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Montgomery County Children Services PGO Union Back On Strike

The Montgomery County Children Services workers union on strike Sept. 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.

Jerry began volunteering at WYSO in 1991 and hosting Sunday night's Alpha Rhythms in 1992. He joined the YSO staff in 2007 as Morning Edition Host, then All Things Considered. He's hosted Sunday morning's WYSO Weekend since 2008 and produced several radio dramas and specials . In 2009 Jerry received the Best Feature award from Public Radio News Directors Inc., and was named the 2023 winner of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Best Anchor/News Host award. His current, heart-felt projects include the occasional series Bulletin Board Diaries, which focuses on local, old-school advertisers and small business owners. He has also returned as the co-host Alpha Rhythms.
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