Union wins back jobs of illegally fired members

Action by AFSCME Ohio Council 8 won back the jobs and pay owed 13 illegally fired Willoughby Hills employees caught in the cross-fire between the northern Ohio city’s feuding Mayor and City Council.

The 13 workers were fired after the city’s Mayor angered a majority of city council members by recognizing the union and including certain positions in the bargaining unit. 

Because of their ongoing irritation over this issue, the same Council members attempted to reject the tentative agreement reached between Ohio Council 8 and the Mayor.  However, by not objecting within the 30-day window period required by the State Employment Relations Board (SERB), the agreement became the new union’s first contract.

City Council then attempted to overrule the Mayor and hired outside counsel to demand that the union re-open the contract and negotiate over wages and the disputed positions. While the union agreed to discuss the Council’s concerns, it steadfastly refused to reopen the contract.

City Council’s next move, without notice or an opportunity to bargain, was to lay off virtually all of AFSCME’s bargaining unit employees claiming the City lacked funds to retain the jobs.  However, no other non-AFSCME city personnel were targeted for layoff.

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 promptly filed an unfair labor practice charge with SERB to demand the return of its fired members.   

Effectively argued before the full SERB board by Ohio Council 8 Associate Counsel Michelle Evans, the board found that no budgetary constraints required the layoffs and the City Council’s action was a pre-text to eliminate the union and its supporters.

The board ordered the reinstatement of the workers with back pay from their April 30, 2018 layoff date, which could cost the city an estimated $250,000 to $300,000.

6800 North High Street, Worthington, Ohio, 43085-2512
Phone: 614-841-1918
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