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Montgomery County Children Services PGO Union Back On Strike

Montgomery County union Children Services workers on strike, September 23, 2019.
Jerry Kenney
Montgomery County union Children Services workers on strike, September 23, 2019.

Montgomery County Children Services workers are again on the picket line after contract negotiations came to a halt last week. Talks broke off  between negotiators for the county and the Professionals Guild of Ohio union over wage issues.  

Union workers voted down a 5 percent wage increase, or a lump sum payout for some workers, because, Local PGO President Jane Hay says,  they would also like to see increases in the top level of pay that workers are allowed to make.

“This is the third year of our contract and what is open to negotiate is wages and wage scales, so we are trying to negotiate both of those things,” she says. “The county had already given the other union under the County Commissioners a 6-percent raise, so that's fair. You should give your other [union] the same. You should have all the same.”

That other union Hay mentioned is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees representing public service workers.

But Montgomery County officials say to compare the two unions is to compare apples and oranges. 

Brianna Wooten with Montgomery County says following a competitive pay wage analysis, AFSCME union employees were found to be underpaid. She says that is not the case with PGO union workers who are currently on strike.

“We respect their right to do that but in the end we also are stewards of taxpayer money and Human Services Levy funds, and 5 percent, when you are already one of the highest paid caseworkers in the state," she says, "I think it's a very reasonable offer.”

County officials say around 60 PGO employees crossed the picket line on Monday to continue working and other staff have been called on to fill positions and continue department services while the strike continues.

For now, it’s unclear when both sides would return to the bargaining table to resume contract talks.

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Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.