Yesterday, SEIU Local 668 union members notified the Butler County Board of Commissioners of our intent to strike on March 15, 2023.
Over 97 percent of votes cast by Butler County members authorized a strike on March 15, 2023. The collective bargaining agreement expired on December 31, 2022, and county workers have been without a contract for months.
SEIU Local 668 represents over 300 public employees at the County Courthouse, Children and Youth Services, Area Agency on Aging, 911, the District Magistrate offices, Parks and Recreation, the County Jail, and various other county government offices.
Despite the union’s best efforts to build a respectful dialogue for a fair contract, the actions of the County’s chief negotiator, Chris Gabriel, have damaged the relationship and eroded workers’ trust in the employer. The union will continue to pursue every opportunity to re-establish a productive conversation and demonstrate our commitment to good-faith collective bargaining.
“Our members work hard to serve the public and provide critical services and support to working families across our county. Throughout the pandemic, many of our members and fellow essential workers continued performing their jobs when our community needed them most. We deserve a fair contract with living wages and increases that reflect the rising cost of living due to inflation. Since Butler County representatives are unwilling to address the reality of our needs and concerns, we have decided to strike,” stated Eric Dodd, chief shop steward and Butler County employee for more than 34 years.
"CYS workers play a vital role in keeping Butler County's children safe. They address complex family relationships to determine whether a child is in a safe and healthy environment, and that is not an easy job for any worker. It is important that we get a good contract that reflects the real value of our work.” added Laura Gellner, a caseworker for Butler Children and Youth Services for more than nine years.
“9-1-1 dispatchers are the unseen, often forgotten, first link in an emergency chain of events. We understand this is part of our job, but we refuse to be forgotten by the County Commissioners at the bargaining table. Just an hour away in East Palestine, we’ve seen how important a strong emergency response is to protect our families and neighbors. We want a fair contract that recognizes our critical role in public safety for Butler County residents and its visitors,” said Terry Sweeney, 911 Supervisor and county employee for 31 years.
“Union members in Butler County have done everything possible to resolve these issues throughout contract negotiations. Still, the County’s attorney Chris Gabriel has repeatedly demeaned these workers at the bargaining table and has demonstrated that he would rather act in bad faith than treat them with the respect they have more than earned. The workers have done their part; now it’s time for the County Commissioners to step in and do theirs,” remarked SEIU Local 668 President Steve Catanese.
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