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Published: Monday, 7/14/2008

Lucas County Commissioners, UAW urge juvenile court judge to recognize union


All three Lucas County Commissioners stood with the UAW Monday morning to urge Lucas County Juvenile Judge Denise Cubbon to recognize the UAW as an organizer in her courtroom.

The commissioners held the press conference with Ray Wood, president of UAW Local 14, inside the lobby of Government Center.

"What's happened here is tragic," Commissioner Pete Gerken said.

As a juvenile court judge, Ms. Cubbon does not have to recognize a union of her employees, according to Ohio law.

While she initially agreed to allow an election and grant the employees the right to unionize under the UAW last year, their first contract negotiations turned sour in June.

Last month she rescinded her permission following weeks of botched negotiations.

Ms. Cubbon also has said the tires of two of her family cars were flattened during the disputes.

Mr. Wood claimed it was "slanderous" to suggest the UAW was involved in the alleged vandalism.

"We would not do that," Mr. Wood said. "That's a stereotype from the past."

The union will be running an "open letter to Lucas County residents" in The Blade and other area publications this week.

The letter claims no union in Toledo has ever had its ability to unionize rescinded, and also claimed the union would protect court employees from a "hostile work environment that is tolerated within the court."

"At the very least Juvenile Court employees deserve open, good-faith discussions regarding their representation," Mr. Wood wrote in the letter.

Representatives from juvenile court were not immediately available for comment Monday morning.

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