ELYRIA TWP. — Union employees of Lorain County Job and Family Services are expected to return to work today after more than a month on strike.
There were few details released Monday night about the conclusion of the strike. Kelly Fields, chair of the union’s bargaining committee, declined to comment.
Calls to County Administrator Jim Cordes were not immediately returned late Monday.
Commissioner Matt Lundy said the union took a vote on a contract Monday afternoon, but he did not know whether the contract included a spousal carve-out for health care — the main sticking point between the union and the county.
“All I can tell you at this point is that there was a vote taken,” Lundy said. “It was my understanding it would make it possible for them to return to work. That’s about the extent I can probably get into tonight.”
The employees, represented by the United Auto Workers Local 2192, have been on strike since Sept. 25.
The union was upset the county would no longer include spouses on the county’s health plan if the spouse could get health insurance through his or her own employer. The county offered to keep spouses on the plan if the spouse earned less than $25,000 or by having the employee pay a surcharge.
The union said this amounted to the county asking for workers to sign a blank check, because the county could not say how much the surcharge would cost.
About halfway through the strike, the county offered to remove the surcharge language from the contract but the bargaining committee declined to sign a proposed tentative agreement at that time.
Now that the union has voted, commissioners also will have to vote on the pact during a meeting Wednesday to make it official.
“We’re certainly looking forward to everybody getting back to work,” Lundy said. “A strike is like a war. No one wins. We have great respect for the workers. They have a tough job to do, and we’re looking forward to them returning and everything getting back on schedule so the residents will be served.”
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