The city will hire 15 to 20 kids.
By JENNINE ZELEZNIK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The city and union leadership have resolved a dispute over summer jobs for area kids.
At issue was a long-standing city program that hires between 15 and 20 youths to help the operations department throughout the summer.
Lee DeJacimo, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 74, at first objected to the program this year, concerned that it would take jobs away from union workers in the already understaffed operations department.
Laid-off workers: Layoffs in several departments were ordered in January 2000 because of budget cuts.
Laid-off workers who didn't find jobs elsewhere have been brought back, but positions in departments including police, fire and operations remain unfilled.
The union's contract doesn't forbid hiring temporary summer workers, but DeJacimo worried that this would prevent the city from hiring needed full-time employees in the operations department.
The conflict was worked out in a meeting Monday between DeJacimo and the administration, including Safety-Service Director Fred Harris.
Concern: DeJacimo said the dispute stemmed from a misunderstanding about what type of jobs the kids would perform.
Though they will do some of the work normally done by union employees, DeJacimo said the union signed off on the hiring because the city kept its commitment and hired three full-time workers, who started Monday. The city will probably hire more workers next week, DeJacimo said.
"It was never the intent of the union to forbid the city from hiring from the youth program," DeJacimo said. "We were just trying to protect union jobs."
Harris said last week that the program did not take jobs away from city workers and that it just helped area kids make money for the summer.
The Trumbull County Department of Job and Family Services runs the summer employment program, which pays the kids $6 per hour for 30 hours a week.