands were increased pay and additional time off.
Bargaining Committee Chairwoman Kelly Fields said in the end the union agreed to increases of 4 percent in pay during the first year of the contract, 2 percent increases the second year and 1.75 percent increases in the third year.
According to figures released by commissioners earlier this week, the county had sought to give workers a 3 percent raise the first year, with increases of 2.5 percent in the second year and 2.25 percent in the third year of the contract.
The union had been seeking a 4.78 percent increase the first year, according to information released by the commissioners. The final contract did not give additional sick and vacation time or the paid breaks and lunches the union had sought.
Fields said 98 percent of the union membership voted in favor of the contract. County Administrator Jim Cordes said the vote was 150 in favor of the contract with three people voting against it.
“The whole dispute was resolved, and it is the union’s opinion, based on the discussion we had with the agency and the county commissioners, representing our members, we will return to work,” Fields said. “The contract will provide the dignified workplace we sought.”
Union members have appeared at the commissioners’ meetings in recent weeks to complain about issues at the agency, including upgraded security measures and allegations that management was timing employees’ trips to the bathroom.
Cordes said negotiations with the union went late into the night Tuesday.
“We’re just glad we were able to reach a resolution and all get back to work and move forward,” he said.
Fields said she and other negotiators appreciated the support of their members, other unions and members of the public who supported them on the picket line outside Job and Family Services’ North Ridge Road facility.
County officials have said the agency continued to operate during the strike with management and other workers doing to the work.