Northeast Ohio Laborers fight back as Cleveland officials terminate contract

The organized labor community relies on solidarity among fellow labor unions and their allies at all levels. This solidarity is splitting, causing rifts in northeast Ohio.

Laborers International Union of North America Local 860 is at odds with politicians and judicial candidates they have previously supported in northeast Ohio. Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer Anthony Liberatore Jr. explained what is happening regarding one of their contracts in northeast Ohio. He also discussed labor law and infrastructure.

Liberatore advocated for the passage PRO Act, saying current labor law lacks any real enforcement measures. He is confident it can get done, as President Biden has positioned himself as a labor-friendly leader. His appointment of fellow Laborer Marty Walsh gives Liberatore confidence the President will carry out his labor-friendly agenda.

Infrastructure deal

Liberatore explained the makeup of Local 860, making note of their large private road construction membership who enjoy more than 97 percent market share. They also represent 19 service departments in northeast Ohio and other workers in the public sector.

The road construction membership will see plenty of work from an infrastructure bill. New highways and roads will generate years of work.

Issues at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center

Laborers Local 860 represents a group of employees at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center. After enjoying a quality relationship, attitudes changed and the union is no longer being recognized.

After requesting more staff be hired to improve the safety of workers, two Cuyahoga County officials decided not to honor the contract, despite the evergreen clause written into it. Staff are leaving the detention center in droves, as they are overworked and forced to make up for their departing coworkers, Liberatore said.

Violence towards staff and other residents is on the rise, leading workers to find safer jobs, he added.

Local 860 is not giving up on the contract. Liberatore said they will continue to challenge the contract termination in court. The case is currently in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Liberatore said the union has not been voted out, therefore the evergreen clause should still be in place.


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