AP NEWS

State board orders Willoughby Hills to bring back laid-off union members

December 22, 2018

State board orders Willoughby Hills to bring back laid-off union members

WILLOUGHBY HILLS, OHIO – The State Employment Relations Board on Thursday ordered 13 unionized Willoughby Hills employees reinstated to the positions from which they were fired by six members of the city council. The board, often referred to as SERB, also ordered back pay for the 13 employees from April 30 to the date of reinstatement.

In March and April council passed two ordinances that eliminated the union jobs.  Mayor Robert Weger vetoed them and in both instances council overrode his vetoes.

A visiting judge declared council’s ordinances illegal.

The ordinances also attempted to usurp the mayor’s authority to negotiate with the union. And budget cuts closed the mayor’s court which put about $1 million a year into the city’s coffers.

Weger said by phone Friday that all of the back pay that SERB ordered could cost the city $250,000 to $300,000.

The state board’s final order said the city violated state law by discriminating against the employees because of their union involvement.

They belong to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Ohio Council 8.

A brief in support of the employees noted that Weger reached a tentative agreement with the employees for a collective bargaining agreement. It became binding because city council did not object within the required 30 days following the agreement.

Weger signed the first collective bargaining agreement with the workers on Jan. 4, and four days later the council majority began laying the foundation for eliminating the union employees.

Efforts to reach Council President Nancy Fellows and Vice President John Plecnik, a vocal opponent of the mayor for several years, were not successful Friday.

AP RADIO
Update hourly