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WARREN COURT Several workers vote to unionize



Published: Sat, June 2, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



This isn't the first time the municipal court employees have considered joining a union.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Municipal court employees are one step closer to unionizing.

A majority of the court's 21 employees voted Friday that they want to join a union.

Judge Thomas Gysegem, the court's administrative judge, said that 14 of the 21 employees favored unionizing.

The vote does not mean the employees will automatically become union members, however.

Judge Gysegem and Judge Terry Ivanchak will meet and decide if they will recognize the employees' right to unionize.

What state law says: When the clerk of court's position is appointed, as it is in Warren, state law says judges have authority to approve or turn down requests made by their employees for union recognition.

"We are going to meet in about a week to 10 days and will discuss the matter at that time," Judge Gysegem said.

The municipal court employees have never been union members.

Court officials said most municipal courts where the clerk is appointed do not have unions.

If the judges allow the employees to unionize, the employees will then have to decide which union to join.

"We sure hope that we will represent them," said Lee DeJacimo, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 74, which represents other city workers. "We were contacted by court employees."

"I think with the fact that the city has had some financial problems they just want to make sure they have job security," DeJacimo said.

This is not the first time the municipal court employees have discussed joining a union.

Request denied: In October, the judges denied a request made by 18 court employees to unionize.

At that time, Judge Gysegem maintained that the decision was not meant to detract from the unionization movement.

The judge maintained that the fact there has been a low turnover rate for employees is proof they are treated well and appropriately compensated.

The judges also noted in October that data provided by AFSCME and the State Employment Relations Board noted that Warren court employees' salaries and benefits "compare most favorably" with other municipal court employees in Ohio.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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