Strike at Children’s Services Enters Second Week

Striking members of the Professionals Guild of Ohio turned out at Franklin County Commission meeting today. But, the group the left without addressing the commission about a labor dispute at Children’s Services.

Although union leaders had a proposal in hand asking county commissioners to help resolve contract talks between the union and Franklin County Children’s Services, they failed to file a required speaker’s slip. So nothing was said. But, Commission president Mary Jo Kilroy urged a resumption of talks between the two sides.

513 union members went on strike one week ago. The main sticking point is the agency’s proposal to make caseworkers and other members of the Professionals Guild of Ohio pay health care premiums in 2006. Union members say that’s tantamount to a wage cut since they’ve sacrificed wage increases in the past for health care coverage.

After five days on the picket line, Union negotiator Jill Bradfield says 22 of the 513 strikers have returned to work. Most others….like Lisa Post remain on the picket line.

Julie Sliemers is also spending time picketing this week. She’s a single mom with four children.

Children’s Services Executive Director John Saros says the agency has experienced a more than 100 percent increase in health care costs and workers will have to pick up some of the costs. Commissioner Kilroy says the bargaining table…not the picket line…is the “appropriate forum to resolve the dispute.

Union negotiator Jill Bradfield says picketers are now out around the clock, some members have taken other temporary jobs and she described the membership as stong in its resolve.