Judge grants injunction over Children Services, strike halted

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Montgomery County Friday filed an injunction against the Professional Guild of Ohio in an effort to force workers to return to work.

A Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge granted the request Friday afternoon, ordering union members to end their strike, at least temporarily.

The County asked for 72-hours of relief from the strike, arguing the work stoppage will “cause irreparable harm to the community.”

7-19 Judge Order-1
Click this image to read the Judge’s order

More than 270 members of the Professional Guild of Ohio (PGO) went on strike at 6:30 a.m. Friday.

The strike came after union leadership failed to reach a deal on higher wages with the county. The final negotiation before the strike came Thursday with state mediators, but no deal was reached.

The county offered PGO employees a 3-percent wage increase. PGO leadership says the increase should be higher, citing a 6-percent raise for another union that represents nearly 800 county workers.

County officials say they will keep Children’s Services running during the strike.

Documents filed with the Court state as of June 2019, Children Services has provided support to 2,013 children and handled more than 1,500 cases.

More than 50 court hearings are now in limbo due to the strike, according to court documents.

The Montgomery County Administrator released a statement Friday:

STATEMENT FROM MONTGOMERY COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR
 
Our number one priority is to protect the families and children we serve. It is the mission of Children Services to protect children, strengthen families and individuals, and provide coordinated services for all residents of Montgomery County. Children Services currently serves more than 2,000 children and has over 1,500 active cases.
 
Children Services is not relieved of its obligation to protect children and families regardless of whether employees go on strike. Our operations must remain open and we must continue to provide services.
 
Union leadership made alarming comments leading up to the strike. For instance, union leadership had stated that employees would be instructed not to participate fully in court hearings, which would be detrimental to providing vital and mandated services. Therefore, we invoked a statutory process to enjoin the strike.
 
While we are confident in our contingency plan, the best solution will always be to have our dedicated caseworkers in place, who know these children and families best. We welcome our PGO members back to help us continue to serve children and families. Montgomery County looks forward to continuing to work together with PGO to reach an agreement, but not at the expense of children and families.
 
We anticipate a hearing with SERB on this matter in next 72 hours.
 
Sincerely,
 
Michael Colbert
Montgomery County Administrator

Both sides are expected to meet in Columbus on Sunday to hash out strike-related issues.

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